The Finnic-Mordvinic lepp Cover Image

The Finnic-Mordvinic lepp
The Finnic-Mordvinic lepp

Author(s): Vilja Oja
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Teaduste Akadeemia Kirjastus
Keywords: Finnic; Mordvinic; Lapp; lexis; vocabulary; etymology; origin of words; colour terms; language contacts

Summary/Abstract: The noun leppä (or one of its phonetic variants) is used as a name for ’alder (Alnus)’ in Finnic, Mordvinic and Lapp. The same word denotes ’bleeding’ as well as ’blood of a killed animal’ or — as in some dialects — just ’fish or seal blood’. On the Western Estonian islands the word is also used to refer to a reddish colour. In addition, the stem has produced several names for ’ladybird’ used in Finnish, Karelian, Ingrian, Votic and Estonian. Some linguists tend to consider ’alder’ as the primary sense of the lexeme in Finnic, while some others hold that the original sense is ’blood’. With some hesitation the word has been suggested to be a Baltic loan. Here a new hypothesis is advanced: the Finnic lepp(ä) could possibly be an early Indo-European loan originally meaning ’paint’.

  • Issue Year: XL/2004
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 87-94
  • Page Count: 8
  • Language: English