--supplementary article to PART ONE --


The Boat People Identity in Historical Records and Language


Synopsis: It is in the nature of the real world that if we can see something  in one way, we can also see it in another way. For example if we can see a fruit, we can touch it and smell it too, and that confirms it is real. It is common in false science that something is argued to exist in one way, but there fails to be any evidence of it in another way. The Main Article of PART ONE, is based mainly on interpreting archeology in the framework of geography and  human nature as it applies to nomadic hunting people. But if there really was such a migration of boat peoples, then there should be manifestations of it too if we look at it in another way.  This article looks at the subject from the point of view of observations in the historical record, as well as  words still alive in languages today, to identify the boat peoples. One of the most interesting clues to the boat peoples is  that they seem to have referred to themselves as 'people of the water-gliding' and the word, which was probably something like  a genitive case of UI-, ie UINI, a word which evolved , when the concept of water-gliding became irrelevant, into INI-type words, which  appear  in whale hunter languages, and which evolved in Europe according to dialectic  change and observer interpretation into FINNI , VENNE,  VAINE,  VANNE, and plurals  when a T,D was added as in FINNIT, VENNET, VAINET, VANNET,  etc

The Historical Perspective


    If one reads historic texts from Norwegian or Swedish resources, one finds that the native, aboriginal, peoples are called "Finn" .  In historic times, the Scandinavian Peninsula was in control of Germanic-speaking kingdoms of Norway and Sweden, and the general population was increasingly Germanic speaking (Norse and Swedish).  The survival of the original peoples was dependent on how isolated they were from centers of development, and generally from the south to the north - a pattern well known in North America but also applicable to everywhere in the northern world. The last indigenous hunting peoples tend to be found in places that civilization, based on farming, did not want to go.  Today, for example, aboriginal peoples in northern Russia are remnants of peoples whose languages belong to the Uralic language family - including Samoyedic (from reindeer peoples) and Finno-Ugric (from the boat peoples). For example, while Estonia and Finland have people who are difficult to distinguish from north Europeans generally - other than their Finnic language - the Finno-Ugric languages furthest away, the Khanti on the Ob River of north-central Asia, still retain very old customs, including still making dugout canoes and dividing time between urban life and camping in traditional hunting/fishing grounds up the Ob River during the summer season.
    In North America, mass media - satellites and internet - are making it difficult for northern aboriginal peoples to be isolated from world culture, but until modern times the same thing applied - the more isolated a people were from the centers of approaching civilization, the more they remained in their traditional ways.  Thus while towards the south there might be Native communities completely adapted to civilization - running businesses and living in the popular modern way, the north had communities living in the grey zone between old traditions and new European culture.
    In the British Isles, history tells us that when the Romans departed in the early fifth century, there were three power groups trying to fill the vacuum  left by the departure of the Romans  - Germanic (Anglo-Saxon) forces in the east, Celtic in the west, and "Picts" in the north.  It makes sense, considering how the northern parts of the British Isles had mountains and numerous islands, that the original British - those developed in the British Isles and not arriving from elsewhere - endured there in the north and that the term "Picts" meant descendants from the original peoples at various levels of influence and development. 
    According to archeology of the "Maglemose" culture which first defined the aboriginal peoples across the north, south of the reindeer herds,  the aboriginal peoples of the north, those people history called the "Finns", ranged from Britain eastward to the east Baltic, and from there, with variations to adapt to other conditions, as far as they could go with boats - the Ural Mountains.
    This expanse of aboriginal peoples of a similar culture is not unusual. That is how it was across northern North America - a single culture could extend across half the continent varying only dialectically.
    It follows that the "Picts" were probably from the same culture as the "Finns" in Norway and Sweden, and going back in time, the native British generally. There is actual historic evidence that seems to indicate that the "Finnic" language of the aboriginal north Europe did indeed include the native British and Picts.
    If we consider the "Aestii" nations described by Roman historian Tacitus in the first century, as being ancestral to Estonians (who have always called themselves Eesti), who are Finnic speaking, then when Tacitus wrote (Ch 45 of his Germania) that the Aestii were much like the Suebi (of the south Baltic coast, Jutland Peninsula and south Sweden), but spoke a language 'closer to' that of the native British. This statement, that has puzzled scholars for two millenia, suggests that the northern indigenous languages, from the east Baltic across southern Scandinvia to Britain were all "Finnic". But that is what we would expect. There is no reason to assume that the original "Finnic" language of the aboriginal peoples of "Maglemose" descent across northern Europe ever vanished from farmer immigration. There are two ways an indigenous language vanishes - 1. there is major immigration of a new people into the area of the indigenous peoples, and 2. territories owned by indigenous peoples are taken by military conquest.
    Let us consider the possibility of either.
    The entire region in question was mostly marshes, and it was much worse in Roman times and earlier. The lands formerly depressed by the Ice Age glaciers .have been rebounding, and it is only in recent times that with both the rising of the lands, and draining of water, farming has become more widespread.  Thus although archeology has recorded changes in material culture and assigned various names to them, the reality is that this entire area has recieved very little intrusion of actual farmer immigrants. Most changes have occurred from the indigenous "FInnic" peoples adopting customs and technology introduced by the farming immigrants ("Corded-Ware" culture).
    It follows that since there was no massive migration into the aboriginal regions that the aboriginal culture remained dominant even if they adopted innovations they learned of towards the south.
    The second way in which an indigenous culture can be ended is of course military campaigns in which the conquerors exert their power via an army. With a powerful army, there isn't any need for immigration. The conqueror establishes their own people in key power positions, and imposes their will on the conquered peoples. While the conquered people may continue to hold on to their original language and culture, gradually they learn that to get ahead they have to speak the language of the officials that run everything. Soon the indigenous peoples are bilingual, and then after ten generations or so, the original 'mother tongue' vanishes. In recent times we could see the pattern in the Soviet Union. Although the Soviet Union permitted all the regions to continue to practice their original culture, the reality was that anyone who wanted to be successful, needed to speak Russian. The Soviet Union lasted several generations, and at the time it fell appart, in the 1990's, the Russification was already apparent. 
    It is clear that the Germanization of Scandinavia did not occur until the second development - the military campaigns of the "Goths".  Tacitus' writiing "Germania" actually suggests the beginnings of the "Gothic" military conquests in his description of the "Chatti" (Given that the Roman CH sound was much like a G, the actual word was similar to the Göta  in the city name Göteborg.) Tacitus reported that these Chatti pursued war as an art and had already (in the first century) conquered people to the north called Cherusci and Fosi.  It is easy to see that these Chatti would have continued to conquer the Jutland Peninsula native tribes in the next several centuries.
    To me it is clear that the aboriginal "FInnic" peoples of Scandinavia , whether primitive or developed,  did not encounter circumstances in which their original language was threatened until the military conquests by the Goths occuring in the first centuries AD followed by the pressures to move towards the Germanic language of the officials holding positions of power. Note as with the Soviet Union exerting pressure to adopting Russian, or the Roman Empire exerting pressure to adopting Latin (resulting in French and Spanish being Roman languages),  the influence was a gentle natural one spread over many generations. The fact is that overt pressure to abandon one's original language tends to result in resistance.
    Thus by historic times, the northern regions were being transformed towards the conquerors, but aboriginal peoples in northern regions who were able to continue in their traditional way of life endured the longest - native British surviving in the northern British Isles under the name "Picts",  native Scandinavians surviving in the northern and remote parts of Norway and Sweden under the name "FInns",   native peoples of the east Baltic coast, surviving in more northerly places. The east Baltic coast was originally Finnic and oriented towards the market at the mouth of the Vistula. During historic times, Germanic, Balt, and Slavic powers moved in militarily and took charge throughout the east Baltic coast.  Estonians were not assimilated into Germanic because they were made serfs in the feudal system, and that created two separate societies - the serfs vs the feudal landlord society. When the feudal system collapsed, the more populous serf communities recovered their country. Thus Estonian culture was a special situation.
    Going towards the east into Russia, the Finnic culture survived in a patchwork fashion, once again the more remote peoples assimilating less and preserving their traditional language and ways the most.
    Returning our attention to Scandinavia, by the last few centuries, the original "Finns" where recognized by Norwegian and Swedish Germic governments by the hinterlands at the north end of Norway being called "Finnmark" (Forest of the Finns) and the hinterlands of Sweden being called "FInnlanda". The latter eventually became independent and formed today's "Finland".
    The evidence that "Finnic" culture is descended from the original aboriginal peoples from Britain across to the Urals, is overwhelming, and it is supported by archeology too (as described in the main article) that shows an initial expansions out of Europe followed by indigenous peoples continuing their traditional way of life (mostly fishing) while adding innovations learned from the farming cultures that entered continental Europe.
    However there is evidence that there was major trade going up and down the Volga, and as a result population genetics will find connections between the east end of the Gulf of Finland, and populations of the lower Volga. But such internal movements within the large Finnic aboriginal range do not alter the basic story of aboriginal peoples - reindeer hunters in the tundra and boat-using hunter-fisher-gatherers to their south - applicable to the entire region where the remnants are found  - linguistically in the form of Uralic cultures (Samoyed for reindeer people, and  Finno-Ugric for boat-using hunters)  It is important to recognize that when peoples of a similar culture meet and interract, the result is a mixing of the two. It is only when two cultures are starkly different (like Finnic vs Roman, Finnic vs Germanic, Finnic vs Slavic) that either one culture or the other will eventually conquer the other. This is a very important concept, since it allows much to have taken place within the Finnic aboriginal world without there being much evidence of it. (For example, the Samoyed and Ugric languages when often in contact could be the result of such blending, instead of one conquering the other. Lingusits can mistake the converging as diverging, and come to false conclusions as to what happened.)


    In recent times, scientists have begun to look into the past through the tool of population genetics.
    I came across a study entitled. Y-chromosome diversity in Sweden – A long-time perspective, Andreas O Karlsson et al, (European Journal of Human Genetics (2006) 14, 963–970. doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201651; published online 24May 2006)   
     In the concluding paragraphs is the following summary:
...our data do not correlate with the agricultural spreading to northern Europe with migrating Anatolian farmers. Furthermore, in Scandinavia there is no evidence for a swift replacement of the hunter-gatherer economy, and there are also indications that the local wild fauna was used in the northern European domestic stock to a greater extent than in southern Europe. Thus, we believe that our data indicate population continuity, acculturation and acceptance of new ideas rather than migration and population replacement in the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition. They also underline that migration is not a necessary prerequisite of cultural change, often presumed. Anyhow, we have to conclude that emerging agriculture was an introduction of ideas and/or a result of immigration not visible in our Y-chromosome data, i.e. as for example female immigration.
In other words, the y-chromosomes suggest the male lineage in Sweden is aboriginal, and the farming, etc not to mention the Germanic language, was acquired. The authors make a slight suggestion to the possibility that if Swedish females were studied, migrations from the mainland may indeed be evident. This may very well be the case. I think it is possible that the men, originally Finnic trappers,  used their boats to become traders for the sedentary farming communities.  Travelling widely, they would have found wives in those settlements they visited, brought them home and had the women maintain their own farms while they went away in their trading activity. It is important to bear in mind human nature. Population genetics must not forget that men and women do not behave the same. Men roam, and find mates far away, bring them home, and have them manage the farming settlement while they continue to carry wares long distances in their boats.

A Matter of Names


    We have mentions a number of historical names given to the aboriginal peoples of northern Europe.  Neither the word "Finn" or "Aestii" (or "Eesti") has any meaning in Finnic as written.  Another word that appears in historical texts is with reference to Wends, or Venedi.  In historic times, the Germanic Scandinavian word for them was  Vindo, plural  Vindyr.  Historically Finns called them Venta, and Estonains Võnd.  This suggests that Scandinavian Germanic raised the vowels. It follows that the word "Finn" was actually "Fenn" which was what Tacitus used (Ch 46, Germania) (Finni). This is now closer to the Estonian and Finnish words, whose stems are Venn- and Võnn-  Since Finnic pluralizes with T, D, Tacitus could have heard the plural Fennet but wrote Finni because Latin plural is achieved with the final.  Tacitus also identified Venedi, as another people of the area so that the issue is really in the nature of the initial consonant. 
    The explanation can be in the fact that Roman Latin used the letter "V" for the "W" sound, and did not speak the "V" sound common today. Thus  Tacitus may have chosen to use the "F" instead of "W" in this case.  Another indication of the confusion in the initial sound is in the fact that ancient Romans used the word Veneti ("WENETI") while  ancient Greeks wrote Henetoi or Eneti.  When we consider various names for aboriginal peoples across the ancient north -  Anglo-Saxon Cwens,  Germanic Quans, the Finnish dialect called Kainu, the Khanti or Handi of the Ob River - what is clear is that  it is always a question of how the initial high vowel is launched. The fact is that Finnic stresses the first syllable, and when the initial syllable begins with a vowel, a consonantal sound appears, whether intentionally or not, in order to launch that initial vowel.  Foreigners then interpreted the H-like sound according to the characteristics of their own language.
    With this in mind, as I will continue below, I suggest that the original word was something that has survived in the stem UI- which means 'swim, float'
    I believe that the UI- (which is actually a glide between the two sounds) could become "WI" and be slightly aspirated too.  If greatly aspirated it then begins to sound like an "FI". 
    The N comes as a genitive marker, as needed for using that stem to name a people.  UINI 'of the floating (person)' or  UINIT for the plural, which can now be transformed into Fenni, Finnyr, Vindo, Vindyr, Venni, Veneti, Wendi, etc.
    This word UINIT sounds remarkably like the Inuit of arctic North America, and perhaps the prehistoric Finnic language had similar limited sounds. The language of the Inuit only recognised a low, middle and high vowel - represented by U, A, and I.  But this did not prevent a speaker using in between vowel sounds - as long as the dialect made a distinction between three levels. (It is like in English, someone saying HEPPY DEI instead of HAPPY DAY.)  I believe that the southern Finnic language speakers, being in contact with southern civilization languages, were influenced in their dialect.
    My investigation suggests that the Finnic languages closest to the Germanic ("Corded ware" farmer immigrants) were influenced to raise their vowel sounds, causing  U>O, A>E, E>I, I >(sound break or H), and that the dominant lingua franca of the region from the Jutland Peninsula and South Baltic spoken by the Suebi tribes, was a vowel-raised and palatalized Finnic language and that Tacitus compared the Aestii language to the native British because these were not vowel-raised or palatalized.
    Herein we find why the Estonian name for themselves, Eesti, not to mention Tacitus' version Aestii, has no meaning in Estonian.  It must be the name given these people who ran the market at the mouth of the Vistula (actually at today's Elblag). Let us lower the vowels. If we begin with ESTJI (J=Y sound) then it lowers to ASTJE > OSTJA  and the last word is a very common word in Estonian and Finnish - ostja 'buyer'.,Suebic tribes took their furs to the market where the ESTJI who ran the market  purchased it.
    . I think that the dialectic variation was similar to the difference between a regular British accent and a cockney accent. Once you get used to it, you can understand. However foreigners will write the words as they hear it, and so the same word can be recorded differently.
    Another example is the word Suebi itself. If we lower the vowels we approach something like SUO-ABA. which means 'the open waters of the marsh' suggesting the original dominant tribe from which the name came lived perhaps at the mouth of a river, perhaps at the mouth of the Oder.  It is interesting to note that the Finnish name for their country is Suomi, which may be based on SUO MAA 'Land of marshes'. SUO ABA is just another way of expressing the fact that these boat people lived in lands dominated by marshes, lakes, and rivers.
    This raising of vowels and palatalization affected how the Danish Norse spoke. The raising of an E to an I was common. Thus FENN became FINN, and VENN became VINN.
    The Norse language, thus, was how the original Finnic-Suebic spoke the Germanic imposed on the natives from being conquered by the Gothic military campaigns of the first centuries AD. This high palatalized dialect has endured in Danish and the south Swedish dialect.  It is well known that when someone learns a new language, they speak it in the fashion of their original language, and we call it an "accent".  This accent will endure if the descendants of these speakers do not experience any other more 'proper' way of speaking it. 


     In spite of the fact that the Aestii had the same religion and customs as the Suebi, Tacitus said their language was "closer to" that of the native British.  It implies that the language of the Aestii, Suebi, and Britannicaewas all of the same language family. The original "Maglemose" culture and language, which ranged from Britain to the Vistula and then at the Vistula transformed a little to the sea-going "Kunda" culture, did not die as long as the lands were all flooded and thereby preserved the original culture. In other words, if farming could not displace the original boat-using way of life, then the original boat-using way of life, language, and culture, tended to continue. So I conclude that the entire region from Britain through southern Scandinavia and southern Baltic, remained in its "Maglemose" character and only changed in periferal ways in response to the arrival of farming peoples. The core way of life of deriving sustinance from harvesting marshes, seas, rivers, continued. There was no great force causing them to abandon it - until of course the military domination approach introduced by the Romans in western Europe and Germanic (Gothic) in middle Europe. (Later Slavic expansion altered the character of .eastern Europe)
    Indeed this idea of a continuation of the "Maglemose" culture was expressed by an archeologist who had no personal bias in this regard. He was only reacting to what archeology suggested:
..it is becoming increasingly evident that much of its [Neolithic culture of southern Britain] came from the North European Plain to the east, a conclusion which in view of the common Maglemosian heritage should hardly occasion surprise. (p 134, World Prehistory, Grahame Clark)
    The connections arise from boat use, and as long as boat use dominated - later including long distance trade as far east as the east Baltic - then the same orientation towards the east would continue. And there was nothing ever to cause the connections between peoples across the northern cease by boat to cease. Even after the original Finnic language was replaced by Germanic languages after the Roman Age, the east-west orientation continued.
    After the Göta, Gothic, military conquests of the Jutland and Scandinavian Peninsulas, what remained was Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Since the Germanic power remained and did not leave, there has been since the first millenium AD, a steady assimilating of the original peoples who historic textbooks refer to as "Finns".  It is important to point out that, like with the Roman conquest of western Europe, there was no immigration. The Romans did not bring Roman immigrants to the various places of the empire. Nor did the Goths ship families into Sweden or Norway.  The Roman method was to conquer a people, establish an army in the vicinity to keep them in line, and only transfer officials from Rome to operate the provinces thus formed. Thereafter all additional officials, soldiers, etc serving Rome were taken from the local population. In other words there was no genetic replacement.
    The Goths of the Kingdom of Denmark did the same. Their successful strategy of conquering the entire Norwegian coast, was a combination of showing military strength to a coastal settlement, and then sending an earl to establish a government answerable to the king back in Denmark. To make the transition smooth, the earl would marry the daughter of the local chief, and in doing so actually inherit the chief's power. Once again, there was negligible genetic replacement. These conquests were done not by migrations of people but by simply establishing authority and managing it. The conversion from the indigenous culture to that of the kingdom might not be forced, but in the long run it is more practical to operate in one language than in two, and the language of the dominating power tends to be the more useful.
    The longer the Scandinavian kingdoms remained in power, the weaker and fewer were the indigenous peoples, until all those of southern Scandinavia had assimilated and only the primitive "Finns" of the remote places remained. Norway called the northern hinterlands "FInnmark". Sweden called their hinterlands "Finnlanda".
    As we come towards modern times,.the term "Finn" ceases to be used for arctic Scandinavians, and is replaced by the term "Lapp" Less than a century ago, one might identify "Fisher Lapps" on the northern coast, "Forest Lapps" in northern forests, and "Reindeer Lapps" in the reindeer tundra.
    But only in the last half century the "Fisher" and "Forest" Lapps have vanished, or rather, assimilated into the Norwegians. Only the "Reindeer Lapps" have survived:  they had a way of life that nobody else had, their own niche.  But not long ago they made it know they wished to be called by their own word "Saami". The "Saami" in my opinion are the cultural remnants of the original reindeer hunters of arctic Scandinavia, who acquired the Finnic language of the boat peoples who visited the arctic waters and dominated the region. (See main article of UIRALA)
    Because the Scandinavian Peninsula was Germanized by military conquest not by any migrations, the peoples there will show, as the Swedish study indicated,  that at least the men are still descended from the "Finns" the original hunter-gatherers. But since the original Finns were likely dark not fair, that means the tall fair haired features of Scandinavia may have come from the female side. It would be interesting what a mtDNA study will demonstrate.
    In general, what we see is that a review of historical information is at odds with any traditional linguistic theory of Finnic migrations to the Baltic from the east. Like the archeological and geographic analysis, an analysis from a historical perspective leads to the same conclusion - that that Scandinavian "Finns" mentioned in historical texts, are descendants of the original "Maglemose" culture and have never left, never come from anywhere else. We can of course allow internal movements within this broad Finnic domain which would not leave much evidence since similar cultures and languages merge easily.
    But in the broader study of the boat peoples and their expansion around the world, we have to go back further in time, back to the whale hunters of the White Sea, whose descendants appear to have carried the name UINIT to describe themselves, to distant coasts of the Atlantic.

The Name Trail of Boat People


    The Saami, formerly known as Lapps, and before that being among the abroiginal peoples called Finns (as discussed above), are idenfied today for being reindeer herders in the Norwegian arctic, are not boat people. Today's Saami are best identified with a well developed culture revolving around reindeer. In this respect they are culturally close to the other reindeer peoples in the arctic, the Samoyeds. One cannot help noticing the similarity in names.
    My own thinking is that in  prehistoric times, in places where the boat people encountered reindeer people, it was necessary to distinguish between the two. If we were to give the boat people a name, using modern Finnic words, we might call them VENE 'of the boat' or VENED (plural-'people of the boats'). But for many reasons I will express below, it seems to me that the more basic stem is UI- which in modern Estonian and Finnish means 'swim, float'. Thus we might call boat people  UINIT 'people who float'.  Supporting this approach is the fact that if in future there is no need to distinguish between 'people of the floating' and other people, then the word can simply mean 'people' and that would explain the word Inuit meaning 'people' that names todays people of the North American arctic.
    It is possible that the word for 'water' and word for 'float' are related. Possibly the meaning was determined by level of vowel.  Indeed Estonian words show the significance of vowel level. For example  vool 'current', vee 'of the water', vii 'of the carrying (on top of the water).  It, as well as Germanic water, suggests that the low vowel referred to the fluid or being beneath the surface, the middle vowel  referred to being at the surface, and the high vowel referred to being above the surface. In any event we have reason to believe that UINI could be UENE or UONO  etc and that the vowel level clarified the meaning (unless it was dialectic, in which case the entire language was shifted in terms of vowel level.)  We note that the in reality there may also have been AINI, UAINI, etc.
    But such dialectic changes cover many thousands of years over a very wide range of boat-peoples, and we cannot do more than generalize and offer some ideas.
    One question we may wonder about is the origins of the name. Usually people invent a name when they need to distinguish between two realities. For example, if a people call themselves people who glide, it is because they need to distinguish themselves from other peoples who do not glide on the water. Who did they encounter - the reindeer hunters who only travelled on foot.
    If we assume the boat people saw themselves as UINIT, what name would they have for the reindeer peoples? If the basis for the name is the manner of travel, then reindeer peoples are walkers. If we apply modern Finnic we might say SAMMUJAD  'people who walk'.  I believe the name Samoyed  was applied by Finnic speakers. The word "Saami" used in Scandinavia for the reindeer herders, thus must be a contraction of the word.   It could have arisen independently. What if Finnic boat people who were harvesting the seas off arctic Norway. Coming across reindeer people, they would similarly have known them as 'people who walk'. The word SAMMU ('of the stepping') might also have been used.
    But then, when these people expanded in their boats to places where they never saw any reindeer people, and therefore the distinction between walkers and water-gliders was no longer relevant, the word UINIT  and variations would simply have reduced in meaning to 'people'. And that is exactly what we find among the boat peoples of northeastern and arctic North America - notably in the word Inuit 'people'
    Is it possible to map the distribution of names of the kinds described above over top of the theory of distribution outlined in the main article of UIRALA?  THE ORIGINS AND EXPANSIONS OF  BOAT-ORIENTED WAYS OF LIFE : Basic Introduction to the Theory


   The name that may have had the form UINIT and developments from it, could have been carried forward in time and space along with the migrations of these boat peoples. The following is an exploration of how we can use the name the boat people used for 'people' to trace their expansion in Europe and beyond. The purpose of this is purely to stimulate thought. The mapping below is partly from actual data and partly suggested as likely possibilities based on the discussions above and in the main article.

Map 1. The  Traces of Boat People Expansion in Names
This map introduces many inventions of name, and this article will explain the reasons. Here are some brief explanations: UINI is an invented word (from Finnic stem UI-) that can be seen to be ancestral to both "Finnic" and "Inuit".  UINU is a variation that can be seen to have  evolved into "Khanti", UENE can be seen to be ancestral to the Roman word for hunting people in the east Baltic Fenni, considering that the Roman F-character was really used for a sound that was more like V today. UENETI can be seen as its plural and ancestral to the same word in the southeast Baltic according to Ptolemy and others.  I also show Vistula as arising from UISE-LA, another variation. Far to the west, I have written UITULA purely because Caesar describes the dominant people  identifiable with the Aquitani, as Uiteriges, or Bituriges. Uiteriges, by Estonian or Finnish suggests uide riigid  'nations that float/swim'. The other naming (in white) takes directly from established words. "Brito-Belgic" of course refers to the Belgae and Britannicae of the Roman British period, and "Suevo-Aestic", combines the Suevi and Aestii larger regions as identified by Roman Tacitus and other ancient historians. Note that the intent of the map is to describe logical units based on how geography would influence interraction of boat-oriented peoples. Note to scholars:  To keep the map simple, it does not include any information pertaining to land-based people other than the reindeer hunters at the top.


The UI-stem for "People Moving Over the Water Surface"


    This study proposes that the names for boat peoples originated from a word stem that sounded like the still-existing Finnic stem UI-. It is written in Finnish with ui- as in uima- (prefix indicating 'swimming-, floating-'). In Estonian it is written with uj- as in ujumis- (prefix 'swimming-, floating-').
       In the beginning humans only moved around on land, on foot. But then, as described in  THE ORIGINS AND EXPANSIONS OF  BOAT-ORIENTED WAYS OF LIFE : Basic Introduction to the Theory   some broke away and began to develop a new way of life in emerging wetland regions that required travelling around in boats on water. It then became necessary around 6000BC to distinguish between people who walked - like the reindeer people - and people who glided on water. 
   In the evolution of languages, words with fluid (many) meanings, differentiated into narrower meaning; but this did not cause the older word to be abandoned. For example the Estonian/Finnish stem vee- 'water-", could have been derived from UI-.  That is to say the original word UI- would have had a wide range of meanings, the listener determining the meaning from the context in which it was used. It could have meant 'travel by water', 'float', 'swim', 'carry-by-boat',  'connected with water', and so on, as we have already mentioned above. The first step in creating narrower meanings would be to vary the I as in producing UE-  or UAI-  A change to VE- or VAI- was easy because whenever a vowel begins a word, it has a tendency to become a consonant (and lose its pure vowel quality). Another change would have been from "UE" to "WHE" as discussed above.
         In arctic Canada, the name of the arctic people of boat traditions there, Inuit,  is plural of innuk 'person'. From the Inuit we can look further south too, to the Algonquians. Among the Algonquians to their south, the word inini means 'man, person'. 
      What evidence is there that the word inuit may have the origins in Finnic as proposed above and be related to Estonian and Finnish uj- or ui-? The Inuit language has words with the word element ui-  which appears to relate to water  as for example in uijjaqtuq 'water spins' or uimajuq 'dissipated' which interestingly parallels Estonian ujumis-, Finnish uima- ('swimming-, floating-') and even Estonian uimane 'dazed'.  The Estonian uimane is interesting in that it seems to suggest that the original meaning UI- described water as a dynamic thing - moving, swirling, etc. Although Estonian and Finnish now use the stem vee- for 'water' presumably it is because over the millenia, among those in contact with southern civilizations,  there has been a development in the derivation of new words that substituted V for U, and E for I
     It is possible that this adjustment from I to E began with trade contact with southern civilizations. Sumeria is one of the very few ancient languages that has been preserved as a result of their habit of doing everyday writing in cunieform on wet clay tablets, and scholars have determined that the Sumerian  word for 'water' was simply "EE".  Having the original word for 'water' expressed by stressing a high vowel is  natural.
     Languages do not use every sound that can be made, but only those sounds that linguists call phonemes. It is significant that the Inuit language still shows only the most basic sounds (as a baby produces them) and recognizes only three vowels - a high, medium and low. Thus originally  E was interpreted the same as an I, or O was interpreted the same as an U.  In the development of new words, the easiest way to do so was to recognize new sounds. For example by recognizing the E, suddenly UI produced two stems  UI and UE.
     Although we cannot directly prove that the North American INNI words meaning 'person' might originally have meant '(people) of the water' (in contrast to other people who did not use boats), it is a reasonable hypothesis because we can make the connections with the Finnic languages. This speaks towards the idea of circumpolar movement of skin-boat using sea-harvesters passively migrating throughout northern waters ever since the earliest arctic skin boats which, according to the age of arctic rock carvings showing them, suggests somewhere around 4000BC.  This has been explored in detail in other UIRALA articles

  More on Later Developments of Names


    As discussed above, the Scandinavians of centuries ago called the native peoples throughout Scandinavia by the name "Finns".  That must have been a real name used by the natives, since it is unlikely the Scandinavians would have borrowed the use of the same name by the Roman Tacitus and  Greeks like Ptolemy, with reference to primitive peoples in the wilderness behind the southeast Baltic. (See Tacitus Germania 98AD, ch 46). The Greeks wrote Phinnoi, and Tacitus  used Fenni.  But Finnic languages did not originally have the "F, PH" sound; therefore it must have been a sound that somewhat resembled an "F".  We note that there are historical records which speak about Indu peoples in the Gulf of Finland as well, and of course there exist the Finno-Ugrians called Khanti at the Ob River, who Estonians call Handid.
      But we noted above, that  a language uses only certain sounds from all the sounds humans make. If the speakers of a language had peculiarities in their manner of speaking - what linguists call paralinguistics features - they could have made sounds that were not relevant to the language, but foreign observers found the sounds relevant and put them in. For example, let us say that the Finnic languages did not have the "F" sound (and they still don't), but when speaking words beginning with emphasized vowels, they gave the first vowel an explosiveness, then they could have sounded like they added something like an "F" sound at the front.  For longer words, a language like English puts emphasis on the second syllable, but Finnic languages put it on the first regardless of the word.  As a result the English media today consistently pronounces Finnish words wrong, for example Helsinki as hel-SINK-i when it should be HEL-sinki. If the aboriginal peoples across Scandinavia called themselves by UINU, it would have sounded like UI-nu.  The English speaking person who has been reading this has probably been pronouncing UINU differently in their mind up to this point. You have probably been thinking something sounding like "whee-NEW". Indeed the Finnic way of pronouncing UI- has no correspondence in English at all. Best approximation is  "ooo- yeee" (UUU-YIII) spoken very fast.
      My intention here is not to investigate in detail the matter of how the orignal sounded or how the biases of the foreign language interpreted the word, but to repeat again that  the foreign languages that wrote Phinnoi, Fenni, Finni,  were merely interpreting an explosive beginning on the intial vowel, and a sound that did not exist in their own language.  This initial feature may have had "H" in it, and it may have varied dialectically from place to place, even though it was not phonemic. Here is a discussion of it in more detail.
    One tribe may have made an initial sound that was close to "KH" and another may have put in a "BH" and another a "WH". But as far as the language was concerned, the presumed initial consonants were simply not there. In fact it can be argued that even the initial H in Helsinki, was not really phonemic originally, and that the initial H in Finnic languages is an artificiality. (For example as spoken by a Finn, removing the initial H to produce Elsinki, would not change how it sounds compared to Helsinki. Initial H's in Finnish and Estonian languages seem to appear spontanously as a paralinguistic feature to strengthen the initial vowel, and really do not have to be there.(The speaker introduces it only when talking loudly) Take Estonian haruldane. If it were written aruldane, it would sound the same, when speaking in normal voice. H makes an appearance AUTOMATICALLY if it is necessary to shout it. It shows that if we dropped most of the H's at the start of Finnish and Estonian words, the H will be added automatically as needed, and really does not have to be there. It all arises from the need to emphasize the first syllable. A weak initial vowel, thus, needing strengthening, invites the addition of the consonantal sound that intensifies it.
    The original word could indeed have been "UINNI", but was spoken by the people themselves so it sounded like "WHINNI" or "BHINNI" or "HINNI" or.....The foreign listeners wrote down what the bias of their own language observed, whether the sound was in the language or not.
     As already mentioned above, when Latin writers like Tacitus wrote the F-character, they may have been describing the "V" sound, whereas when they wrote the V-character they always meant the "W" sound. Thus Latin Fenni may have actually been "VENNI", while Latin Venni was actually "WENNI"
        I noted earlier that the name for the ancient people called Veneti by the Romans, These people I believe are descended from north-south traders carrying northern amber and were of northern Finnic origins.  They were called Eneti or Henetoi, by Greeks.   The difference is not that great if we rewrite the Roman version properly as Weneti. What both versions have in common is the ENETI part. It shows that the Roman ear and the Greek ear interpreted the initial peculiarity in different ways. A third language may have interpreted it yet differently still like say "KHENETI"  (which reminds us of the people popularly called Khanti, but which Estonian language calls Handid.)
    The proof of this explanation for the origins of the name of the Eneti/Veneti seems to be found in inscriptions left by the Eneti/Veneti themselves in North Italy. They left behind short pieces of writing that have been the subject of investigation (of little success) over the years. Of interest are words that could be interpreted as their own words for Eneti/Veneti. In their own phonetic writing modelled after Etruscan writing, they wrote their own name as follows (transcribed to Roman alphabet, but keeping the dots used)  .e..n.no --   Note the dots around the initial E. The dots in their inscriptions appear, in my analysis, to signify some kind of special linguistic feature. Scholars have solidly established that in some situations  .i.  distorts the "I" sound to resemble an "H".  It can therefore be assumed that  the E with dots on both sides, similarly represents dome kind of H-like quality. We conclude therefore, the Venetic inscription placing dots around the initial E  confirms the theory of the actual speech introducing an aspirant consonantal feature in front, but one that was not clear enough to define as a letter. We can speculate that maybe the sound was similar to "WH" since the Romans interpreted it as "WENETI".       


        Evidence to argue theories about boat people and their movements as early as 6000 years ago, is very vague, and so we cannot rely on any one field for supporting data. In other words, we cannot prove anything by archeology alone, history alone, linguistics alone, geography alone..... That is why finding an explanation for the names the boat people called themselves, is one additional source of evidence to add to the rest,  But the main argument does come from the hard archeological evidence combined with geography and our knowledge of geological and climatological developments after the Ice Age. Thus the core theory remains within the main theory  THE ORIGINS AND EXPANSIONS OF  BOAT-ORIENTED WAYS OF LIFE : Basic Introduction to the Theory


Because most of the theory is based mostly on commonly accepted information, most of the information for which references are not given in the text, come from most textbooks, etc. One book as being very important: Eesti Esiajalugu, Jaanits et al, 1982, Tallinn. Other special sources of data, pictures, quotes are given immediately within the text.

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

2013 (c) A. Pääbo.