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The motivational analysis of some Finnic colour terms

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Abstract

The origin and semantics of some (non Indo-European) Finnic colour words denoting the yellow, red and brown hues are discussed, including their various earlier interpretations. All the words discussed, namely, ruske, raudjas, lepp, leet and paat (with variations and cognates) have similarities with word-roots in Indo-European languages, for example, among the Finnic colour names with the raud- stem there are Germanic and Baltic loanwords, all originating in the same root. The chapter includes a new hypothesis as to the semantic origin of words from the lepp- stem, and it explores aspects of the morphological and semantic changes which occurred in the adopted words. These include examples of mistaken folk-etymology in connection with leet and paat / paatti, and investigation of the dialectal meanings of the ruske-based lexemes which vary from orange to red and brown hues.

References

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