March 24, 2010

For my Finnish readers

On a per capita basis, I seem to have more Finnish readers than American ones. From a press release by the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland:

The Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) together with its collaborators has compiled the Finnish Gene Atlas, which contains genome-wide gene marker data for more than 40,000 Finns. The first findings obtained with this collection, which is exceptionally extensive for Europe, pertain to determination of the origin of Finns.

Hundreds of thousands of gene markers make it possible to examine similarities in the genetic architecture of Finns and other European peoples. Use of the Atlas has revealed, for instance, that:

  • Finns are unique on the genetic map of Europe; we differ considerably both from Central Europeans and from our neighbours to the east.
  • Genetically, Finns have more in common with, for example, the Dutch or Russians living in the area of Murom, to the east of Moscow, than with our linguistic relations, the Hungarians; genetic closeness clearly follows geographic distance more closely than linguistic distance.
  • Owing to our settlement history, the genetic differences among Finns are great on both the east/west and north/south axes; the greater the geographic distance is, the greater the genetic differences are. In comparing the Finnish dialect areas, the greatest genetic differences are found between Finns of Southwest Finland and inhabitants of Kuusamo in Northeast Finland.
  • The linguistic link between Swedish-speaking Finns living in coastal areas and Swedes is also reflected in the greater genetic closeness of these two groups in comparison with Finnish speakers.
During 2010 the Finnish Gene Atlas will be supplemented with the first Finns whose whole genome will be fully sequenced.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

31 comments:

Reg Cæsar said...

Finns are very different from most European nations-- they have a sense of humor!

fbj said...

"The linguistic link between Swedish-speaking Finns living in coastal areas and Swedes is also reflected in the greater genetic closeness of these two groups in comparison with Finnish speakers"

No shit...It would be difficult to explain why the proud bear huntin' ancestors of finnish speakers came to be politically dominated by THOSE people, if there wasn't greater genetic closeness...

Dan J said...

Wow, thanks for noticing us Finns! Finns in general dislike all hypocrisy, including political correctness, and so we enjoy reading your blog. Simple as that.

As for the genome, I never quite understood our supposed connection with Hungary. The Hungarians are a great bunch, but apart from phonetics we are nothing like each other (except for the high suicide rate).

The Dutch blood must be from the influx of Dutch/Walloon artisans and metalworkers into Nordic lands in the 17:th century. They were not that many, really, but apparently very virile.

Justthisguy said...

Ok, I have to do it: How can you tell an introvert Finn from an extrovert Finn?

Anonymous said...

I thought the Finnish language was related to Estonian.

patrick said...

Hungarians seem to be more closely related to their Czech and Austrian neighbors than to their linguistic cousins in Finland or the Ural region of Russia. The region of course came to be dominated by the Magyars, Uralic speakers from modern-day Russia, who imposed their language without making much genetic impact.
The same thing happened in Turkey- modern Turks are more closely related to southeastern Europeans than to populations in the central Asian regions where Turkic languages originated.

Anonymous said...

Finnish and Estonian are closely related languages according to my cousin. She learned Finnish first and then picked up Estonian with relative ease. I think the Finnish language also has some similarities to the Hungarian. My grandfather's family was mostly Finnish. I've covered the local Scandinavian-American festival and interviewed Finns, Swedes, Norwegians, Danes and Icelanders for the last 15 years too and seen the cultural presentations, including some by the Sami people.

If you look for it I think there are some differences in the way the average Finnish descendant looks and Swedes or Norwegians. The Finns tend to have bigger frames and broader faces. Some of them have almost a Slavic or Asian look. There's some Sami in some of the Finns that gives some of them more of that Central Asian look. There's more prevelance of the B blood type in Finns and Hungarians and Russians than elsewhere in Europe and it's also higher in Asians. I inherited the B blood type from my dad and I assume it came from the Finns. I like the Finns I've met and it's an interesting culture.

Andrea

GMR said...

Finnish is closely related to Estonian and distantly related to Hungarian...

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about the supposed connection between Finnish and Hungarian... I know what both sound like, and they don't sound alike at all, and I have a pretty good ear for languages. AFAIK, Finns and Estonians can more or less understand each other, so that connection makes way more sense.

I spoke to Hungarians who claimed vehemently that the supposed connection between Hungarian and Finnish is completely bogus, invented by German linguists in 19th century as part of some German master plan. Would not know how to verify this.

Truth said...

"Ok, I have to do it: How can you tell an introvert Finn from an extrovert Finn?"

He's the one looking at your shoes instead of his own--heard it before you were born.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Finnish language was related to Estonian.

It is. Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, and some Western Siberian languages in Russia like Mari are in the same group.

Anonymous said...

I heard somwwhere that Finnish was related to Korean. Cool, if true.

Anonymous said...

I cant speak Finnish or Estonian but having visited both countries I can see the written language looks very similar to my eyes.

That and the hot women also look similar - just thought I'd mention it FYI.

Anonymous said...

'Ok, I have to do it: How can you tell an introvert Finn from an extrovert Finn?'

He looks at his own shoes intead of his girlfriend's shoes?

Reg Cæsar said...

...I never quite understood our supposed connection with Hungary... apart from phonetics we are nothing like each other... --Dan J

Funny how everyone seems to know that Finnish is related to Hungarian, but is clueless as to how distant that relationship is. It's akin to the distance between English and Russian, or Sanskrit. Linguistically, Finns and Hungarians diverged about 5,000 years ago.

Finnish and Estonian are sisters; Hungarian is something like their fifth or sixth cousin.

Nevertheless, it is notable how all the Fenno-Ugric languages retain their dramatic emphasis on the first syllable, no matter how long the word. This might just be stubbornness (Finns? Stubborn? Heavens, no!!!), but since it's also true of their unrelated Indo-European neighbors Czech and Slovak, perhaps there's a genetic or environmental aspect to this.

There is also that strange arc of front-rounded (i.e., umlauted) vowels running from France to unrelated Finland, but rare elsewhere in Europe. LF Brosnahan once mapped the high correlation (within Europe) of type-O blood frequency and preference for a dental fricative (th-). Besides the Isles and Iceland, both show up in Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Denmark on the Continent. (Check out these maps on p. 33 of David Crystal's Cambridge Encylopedia of Language.)

Then there's the definite-article map. Most languages either lack one, or put it out in front. But Romanian, Bulgarian, Albanian and the Scandinavian tongues all stick it on the end. Anyone mapped their genes?

Anonymous said...

Reg,

re: Balkan articles

The evolution of the Balkan article system happened recently, at least in the cases of Romanian, the relevant type of Serbian, and Bulgarian. We know this because their ancestors lacked articles, just as modern Russian etc still do.

So a genetic explanation seems a little odd, since presumably there were no significant genetic changes between the periods of eg. Middle Bulgarian and Modern Bulgarian.

re: umlauts

Hungarian and Finnish are both vowel-harmony languages. They systematically contrast front and back vowels, meaning that eg. Hungarian has 7 such pairs. The loss of vowel harmony would significantly alter the grammar and sound of the language and it appears that the ancestral languages possessed them prior to the entrance of the Finno-Ugric peoples into Europe. Meanwhile, in French, they were present in Old French but not in vulgar Latin, so they are a comparatively recent development. We might speculate that they derive from a Germanic influence.

The point is that they are probably independent developments - one arose in French, the other is ancestral in Hungarian and Finnish.

-bushrod

Anonymous said...

Both Finnish and Hungarian are Uralic languages, but are very distant from each other(the "Ural-Altaic" language family has long been discredited by linguists, so Finnish isn't related to Mongolian, which is Altaic, or Korean which apparently isn't even Altaic).

The Uralic languages are however very distant cousins of the Indo-European language family. We probably share a common linguistic ancestor. The same could probably be said of the Afroasiatic languages of the Middle East and Africa, such as Arabic, Hebrew, Akkadian, Egyptian, and Amharic, although they are even more distantly related.

A fairly large percentage of the ethnic Russian population(meaning those who self-identify as Russian), could accurately be described as "Russified Finns", especially in much of northern Russia. The Slavic Russians were originally a tiny group of Indo-European speakers that slowly assimilated smaller, unrelated peoples as they expanded eastward across the great expanse of northern Eurasia.

It's even said that the Russian accent has a strong Finnish(Or "Finnic") influence to it, which in part makes it distinct from Ukrainian which is more truly Slavic. This is especially true of the Russians in north-eastern Russia, to my understanding. Please correct me if I am wrong Finns!

As a side note, I actually knew a black-Finn back in school. I think he was 3/4 black and 1/4 Finn(or maybe half?). Very "weird" looking to say the least, but okay guy. Several decades ago there was a tiny Finnish community in Harlem; maybe he was partially descended from them.

Altyn Khan said...

(the "Ural-Altaic" language family has long been discredited by linguists, so Finnish isn't related to Mongolian, which is Altaic, or Korean which apparently isn't even Altaic).

Well, Altaic itself is under siege; some of its advocates have begun to sally forth, but even amongst them there remains much contention about the bounds of this family (with some advocating inclusion of Korean, alone or in combination with Japonic, and others arguing for the exclusion either of Japonic or of both). Most everyone agrees that there's *some* sort of relationship, but the problem boils down to the distinction between a sprachbund (where convergence of features arises through contact, horizontal transmission) and a "real" (genetic) language family.

If we take a few more steps outward -- to the even more speculative realm of higher-level linguistic relationships, mind you -- the association of Altaic, Uralic, and Indo-European are sister taxa (plus or minus a few others) is pretty common.

Jonathan said...

"It's even said that the Russian accent has a strong Finnish(Or "Finnic") influence to it, which in part makes it distinct from Ukrainian which is more truly Slavic. "

Sounds like Ukrainian propaganda - "truly Slavic" is a meaningless statement. Ukrainian (like Polish) was heavily influenced by German. Ukrainian actually sounds more like Finnish than Russian. If anything Russian has more Turkic influence, the Finno-Ugric tribes were too far down the social ladder to have much influence on anyone.

Finnish and Estonian are so close I'm sure Finns tend to forget Estonian is officially a separate language.

Anonymous said...

When I hear the word Finn I think honest. Apparently most of your readers think Hungarian.

Anonymous said...

When I hear the word Finn I think honest.

Honest as in Aspie?

No wonder the cool thugs that run the media and entertainment mafias hate Finns so much!

patrick said...

The Russians from Murom mentioned in the article are Russified Finns-a Volga Finnic language was spoken there until the 12th century when the region was Slavicized by the expanding Kievan Rus.

corvinus said...

I'm not sure about the supposed connection between Finnish and Hungarian... I know what both sound like, and they don't sound alike at all, and I have a pretty good ear for languages.

They are related in a way similar to how Italian and German are related.

corvinus said...

As an addendum, if Finnish is Italian, and Hungarian is German, then Estonian is like Spanish.

Reg Cæsar said...

When I hear the word Finn I think honest. --anonymous

A quarter-century ago, in a Helsinki fast-food joint* full of teenagers, I accidentally left $200 in Finnmarks sitting on whatever you call those wall attachments where you eat standing up.

I got in line to order my food, and having done so, discovered I didn't have my cash. I ran back and, lo and behold, it was still there. Everyone had seen it, but no one had touched it!

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn ascribed Finnish honesty to an ancient practice of "demanuating" thieves. Funny, this hasn't worked on the
Arabs!

*This was Carroll's-- remember them? They survived in Finland long after Burger King swallowed them up in America. But Whoppers were on the menu in Helsinki.

stari_momak said...

Here's some Komi women in front of a birch grove. Doesn't get much more finno-ugric than that.

Graham Asher said...

"Then there's the definite-article map. Most languages either lack one, or put it out in front. But Romanian, Bulgarian, Albanian and the Scandinavian tongues all stick it on the end. Anyone mapped their genes?"

It's a feature that pops up all over the place. Another example is St. Lucian Creole. (I suppose I should learn it so I could boast a unique double: I speak Swedish, and my wife is of St. Lucian origin, making it seem like a good idea.)

Definite articles come and go in languages on a several-thousand-year cycle; the old set is worn out and discarded, and a new set comes along, derived from the words for 'this' and 'that'. Sometimes they go before the noun, sometimes after, and they're sometimes treated as part of the word.

Gc said...

According to Wikipedia the Finnish have some Siberian genes, but also a big part of the genetic distance comes from that Finland is so remote place, that the Finns don`t have any mediterranian genes. And some parts of the populations, like those in northeastern Finland, have been isolated for a very long time. Finns are know for their sauna`s (it`s a finnish word), but before christianity all Europeans probably used sauna. In the alps there are old structures that very much look like an Western Finnish Sauna, but supposedly the catholic church denied Sauna`s as immoral and the sauna culture was preserved only in a remote place like Finland.

Gc said...

All internet communities where I am there a always other finns, maybe because this way you can communicate but don`t have to look anyone to their eyes :) It is also too cold to be outside. I`ve read that after certain latitude (60?) to the north most people are finns, but don`t know if it`s actually true.

Markku said...

Finnish and Estonian are so close I'm sure Finns tend to forget Estonian is officially a separate language.

No. A native speaker of Finnish, I can only understand fragments of Estonian language text. With enough time and excercise of imagination I might be able deduce the gist of a newspaper column. Speech is very, very difficult to follow.

I've been told the difference between Russian and Ukrainian is about as large as that between Finnish and Estonian (by a native Russian speaker who has excellent command of Finnish and who understands Ukrainian without too much difficulty because of having spent a lot of time in a Russian-Ukrainian border region in her childhood).

Anonymous said...

Hi

Estonians are actually not closely related to Finns. Eastern Finns have mostly come from North-Eastern Russia via Estonia. The fact that the males came via Estonia does not mean Finns are related to Estonians. This is one of the most common misconceptions of Finns.

"The more than 25,000 blood samples collected already make it possible to conduct various background studies. For example, comparing the genetic data of Estonians with other European nations has revealed that Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles and some Russians are genetically much more similar to Estonians than the Finns with whom Estonians share a similar language."

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2009/02/estonians-are-not-like-finns/

If you look at Estonians closely you see that they look a lot like other Baltic people such as Latvians and Lithuanians. Some look Russian. So that makes sense.

Finns have a dual ethnicity. Western Finns mostly came from Sweden, other parts of Scandinavia and Western Europe. That´s why some geneticists refer to Finns as a genetic "mosaic community". They have multiple origins and there is really no such genetic group as "Finnish" but rather people of different ethnicities.

This is unknown to most Finns and they regard themselves as genetically united people. But you can see the difference. Some are tall slim blue-eyed and blonde like Swedes and others are very short, stocky and have a round face and high cheek bones like Fenno-Ugric people in Northeast Asia.