A FINNISH CONSPIRACY
We call the country of the Finns Finland, but they call it Suomi. What's curious here is that neither of those words has a certain origin- both of their etymologies are obscure. The Fin- part of Finland apparently derives from the Old Norse appellation finnr, with an older meaning of something like "dwarf", but that's all we know about that. As for suomi, it's been theorized to come from Proto-Balto-Slavic zeme, meaning "ground", but that's uncertain, since Finnish is a Uralic language. Another possible explanation brings it back to Proto-Indo-European dheghom, or "earth", but this is a mere reconstruction and it's probable that never existed as a word at all. As word origins in European languages go, both of these are suspiciously lacking in substance. The gist of it all is that the origins of the Finns escapes us, in both their language and ours. Does this indicate that Finland doesn't actually exist? It's up to YOU to decide.
1/9/2020 03:30:49 am
I was struck tonight after watching a travel video on Youtube with an Idea about the possible origin of the name Finland. I was informed that 1/3 of the land area of Finland was Swamp. And that the word for swamp in Finnish is "suo" hence Suomi is Finland.
4/1/2020 03:02:49 pm
Also apparently *swombho is the attested PIE form for swamp, which is rather close to Suomi.
12/18/2020 06:17:56 pm
Suomi is a contraction of the word "Suo" meaning swamp and "maa" meaning earth, land. The Uralic Finns could have been exposed to "swombho" though.
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic. This year, I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government and Linguistics. There, I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society and wrote a thesis on Serbo-Croatian language policy, magna cum laude. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.