Suomen kiuas, karjalan kiukua ja havaintoja etymologian tutkimusperinteestä
The article revisits and reevaluates the origins of the North Finnic word for ‘sauna stove’. According to the received view – originally presented in Uuno Taavi Sirelius’ (1907) study on dwellings of Uralic peoples – Finnish kiuas with variants such as kiukaa, kiukoa and kiukas, Karelian kiuku(v)a and kiugua as well as Ingrian kiukā and Vote tšiukas originate in the Finnic (Finnish) compound noun *kivikota made up of kivi ‘stone’ and kota ‘hut; shelter’. Further, Lude kiudug and Veps küudug ‘sauna stove’ have also been related to the above-mentioned words. Critical reevaluation of the received view makes it evident that the *kivikota ‘stone hut’ explanation is quite problematic both from a morphological and semantic point of view. From the morphological perspective, the *kivikota hypothesis presupposes a large array of sound changes and analogical shifts that nevertheless account only for a fraction of actual variants of the word without severely conflicting with a number of well-known sound changes in North Finnic. From the semantic perspective, relation of sauna stoves – originally consisting of heaps of stones – to the primary referents of kota ‘hut; shelter’ has never been explained. As the classical “stone hut” explanation must be considered unsatisfying, there are good reasons to reevaluate a nearly forgotten conjecture put forward by A. E. Lindfors (1893) who proposed that kiuas might originate in the compound noun *kivikasa, consisting of kivi ‘stone’ and kasa ‘pile; heap’. As it turns out, the *kivikasa hypothesis accounts for most of the morphological variants as well as the semantic functions of Finnish kiuas, Karelian kiukua and their obvious cognates in Ingrian and Vote. Although the initial step in the emergence of a new noun for ‘sauna stove’ has required a sporadic and irregular change from the compound *kivikasa ‘heap of stones’ towards the less transparent *kiukas(a), the subsequent development à la *kivikasa (nominative) : *kivikasan (genitive) >> present-day Finnish kiu(k)as : kiuka(h)an etc. must be regarded more or less regular. As for the semantics, a reconstructed meaning ‘heap of stones’ for ‘sauna stove’ is paralleled by analogical compounds like Moksha kevmar (кевмар) ‘sauna stove; heap of stones’ (from kev ‘stone’ and mar ‘heap’) and is thus far more plausible than the received view about the “stone hut” origins of kiuas. The paper concludes that the “stone hut” theory on the origins of the word for the core element of Finnic sauna must be abandoned as invalid and unproven, whereas the compound *kivikasa ‘heap of stones’ provides a nearly perfect explanation. The main reason for the popularity of the *kivikota theory appears to be the fact that Sirelius’ premature hypothesis has been gradually canonized in the absence of any serious attempts to question its plausibility or to provide alternative, morphologically and semantically sound explanations for the designation of the very core of the Finnic sauna culture.
Accepted manuscript version.