Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ    Attic   

Re: OT: Finns.

From:Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
Date:Wednesday, February 25, 2009, 7:41
Andreas Johansson skrev:
> On Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 11:11 PM, Lars Finsen <lars.finsen@...> wrote: >> It occurred to me today that two of the names >> used for the Finnish people might be related. >> "Kven" is an old name, known perhaps first from >> Adam of Bremen, 11th century. "Finn" is even >> older, known from Ptolemy, 2nd century CE. Now >> if "Kven", or "Kwen" or "Kwenn" was borrowed >> into Celtic at an early stage, it regularly >> would become "Pen" or "Penn" (except in Spain >> or Ireland). And if "Penn" was borrowed into >> Germanic before Grimm's Law, "Fenn" would >> result. >> >> Anybody here more in the know about this? >> Wikipedia tantalisingly mentions a theory that >> the two words may be cognates, but gives no >> reference. > > Seems more than a little unlikely - why would > Germanics borrow a word for Finns from Celtic? > > The usual guess is that "Finn" is related to the > verb "find" (Sw. _finna_, same in Norwegian I > think?), the original Finns being nomads who > around finding their food as opposed to > sedentary Scandinavian-speakers.
In Old Norse _Finnr/Fiðr, Finnar (pl.)_ always refers to Saami people. Why it was later applied to the Suomi people remains a mystery. As for ON _Kvænir/Kveinir_ it derives from Saami _Kuöinu_[^1] which in turn derives from or is cognate to Finnish _Kainulaiset_ 'The Shore-dwellers', who were the north-westernmost Finnish tribe which colonized northern Sweden and northern Norway. The Kainulaiset were thus the first and normally only Finnish tribe which the old Norse came into contact, and so their name was, as often happens, applied by them to all the Finns as a whole. BTW I suspect that [kainu] > [kQinu] > [kwEinu] may have been a spontaneous development in some dialect of ON. The [kwEin] > [kw&:n] change was under the influence of the ON word _kvæn_ 'womanfolk' (cognate to English _quean_). /BP 8^)> -- Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*, c'est qu'elles meurent." (Victor Hugo)


Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
Lars Finsen <lars.finsen@...>