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Regular version of the site

Article

The Origin and Dispersal of Uralic: Distributional Typological View

Annual Review of Linguistics. 2020. Vol. 7. P. 1-19.

Recent progress in comparative linguistics, distributional typology, and linguistic geography allows a unified model of Uralic prehistory to take shape. Proto-Uralic first introduced an eastern grammatical profile to central and western Eurasia, where it has remained quite stable. Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Uralic had no connection, either genealogical or areal, until the spreading Indo-Iranian branch of Indo-European came into contact with the already-diverged branches of Uralic about 4,000 years ago. A severe and widespread drought beginning about 4,200 years ago cleared the way for a rapid spread of Uralic-speaking people along the Volga and across south-western Siberia. It also contributed to the sudden rise of the Seima-Turbino bronze-trading complex, one component of the Uralic spread mechanism. After the initial spread, the Uralic daughter languages retained their Volga homelands remarkably stably while also extending far to the north in a recurrent Eurasian pattern.