Hungary and Finnish not so close after all

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It turns out the Finnish and Hungarian aren't so close after all, despite my previous impression. According to The Economist, Estonian is a lot closer.

"Philologists' labours have identified some 200 words with common roots in all three main Finno-Ugric tongues. Fully 55 of these concern fishing, and a further 15 are about reindeer; only three are about commerce. An Estonian philologist, Mall Hellam, came up with just one mutually comprehensible sentence: 'the living fish swims in the water.'"

If you haven't picked up the Christmas edition of The Economist, you definitely should. It's a time when they let their writers go wild and scribble on about anything that interests them (as well as the news). This year's highlights include the history of wheat, a survey of human evolution, personal finance in Jane Austen's novels and an analysis of the sex-toy market in China.

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This page contains a single entry by Rob Buckley published on December 24, 2005 12:47 AM.

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