Finno-Ugric Language

English: Excerpt of The Arrival of the Hungari...

English: Excerpt of The Arrival of the Hungarians – excerpt of Feszty’s famous cyclorama painting, The Hungarian Conquest Magyar: A magyarok bejövetele (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Székely village in Covasna County, with the ...

A Székely village in Covasna County, with the Southern Carpathians in the background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Distribution of Uralic languages and peoples

Distribution of Uralic languages and peoples (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This posts may not appeal to the average reader, though I find history very interesting.  I’ve went back and forth like usual, second guessing myself in posting this or not.  But as I have said a million times before, I’m not one to stick with any one subject! (Fyi-I am including graphics/photo’s from Wikipedia, etc., not the reference material; not that I find it more reliable or unreliable then some other sources, it’s more a matter of convenience.)This post gives me the opportunity to brush up on history and at the same time share information with those who are interested.  History is not only a verbal and written account of the past but ideas, theories and data that ranges from geological to mathematical and all the places in between.  So from various reference sources, I begin to tell you a tale.  Debates, comments, corrections are always welcome in a semi-civil manner at least.

I’ve seen a lot of discussion on the matter of language origins; a good place to start:

Magyars have existed in the European memory for a thousand years as a lonely, strange and mysterious people coming from the Orient.  The history of the Magyars some where in the Urals.  The mountain range divides Asia and Europe geologically.  In fact, however, the Urals rise barely a thousand meters, are easily passable and are not at all a dividing line in the historical sense.  The Uralic people’s, including the ancestors of the Magyars, lived on both sides of the mountain some 8,000 or 10,000 years ago.

It is no surprise that the languages of the people’s in the Uralic linguistic group differ so much from each other nowadays.  For they live scattered over some 4-5 million square kilometers; moreover, the Hungarian language broke away so long ago and went so far away that only the system and nature of the languages have remained common by now, most of the words are different and hardly any similar words can be recognized.  So it is small wonder that Hungarians cannot understand at all the language of their closest linguistic kin (living 4,000 kilometers away), the Ostyaks of western Siberia.

But the relationship is one of linguistic kinship only, as the Magyars are anthropologically not the relatives of any of the Finno-Ugric peoples.

The Finno-Ugrics living west of the Urals, including the ancestors of the Magyars, might have broken away from the Uralic linguistic community in the fourth millennium BC.  However, the area of settlement of the Samoyeds, the other branch of the Uralic language group, might have been in western Siberia, somewhere in the forest of the headwaters of the Irtis and Ob Rivers.  After a coexistence of 1500-2000 years, and another separation occurred.  Those speaking the Finno-Volgaic language migrated away from the Ugrics, who stayed in the southern regions of the Urals and reached the Baltics.

The people speaking the Finno-Ugric language took up agriculture and animal husbandry in the second millennium BC and became acquainted with metal processing (bronze).  In this period, the climate in the Urals became significantly warmer.  As a result, the boundaries of the steppe extended 200-300 kilometers farther north than they do today, and the steppe turned into semi-desert.

Between 800 and 700 BC, however, the opposite process took place: the climate cooled and became rainier.  During the warming trend, the Ugrics migrated northeast, but during the cooling period they adapted to the conditions.  They were forced to give up agriculture in favor of hunting, fishing and collecting, as well as reindeer husbandry, in western Siberia (where they still live).

The ancestors of the Magyars wandered south and reached the region between the Ural mountains and the Kama River, a transition between a semi-desert and land suitable for agriculture.  Thus in addition to migrating animal husbandry, agriculture was also maintained, but it had a lessor role than before.

Hungary2006 WoodCarve

What’s your opinion on this topic?

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