--supplementary article --




The theme of the "Uirala" articles is the story told by archeology and other sciences about the birth and expansion of boat peoples, starting when the Ice Age was rapidly retreaing and flooding the northern European landscapes.  The "Uirala" articles are not intended to give much attention to the debate about languages of these boat peoples, but it is necessary to have a brief discussion. .
 The "Uralic" language family concept was created over a century ago when the linguists knew very little about the people who spoke those languages.  The linguists had compared the languages and determined the 'linguistic distances' between the language. However the challenge was how to interpret the linguistic results. At that time in the late 1800's, they only had the little information available from geography and anthropology. As a result they came up with a simple-minded model that proposed a "Uralic" parent language in the Ural mountains and a sequence of events involving a series of migrations from the Ural mountains westward, eventually ending up with the Finnic languages at the Baltic. Over the past century linguists have not had the courage to challenge this model, even when archeological discoveries failed to support it, and the non-linguistic world has taken this "Uralic" theory as the truth, without being aware it was becoming increasingly silly. The following information, using all the information available today,  present the better way to view the same languages and cultures. The following shows the more correct manner of interpreting the language evolution. If we ignore the reindeer people, who population genetics says migrated north through the Ural Mountains, the linguists is simple.  The complication comes from the fact that at the Ural Mountains, the boat peoples interracted with reindeer people who, according to population genetics,  were expanding up the Ural Mountains.  We therefore have to add to the story of the language of the boat peoples, the interractions at the Urals that made Permic and Ob-Ugric languages converge a little towards that of the reindeer people.


    The "Finno-Ugric" languages as defined over a century ago as one branch of a "Uralic" languages family,  where the other branch was the "Samoyedic" languages today spoken by the reindeer peoples from the north end of the Ural Mountains east to the Tamir Peninsula. They divided the "Finno-Ugric" languages further into "Permic", "Volgic" and "Finnic" subfamilies. At that time, little was known about the region in which the languages were found - only the languages, geography, and some anthropological information. After a century, an enormous amount of new information has come to light from archeology and other sciences, such as the evidence of the development of boat-oriented hunter-gatherers in the flooded lands south of the Ice Age glaciers, who then expanded east as far as the Urals. This culture of boat peoples, identifiable with the archeological "Maglemose" and "Kunda" cultures, spread eastward as far as the Urals.  This suggests the traditional "Uralic" language theory, which imagined a migration in the opposite direction - from east to west - was erroneous. But because the century old "Uralic" theory was entrenched in the academic world, and still is, linguists have been and continue to be unwilling to or unable to change the theory to one that is in greater agreement with all the facts available now. The following describes the history of the original "Uralic" linguistics theory, particularly the "Finno-Ugric" part.  The archeology not only shows a west-to-east expanson of boat people, but also contact with a different people at the Urals. Recently the new science of population genetics has shows that there was an expansion of people from southern Asia, whose men carried the N-halogroup. Since this haplogroup is most strongly found today in the arctic among reindeer people - Saami, Samoyeds, Yakuts - one can conclude these people were reindeer hunters who moved northward along with reindeer herds who shifted northward as the world climate was warming during the retreat of the Ice Age from about 15,000 to 10,000 years ago. While the story of the expansion of boat people covered by the "Uirala" banner, does not involved the reindeer people, when it comes to understanding the languages we have to add some consideration of influences of the language of the reindeer people on the boat peoples at locations of contact, and vice versa..Considerations of the impact of reindeer people language on boat people language was small, and we add those considerations at the end of considerations of the languages of the boat peoples.

The "Finno Ugric" Language - The Old View

    The Theory of Ancient Boat peoples, as presented in   THE ORIGINS AND EXPANSIONS OF  BOAT-ORIENTED WAYS OF LIFE : Basic Introduction to the Theory advances the idea that the language today classified as "Finno-Ugric" have evolved from the original languages of the boat-oriented hunter-fishers who spanned northern Europe's water-filled regions from about 10,000 BC. Agriculturally speaking that means they derive from the "Maglemose" culture and its descendants. This new view, which is supported by modern data from archeology, genetics, and other fields, is dramatically different from an old view of Finno-Ugric languages, that was developed rather arbitrarily by linguists of the 1800's, which had no evidence beyond comparative linguistic analysis.
    The most modern manifestations of Finno-Ugric speakers today are those closest to European civilization - Estonian, Finnish, and Hungarian (Hungarian being most similar to the most remote and primitive, the Khanti, and considered to be a southern displacement as a result of migrations). Other Finno-Ugric languages exist in pockets within other nations, ranging from the Saami to Karelians, to Votes, to Mari, to Khanti, and more.  Because the surviving Finno-Ugric languages are for the most part in regions removed from the thrust of European civilization into continental Europe, common sense suggests that they are remnants of what once was a larger group which extended southward to the south Baltic and the Jutland Peninsula and west to the British Isles. Today, this truth of indigenous aboriginal peoples enduring in more remote regions can be seen in North America. There, original Native languages are still spoken in northern Canada. Towards the south, even those considering themselves Native, speak English and many know very little of their original language.
    There is a good logical basis for inquiring as to whether the Finno-Ugric languages represent the original languages of northern continental Europe in general and whether today's surviving Finno-Ugric languages are remnants of original peoples, surviving according to the degree they were isolated from the northward thrust of European agricultural civilization.
      This new approach  - to think of the Finno-Ugric languages as being remnants of the original languages of Europe - is faced by an old theory that has been entrenched in world knowledge for a century. If the reader looks at any older books, or even new books by authors who referred to older books, they will see the older theory. It held that Finno-Ugric languages had a tight origin near the Urals and then expanded by repeated migrations. The flaw of this should immediately be obvious. If the Finno-Ugric languages had a tight origins and expanded, what where the languages of the original hunters already distributed throughout the north? Over the years scholars have dealt with this problem by assuming that the original peoples were "Finns", that is, people identifiable with today's Saami of arctic Norway and Finland. Trouble is, linguistics has been unable to separate the Saami, from Finnic languages, and there has always been a tendency to include Saami with Finnish, Estonian and other Finnic languages.  Thus this old theory of Finno-Ugric origins from a tight area, if it is accepted, can only represent internal movements of the same people. But that idea has its flaws too. It is known that boat-using hunter-fishers were already widely migratory in their annual movements. The very idea of a tight origins simply could not be applied to people whose natural homeland is inherently broad - covering entire water systems.
       How did the old theory come about? It was developed by linguists alone, and used models derived from settlement oriented farming people - people who were very settled and if they moved, they had to deliberately migrate. After these linguists of the 1800's  had determined the existence of a Finno-Ugric language, they attempted to describe the history of its evolution. Not having any archeological data, nor knowledge of the behaviour of seasonally nomadic behaviour of boat-using hunter-fisher-gatherers, they created a story more suited to settled farming peoples. That model saw the growth of settled populations in small regions, culminating in break-off groups who migrated elsewhere, and then after a time the breakaway group grew and produced yet another breakway group. This old theory  has been contradicted -- especially by Estonian archeologists like R. Indreko -- throughout the 20th century but, having become deeply entrenched in texts and beliefs, it has been hard to displace by a more realistic theory. An illustration of the old theory is given below


Map 1. This theory has been around so long that there has been a tendency to revise it (mainly to change the date of arrival at the Baltic), rather than throw it out, until recently.

   There has never been a problem with the comparative linguistics determinations themselves. The problem has been in applying it to describe the real events.
            Linguistics has decided on the existence of a large superfamily of  "Uralic" languages of western Eurasia, which have a basic subdivision between the "Samoyeds" and "Finno-Ugrians". The former refer to peoples in the high arctic, originally reindeer hunters, now herding them, who have strong arctic mongoloid racial features. The original studies concluded from linguistic distances that  an original "Uralic" language family split into the "Samoyed" language family and the "Finno-Ugric" language family.  There is nothing wrong with seeing these two groups having roots in the same prehistoric language. The issue is how the languages, dialects, drifted apart.. The original tight-origin theory assumed a tight origin  in the vicinity of the Ural Mountains around 6000BC, and then the original parental "Finno-Ugric" language started to subdivide and subdivide, with each breakaway group migrating elsewhere. See the above map. The problems with this theory are countless, notably, when one takes into account the far-ranging nature of boat-using hunter-fisher-gatherers such as found in Canada in around 1600.
        Back when the original tight-origin theory was being developed  it appears only one contemporary linguist was intelligent enough to realize something was wrong. In 1907 Heikki Ojansuu expressed the view that "the F-U peoples once occupied a broad zone extending somewhere from the region of Ilmajärvi, then along the Volga and its tributaries to the region of the Kama and the Urals" He believed that hunters and fishermen needed large areas for their activities (Heikki Ojansuu, Oma Maa, 1 (1920), 318-328). Later another Finn, Paavo Ravila noted, but did not realize, the solution of simple dialectic differentiation, that the geographical distribution of the F-U languages closely reflected their relationship. Later, another Finn, Erkki Itkonen, proposed the conflicts the original linguists' theory had with archeology (that found no evidence of migrations) could be reduced by assuming the F-U peoples occupied the entire area from the Urals and the Baltic from time immemorial. (Itkonen, Oma Maa, 1958) Toivo Vuorela summed this line of thinking as follows (Vuorela, The Finno-Ugric Peoples Eng. trans. J. Atkinson, 1964) "In this sense [Itkonen] refers to Ojansuu's idea of an 'unbroken zone of peoples' from Ilmajärvi to the Urals, and to Ravila's view that the geographical distribution of the F-U languages reflects their relationship. When the once food-gathering peoples, who had needed wide areas in which to move about, became agriculturalists and so were more inclined to stay in one area, 'the various groups that were accustomed to live together became virtually frozen to the spot in their former hunting grounds' -- and thus dialects became more and more separate and over centuries and millenia developed into separate languages.
      The idea of hunting people 'being frozen to their former hunting grounds' is interesting from the point of view of the Estonian and Finnish words for 'family' pere/perhe . It is possible that this word originates from  PEO-RA  (ie, pida + rada) meaning  'hunting,trapping, catching +  trail, way, road'  suggesting that  each clan had their own hunting territory of trails, something confirmed among Canada's Algonquian Indian past; so that when they had to settle down, the hunting trails disappeared so that all that was left was the clan, the family, the PEO-RA, or pere/perhe.
     Another issue was whether Finno-Ugric languages existed to the west of the Baltic, since no Finno-Ugric languages survived there by the 19th century. Clearly had a Finno-Ugric language or two survived in Sweden or Britain,  as proof, all the thinking would have taken another route. (History in Norway and Sweden speak of  'Finns' on coasts, in the forests and on the tundra, and scholars commonly assume that it means the Saami,(Lapps).
      Still, here too, there was one scholar who took another view than the tight-Ural-origin theory.  The German Gustaf Kossinna tried to place the F-U homeland in North Germany and Scandinavia (Mannus, I-II Mannus Bibl. 26 (1909-1911)) Interestingly, there is a suggestion in the Estonian folk epic Kalevipoeg that (assuming the part I will refer to is from original folklore and not invented by the compiler) there was, perhaps back in the Viking Age, Finno-Uric speakers in Norway. In the story, Kalev has three sons, one becoming Kalevipoeg, the hero of Estonian and Finnish folklore, another going to Russia to become a merchant (referring probably to the Votes and others who carried on trade to the Dneiper and Volga) and the third to Norway to "become a warrior". It is clear that the intent of the folk legend was to acknowledge all obviously related Finnic peoples, as they would obviously have had the same parent - Kalev(a). This last Norwegian warrior character is interesting because it was during 800-1000AD that Danish kings were on a campaign to bring Norway into their kingdoms. Thus for two centuries southern Norway and up its coast was a region of conflict, requiring soldier assistance. It follows that around 800-1000AD, Estonians would have perceived there to be a related people always at war with the Danish armies, and hence the legend-maker included a son of Kalev who was a warrior/soldier in Norway, in order to give an origin to a Finnic-speaking people in southern Norway.  Historically Norwegian and Swedish documents speak of the aboriginal peoples - not just the reindeer people, but those on the coasts and in the forests, - being 'Finns' and that the name 'Finland' was a Swedish creation, as the area now Finland belonged to Sweden.  One can say 'Well they were people related to the Saami (Lapps)' and that might be alright, if the Saami spoke a language very different from Finnish, but the fact is the Saami language is so Finnic in character, that linguistics includes it in the Finno-Ugric and often even in the Balto-Finnic languages. It all suggests the better view is that the Saami and Balto-Finnic language are related and that what separates them is only the level of development towards civilization, the more southerly ones (Finnish, Estonian, and extinct ones further south) adapting more and faster to the agricultural civilization pushing up from the south, while the northernly ones (Saami) remained relatively primitive due to greater isolation.
      Furthermore, should we put up the western boundary at Scandinavia? Since archeology indicates trade connections between Norway and northern Britain (ie the Picts), we can extend the Finno-Ugrians even to the Picts, at least those of the east side. The connection between the trader-Picts and the east Baltic is affirmed by the Anglo-Saxon scholar monk Venerable Bede who wrote in his famous history of Britain, that the Picts had come in longboats "from Scythia". In that day, "Scythia" was the region from the east Baltic eastward. Clearly traders from Greater Estonia were arriving on the British east coast, and were witnessed to speak a language similar to that of the Picts who recieved them.
      Thus alternative views that are now proving to be more correct, have had early precendents among scholars; however individual voices were drowned out by those who promoted the tight Ural origin, and successions of migrations westward.

The New View of the Languages of the Boat Peoples

Already from about the 50's archeology, failing to find any evidence of east-to-west migrations or a tight homeland, took issue with the old theory. Noted Estonian archeologist Richard Indreko, for example wrote that the archeological evidence, on the contrary, showed a movement of archeological culture the other way - from west to east.  But the tendency was to revise the old theory, than to dispose of it. Archeology showed an east to west movement of pottery with comblike markings. Maybe that showed the migration, some said. Richard Indreko addressed this suggestion by pointing out that the movement of a cultural feature does not  mean migration. It can mean simply the movement of a new cultural practice through contacts between related Finno-Ugric tribes. Later it could be the result of trade.
        But nobody pointed out the main problem with ANY migration theory: the nature of the life of boat-using hunter-fishers. Living in Canada, I became interested in the Algonquian aboriginal peoples, who lived a similar life as boat(canoe)-travelling hunter-fishers, in a similar northern environment. I saw in them a good model for ancient Finno-Ugric language development. In this Algonquian language family, the linguistic divisions - as Europeans found them in the 16th century - were according to water basins, a different language in a different water basin, with the larger ones having dialectic subdivisions. This is because they moved around in canoes. They were boat-people. People who are dependent on boats not only travel some five times further than people on foot, but they will tend to remain within the water system where the boats can travel.  Thus each water system would tend to form its own dialectic subdivision of the larger culture. In a sentence far-ranging seasonally nomadic boat-using hunter-gatherers were not localized, but were naturally constrained by where their boats could easily go, constrained by water basin boundaries.
        When Europeans arrived in he 17th century they found that there were the Cree in the water basin of the Hudson Bay, Ojibwa in the water basin of the Great Lakes, Algonquins in the Ottawa River water basin, Montagnais Innu in the Saguenay River water basin, and Labrador Innu in the Churchill River water basin. I haves shown this on a map of North America below.


Map 2. The Algonquian native peoples of the forested region of the east quadrant of northeast North America, were boat-using hunter-fisher gatherers who lived a seasonally nomadic life. Their language divisions are related to water basins, and the best explanation for their history is that there was a rapid expansion up all the rivers from the Altantic, that filled up the lands, and then gradually dialectic divergence occurred according to boat-use being confined to water basin regions.

When we apply this to northern Europe, to the entire region that archeology demonstrates was inhabited by boat-oriented hunter-fisher peoples, we arrive at a map like this:

Map 3.The Finno-Ugric origins are best viewed in boat-using hunter-gatherers in a similar environment, and their language family divisions also are related to water basins. The Finno-Ugric subdivisions are however older, as the languages have further subdivided as a result of people settling down into farming. But the ancient situation, resembling that of the Algonquians, is evident. Note that if the Finno-Ugrians extended further west, there once were other dialectic regions for example in the Vistula and Oder River water basins.
   The above map shows that the Finno-Ugric language subdivisions too are related to water basins (Baltic, Volga, Ob, etc), , so that the it is clear that there were no migrations, but rather the constant movements of seasonally nomadic boat-peoples, who were nonetheless constrained to water systems so that linguistic distances developed according to the natural separation of boat peoples by the water systems in which they moved
      In short, the languages developed in the same way as dialects--by an original language covering a large area, and geographic circumstances causing localization. (And later in history as the nomadic Finno-Ugrians settled down to farm, each of the basic water-system dialects began to subdivide further between one farming area and another.)

additional discussion: influences from reindeer peoples

    In the real world, nothing is every this simple. In the Algonquian example, there was influence from the Inuit languages of the North American arctic, and from the Iroquoian languages of the lower Great Lakes. These languages would mainly have influenced the dialects next to these other peoples, but too weak for the influences to affect the entire wide distribution of these boat people languages + unless of course the influence is very strong and lasts millenia!
    The same is true of the expansion of the language of the European boat peoples that arose from the archeological "Maglemose" and "Kunda" cultures around the south and east Baltic.The following map shows what had happened by about 10,500 Before Present. Note how the Volga-Kama and Pechora water systems came close together about the midpoint of the Urals. It is highly probable that there was a meeting place there - meeting to trade, socialize, find mates. It would have been there that reindeer people in the Urals would have influenced the language of the boat peoples arriving there. 


Map 4 The base map underneath the added information comes from a scholarly article in the publication given in the text below the map. Few maps showing the retreat of the glaciers bothers to show the regions flooded by glacial meltwater, that today appear as coastal marshlands.  I was very pleased to find this map, because the locations of flooding is very important to our discussion of both boat people and reindeer people, because boat people find water as beneficial, while reindeer cannot survive in flooded lands, even in winter because reindeer need to find their lichen food underneath the snow. This map actually shows why the "Kunda" culture would have easily expanded east - they only needed to follow the glacier lakes. And it shows why any N3 reindeer people at the north end of the Urals would not have been able to migrate west to northern Finland for several millenia and modern coasts and tundra had appeared. It is recommended the reader interested in this, investigate paleoclimatology to understand both the expansion of the boat peoples, and the shrinking ability for reindeer to find anywhere to survive, other than the arctic Siberian coast, which we can see had no glaciers or glacial lakes.

  At this early time, the regions formerly covered by the Ice Age glaciers were completely new and vacant, or where previously the land was too cold (like today the interior of Antarctica). Boat people expandng into the new flooded lands did not encounter any other peoples or languages until some reached the vicinity of the Ural Mountains
    According to archeology, a culture that looked like the "Kunda" culture appears to have reached the Pechora water basin. At the same time another boat people, which I think can be identified with the "Maglemose" culture  went north from the Volga to the location where the Pechora, Kama and Ural Mountains are close together.
    In locations where the territories of different peoples come close to each it was the practice of northern aboriginal peoples - and there are many examples in northern North America - of the development of significant gathering places where the normally scattered people can come together  to socialize, find mates, and trade.  From logic alone, there was convergence between languages and cultures at such locations.
    The map above shows how the blue arrows of the boat people reach the Ural Mountains in about the middle location where archeology shows there were hunter-gatherers of a different culture. Recently the new science of population genetics has discovered that men of reindeer peoples across the Eurasian arctic possess the highest concentration of the Y-DNA N-haplogroup. It appears to have travelled north from about 15,000 years ago. It is obvious that this haplogroup originated with reindeer people in the Ice Age, and then moved north with the original Ice Age reindeer herds as the world climate warmed. While the N2 version of the N-haplogroup is easy to understand because it dominates the Tamir Peninsula Samoyeds, the story of the N3 version (today called N1b) is complex as it ended up in highest concentrations in the Yakuts of northeast Siberia, and the Saami and Finns of northern Finland. (From these locations the haplogroup radiated outward as men carrying it moved out into surrounding territories, often abandoning their original reindeer-oriented way of life. The explanation for the division of the N3-halogroup into Saami and Yakuts, thousands of km apart, was solved in 2006 by Rootsi et al.  (Rootsi,S., et al. 2006, A counterclockwise northern route of the Y-chromosome haplogroup N from Southeast Asia towards Europe”  European Journal of Human Genetics 15 (2): 204-11)  In that study, the conclusion was that the N3 (N1b) haplogroup originated around 12,000 years ago in southwest Siberia, south of the Ob River water basin. Here the men divided into two - one group turning east, and the other group turning west. In my opinion, since reindeer cannot survive in the marshlands of the Ob River water basin, the reindeer had to go around it, and then continue north either through the Central Siberian Plateau or the Ural Mountain range.
    According to Rootsi et al, the N3 (N1b) haplogroup that went west, turned north and went through the Ural Mountains, becoming established about 10,000 years ago. And then later it  migrated west along the arctic coast to northern Finland, and from northern Finland diffused south.  The reason for that route is simple - it followed the movements of reindeer herds. The reindeer had to travel north in the Urals, because further west was too hot and marshy. Next the reindeer had to travel along the north coast of northeast Europe also in order to stay in the cool tundra, but only when the glaciers and glacial lakes had disappeared.
    The connection of the N-haplogroup to peoples who were dependent on  tundra reindeer herds is so obvious, that those scholars who claim the N-haplogroup entered the Finnic boat peoples, is ridiculous. Other than the Saami, the Finnic cultures and language are dominated by imagery related to boat use and wetlands. There is nothing connected to reindeer. It follows that the N3 haplogroup entered the Finnic peoples simply from reindeer people in northern Finland, departing from their original reindeer-oriented life, and entering the much more flexible and adaptable boat-oriented hunter gatherers. Once they had changed culture, the far ranging nature of boat use quickly spread the reindeer-hunter haplogroup southward.
     Since the migration southward of the N3(N1b) haplogroup would have been motivated by moving from the reindeer-oriented culture to the boat-oriented hunter-gatherer culture, those who converted to the boat people world, would quickly have adopted the language of the boat people.

Conclusions: Language of the Boat Peoples probably at roots of Finnic

       Archeology has always suggested the obvious - as the climate warmed after the Ice Age, culture expanded out of Europe into the east. Now the new genetic studies also suggest that Finno-Ugric speaking peoples are basically Europeans. Thus it is only now that Finno-Ugric languages and traditions are being considered in terms of the history of Europe. It is now easier to accept that the Finno-Ugric languages originate from the original boat-oriented hunter-fisher peoples of northern Europe. But many are unable to grasp the nature of these people. But a good picture of them can be had by considering the nature of the Algonquian natives peoples of  northeastern North America - a people who were similarly nomadic boad using hunter-fishers, and similarly lived in a northern wooded region filled with waterways.   In addition we can see how European civilization has affected them from south to north since the 17th century. It is easy to see that the same thing occurred in Europe, except at a much slower pace, as technology and population growth in the civilized parts of Europe were not advancing at the same pace as in the last centuries.
       Let's review what has happened here in North America. North America was overrun by Europeans from the 17th to 20th century, and history plainly shows the manner in which it affected the original native peoplesnbsp; Basically the European settlers were farmers; thus the regions where the native peoples were displaced or assimilated first were first those areas which were ideal for farming.   Marshes, rocky hillsides, acidic rocky soils, mountains and  cold northern climates were places where the European settlers did not immediately go, and native tribes found refuge there. Gradually European settlers pushed into poor lands too, so the native peoples then could only survive in the VERY poor lands, particularly in the remote north.
      Today, native language and culture survives most strongly in Canada, primarily because of the cold northern climate that resists being farmed. While in the United States, only small pockets of native cultures can still be found (desert areas having more of them), in Canada the entire north part of Canada is strongly populated by native cultures, that is, by peoples who still identify themselves as native and even speak their own language (Cree, Dene, Inuit, etc).
      Scholars in North Americans, faced with the question of the evolution of Europe, therefore are more inclined to accept a theory that perhaps the Saami and Finns of northern Europe may similarly be remnants of the original native people of Europe. It is almost obvious. But scholars do not think broadly enough. What is required is to imagine the nature of aboriginal peoples across the entire northern Europe, then being influenced by the arrival of new cultures, new practices, starting with the regions most suited to farming. We are not merely dealing with the extinguishing of the Saami in the Scandinavian Peninsula, from south to north - surviving today only in the most remote north and in the mountains of Norway - but of northern Europe as a whole. How can we draw the line just at Scandianvia? These were boat peoples descended from the Maglemose culture - water was not an obstacle: quite the contrary water facilitated their movements and expansions, and it is clear that these people expanded east and south, wherever waterways were found to carry them and their dugout (or in the north- skin) boats.
         If it has been happening in Canada with respect to the Algonquians, assimilated from south to north, then why do we not apply this truth to early Europe? Possibly it is because scholars in Europe cannot grasp it as well as scholars in North America, especially in Canada.
        Thus the plain fact that farming cultures displace native hunter-fisher-gatherers from south to north, and from fertile higher lands to poor acid marshlands, leads to the conclusions that it is possible that indeed the ancestral language of the Finnic peoples was the original language of continental Europe. What other candidates are there?  And even if there was movement of culture according to waterways - since all these peoples wandered seasonally over wide areas - then that represents cultural influence in the natural course of contacts, not of any kinds of permanent migrations. We are not talking about farmers, who have to pack up wagons and migrate. We are talking about peoples who in the northern world were clans who were already annally covering an area the diameter of several hundred kilometers, and  tribes (groups of 4-6 clans) whose total diameter could be 1000 miles (The reach could have been even more if elongated - as with coastal peoples). All that of course came to an end wherever these peoples established a permanent settlement, even if they remained primarily hunter-fishers; and when they became primarily farmers, their range reduced right down to a radius of maybe only 50 km. 
       The old linguistic theory on the origins of Finno-Ugric languages, in describing their origins in a tight location near the Ural mountains, has done the world of scholarship a great disservice. For over a century scholars have completely ignored the Finno-Ugric languages in investigations of prehistoric Europe simply because they have been told they were not there, but in the east. 
       Well all the evidence shows that the origins of the Finno-Ugric languages were not only in continental Europe but represent the aboriginal foundations of Europe. Farming cultures, and eventually Indo-European cultures came into Europe in waves, and converted the natives in much the same way as European cultures did in North America since the 16th century. Note that in later history, there were no migrations, but rather military conquest, beginning with the Roman conquest of Europe and establishing the Roman Empire. When the Roman Empire collapsed, Germanic and Slavic powers adopted Roman methods of conquest and rule, and that is the main reason the regions originally Finno-Ugric in nature are now speaking Germanic or Slavic languages.  The fate of the Finno-Ugric cultures is the same as as that of the native peoples of North America, absorbed into the new cultures introduced by new settlers, or imposed by military conquerors, except in the regions most remote from the thrust of civilization. The only different between North America and Europe is that it occurred much more gradually in Europe.

additional discussion: little influence of reindeer people language on the boat people

  The addition of the N3 (N1b) reindeer people considerations may have affected the boat people dialects at the contact location where the Pechora, Kama water basins and Ural Mountains meet, and the later contact locations in northern Finland,  but most of the region of boat peoples far from these contact locations was not affected.
     Because the Ob-Ugrian languages are much more like Samoyedic than the Finnic languages to the west of the Urals, today some linguists wish to consider the Ugric languages (Ob-Ugrian lanuages and today's  Hungarian displaced south by the fur trade) to more properly belong to the Turkic languages.  It is significant that the linguists consider the language of the Yakut reindeer peoples to be "Turkic". Reindeer people called Duhka in the southern Siberian and northern Mongolian mountains have a language also considered Turkic. Is it possible the Samoyedic and Saami language is also Turkic. but was more influenced towards Finnic, than the reverse.
    In general when two languages come in contact, the language of the stronger culture will have more effect on the other language, and throughout the period of retreat of the glaciers and the warming of the world climate, the boat people dominated. The climate warming between 15,000 years ago and 10,000 years ago favoured the boat peoples since they were adapted to flooded and forested lands. At the same time reindeer people were compromised as  the tundra reindeer herds disappeared. The original way of life that harvested large tundra reindeer herds disappeared. Ex-reindeer people had to hunt individual woodland reindeer, moose, elk, and aquatic animals, and move around a marshy landscape with boats. In general, ex-reindeer peoples all joined the boat peoples, and that explains why Finnic people possess the N3-haplogroup and also some mongoloid characteristics in their faces - they include reindeer people who joined the boat people when the original reindeer culture collapsed other than a few refuge locations.
    Personally I have no objection to the reindeer peoples languages being dropped off the grouping of boat-people languages, and for linguists to put them into an improved "Turkic" language family, putting reindeer peoples languages close to its roots. The reason is simple: the tradition of hunting and managing tundra reindeer herds is so completely different from the original boat-oriented hunting-gathering way of life that it is difficult to imagine mixing the two.  In fact, in the larger picture, according to archeology, the "Maglemose" and "Kunda" cultures arose from the north European reindeer people who then became extinct.  Tundra reindeer culture is therefore many thousands of years older than that of the boat people, and have a history all its own before anyone even thought of moving around in a flooded landscape in boats.

author: A.Paabo, Box 478, Apsley, Ont., Canada


2016 (c) A. Pääbo. UPDATED 2016