The Finnic ‘secondary e-stems’ and Proto-Uralic vocalism
It is well-known that in the Finnic languages there is group of Uralic word-roots which appear to have undergone an unexplained vowel shift in the first and second syllables: e.g., Finnish sarvi : sarve- ‘antler’ (< Proto-Uralic *śorwa) and talvi : talve- ‘winter’ (< Proto-Uralic *tälwä). These words have been referred to as ‘secondary e-stems’, as the shape of their cognates outside Finnic suggests a proto-form with the stem vowel *a or *ä. This paper proposes a solution which provides a regular phonological account of the development of this class of word roots. The solution involves the revision of certain aspects of the theory of historical vocalism in Saami and Mordvin.