parasztember, Hungarian is (or best classifiable) as an Uralic language. HOWEVER just because the language is treated this way, it doesn't imply some sort of automatic ethnic connection which is what I think bothers nationalist Hungarians or those who insist that Hungarians have ethnic kinship with people who do not speak Uralic languages (usually Scythians, Turks or Sumerians). This all stems from the faulty but persistent idea that language is an automatic marker for ethnicity or ethnic ancestry. It obviously fails to account for language shift / assimilation (e.g. the Bulgars who most likely spoke something like "Old Chuvash" got assimilated to the speakers of some kind of Balkan Slavonic when they settled in the Balkans in the Dark Ages).
Johanna Laakso's summary represents the typical interpretation as someone who specializes in the Finno-Ugric languages. Namely that linguistic relationship does not necessarily align with ethnic relationship/close biological similarity (I have put in red the parts which are most relevant to this disconnection between ethnicity and language)
Johanna Laakso wrote:“The Finno-Ugric relatedness is just an ideological (for example, Imperialist-Bolshevist) conspiracy against Hungarians.”
This view has been propagated by some Hungarians ever since the Finno-Ugric relatedness was discovered. The motives are simple: We don't want to be related with primitive nomadic Siberian tribes, we want to be related with peoples who have earned themselves fame and glory, or at least have a war-like past.
This view is also motivated by a fundamental misunderstanding deeply rooted in the National Romanticism. This ideology that was central for the national awakening of many European peoples, Hungarians and Finns included, was based on the idea of a unitary nationhood, expressing itself in the history, culture, and language of the people in question. In this thought, language, culture, and race melted together into an indivisible whole, the role of language as the most important characteristic of a nation was vastly exaggerated, and generations after generations were taught never to question the -- largely language-based -- definitions of a nation.However, language is only one of the criteria of nationhood, and nationhood is not an indivisible whole.
All peoples are genetically “mixtures” of different populations (and from the viewpoint of genetics, mixture of genes -- not “purity of race” -- is something very positive!), all cultures are “mixtures” (Kulturgut ist Lehngut), and all nations are products of historical processes. 1500 years ago there were no “Hungarians”, no “Finns”, no “Germans”, no “French”, etc., in the present-day sense.
The mechanisms by which language is transmitted are fundamentally different from those of cultural or genetic transmission, which means that people can be genetically related (have some ancestors in common) or culturally “related” (have a significant amount of elements of a common origin in their cultures) without speaking languages that are related (i.e. descend from a common proto-language), or vice versa. This means that the Finno-Ugric relatedness does not imply a particularly close genetic relatedness between the present-day speakers, and it does not mean that speakers of present-day Finno-Ugric languages would share a “Finno-Ugric culture” deeply different from its neighbours.This also means that there may be a lot of genetic and cultural relatedness between some Finno-Ugric and Turkic peoples. No serious Finno-Ugrist has ever tried to refute this.
Source: Finno-Ugric and Turkic?
As to your comments on language, I'll deal with them in smaller parts since you touch on a lot of points:
Yes, I agree, that Indo-European theory is would based on very clear evidence, but the Uralic theory isn't.
Yes and no. IE linguistics is fairly detailed and covers a lot of ground but there are still unresolved problems or areas (e.g. What is the nature of the intra-relationship of the Paleo-Balkan languages such as Dacian, Illyrian and Ancient Macedonian? Can we assign a "homeland" for Proto IE?). Uralic linguistics is in a comparable position. There are some problems regarding the internal classification of Uralic (including the need to conceive of Finno-Ugric) as summarized by Tapani Salminen in his paper "Problems in the taxonomy of the Uralic languages in the light of modern comparative studies"
, but he doesn't reject Uralic.
The main point is that the hypothetic proto Indo-European language could reconstructed from ancient written texts, for example Sanskrit, ancient Greek ancient Persian, Latin etc.,that based on language comparison- but ancient "Uralic" or "Finno-Ugric" texts has never been exist.
Moreover, the first Hugarian written language vestige originated in the 11 th century, the first Finnic originated in the 16th century, which is more or less comprehensible in the nowadays speak Hungarian and Finn. But, the "Uralic" school's main thesis, that the more ancient languages in this branch are the North-Eastern European Uralic, and some Western- Siberian languages.
This tiny language groups have written language vestiges only from the 18-19th century. The hypothetic Proto-Uralic language reconstruction is based on clearly linguistic speculation, as NOT exist comparable written texts.
This is somewhat true but in a certain way it's a strawman. Proto-IE is hypothetical (arguably speculative) just as Proto-Uralic is. Remember that any
reconstructed language depends on the sample of modern languages and attestations available. As far as I'm concerned and in somewhat crude terms, Proto-IE and Proto-Uralic are just educated guesswork or speculation derived from research done by a handful of language nerds*. These proto-languages "exist" because of what is known today and are in a bit of a one-way relationship since you can't really say that because Proto-language X had feature A, it then stands to reason that Daughter-languages X and Y have (or lacks) feature A when evidence in these Daughter-languages was used to posit the existence of feature Y in Proto-language X in the first place!
[*Some of whom we'd likely call amateurs when compared to what constitutes a professional linguist starting from the mid-20th century. The concepts of IE and Uralic were set in motion by non-linguists whose linguistic aptitude lay by virtue of their being multilingual rather than having a thorough grounding in comparative linguistic methods. The missionary G-L Coeurdoux's observations were the root of the IE concept while the observations of astronomer J. Sajnovics were behind the concept of Finno-Ugric (no linguist today would take seriously the rather unprofessional title where he has shown that Hungarian and Sami are identical as they are not (i.e. "Demonstratio Idioma Ungarorum et Lapponum idem esse"). However this doesn't mean that we can dismiss the Finno-Ugric linguistic relationship just because Sajnovics and intellectual successors such as Gyarmathi and Szinnyei published papers that drew on several proposed etymologies or genetic similarities which have been since rejected by modern scholars. Other evidence that they proposed passed through the "filter" of modern comparative linguistic methods.
Even the first Mansi (the most relate language of Hungarian, according, the Uralic school) written texts, that had collected in the middle of the 19 the century is became completely incomprehensible to the end of the 19 th century, because this language change amazing flexible, mainly the Russian and Tatar influence. And nowadays, the number of Mansi speakers is circa 2-3000, whose use 4 different dialect, and between of these aren't mutual intelligibility!
Against of this, the Hungarian has 14-15 million native speakers, and Hungarian pratically hasn't any separated dialects, all of the speakers comprehend each other relatively easy.
So what? Pluricentric English (350-400 million native speakers) is most closely related to the Frisian languages/dialects (0.5 million native speakers), but English is not mutually intelligible with Frisian, and mutual intelligibility among speakers of Frisian isn't total either. Size of the language communities and the degree of internal mutual intelligibility has nothing to do with external mutual intelligibility or degree/nature of external linguistic relationship. You're dismissing or downplaying a linguistic relationship by appealing to an ultimately irrelevant set of comparisons.
As to why Mansi dialects are held as being Hungarian's most closely related languages (I repeat that this should not be construed that Hungarians and Mansis show feel instant or special kinship as they're still irrefutably culturally and ethnically distinct, *duh*!), I'll follow karavinka's model where one goes past visually similar forms and compare features and structures (and show that the relationship is not that heavily reliant on phonology in reference to your claim that the existence of Uralic derives from the "sound-shift method".
1) Hungarian and Mansi use indefinite and definite conjugation with the latter extending the basic concept.
"we eat" (indefinite); esszük
"we eat [it/that/these/those]" (definite)
"we (dual) eat" (indefinite), teeγuw
"we (plural) eat" (indefinite); teeγlamen
"we (dual) eat [singular definite object]" (definite), teeγaγmen
"we (dual) eat [dual definite object]" (definite), teeγanmen
"we (dual) eat [plural definite object]" (definite); teeγluw
"we (plural) eat [singular definite object] (definite), teeγaγuw
"we (plural) eat [dual definite object]" (definite), teeγanuw
"we (plural) eat [plural definite object]" (definite)
Turkic languages and Sumerian make no such distinction in the conjugation.
2) peculiarities in numerals:
Hungarian: két ~ kettő
"two" (attribute ~ predicate)
Mansi: kit ~ kitəg
"two" (attribute ~ predicate)
Compared to what I gathered as the equivalents in Finnish (kaksi, kahdeksan), Turkish (iki, sekiz) and Sumerian (sini/min, ussu), the Hungarian-Mansi similarities are strongest and arguably most striking (i.e. the attribute ~ predicate difference in "2" only (Mari has attribute and predicate forms for most numerals i.e. not just for "2") and the construction of "eight")
3) similar or common locative suffixes
4) lexemes shared by Hungarian with Mansi with no other convincing connections.
"dozen bridle"; pom
"grass"; jams, joms
5) Regular sound correspondences (disparaged by parasztember
) supporting positing of cognates. Here are examples of three out of about 25 sound correspondences:
- Hungarian nouns' non-initial -b-
occurs where Mansi has -mp-
- Hungarian nouns' non-initial -d-
occurs where Mansi has -nt-
"nerve; [earlier: bowstring]", kedv
- Hungarian nouns' with initial h-
before a back-vowel occurs where Mansi has k-
(Some of these examples were taken from a summary given to Christopher Culver in one of his courses for Finno-Ugric linguistics. Source
parasztember wrote: The "Uralic" method is completely similar way, if you would explore the Proto-Latin from the Moldavian-Romanian dialect, and completely ignore the Ancient-Latin, and morover if you say the Proto-Indouropean is based on Albanian, not the Sanskrit for example.
But the main method of the "Uralic" school is the "sound shift method", which is originated, from the Indoeuropean linguistic school, and on this basis have only a few, some hundred mutual words between the "Proto Finno-Ugric" and Hungarian, and more less between the Hungarian and the whole Uralic group.
This prove only that the hungarian vocabulary contain only 10 percent Finno-Ugric (Uralic) originate words, and contain circa 40 percent Turkic, and Indo-Eurpean loanwords, and in this way the Hungarian vocabulary contain 50 percent completely unknown originated words (!)
This was only a few example, cos this topic is worth several volume of books.
Because of the heavy reliance on agglutination in Hungarian it's more meaningful to analyze word roots (or "word bushes" as conceived in the big old dictionary by Czuczor and Fogarasi) The linguist Istvan Kenesei gathers then that about 30% of word roots cannot be traced with a certain/known/convincing etymology, about 20% are traceable from each of Finno-Ugric and Slavonic, 10% from each of Germanic and Turkic, 5% from Latin or Ancient Greek and the remainder from other language groups. His figures are a far cry from your citing of 10% from Finno-Ugric/Uralic, 40% from Turkic and IE, and 50% of unknown/uncertain origin.
Summarizing: I don't want to deny, that the hypothetic Uralic, and Finno-Ugric languages had haven't any relate to Hungarian. But in historical, cultural and genetical manner apparently not exist mutuallity of these groups and Hungarian, and exist only a few relationship by the word comparisons.
It's a wrong theory of the "Proto-Uralic" language and common homeland, but these languages contacted in other manner.
See Johanna Laakso's comments per the quote above.