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Encyclopedia > Altaic languages
Altaic
Geographic
distribution:
East Asia, North Asia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe,
Genetic
classification
:
While the status of the family itself is controversial, language families encompassing Altaic together with other families have been proposed, such as the Ural-Altaic and Nostratic
Subdivisions:
Korean and its extinct relatives (often included)
Japonic and its extinct relatives (often included)
Ainu (rarely included)
ISO 639-2: tut

Altaic is a proposed language family that includes 66 languages [1] spoken by about 348 million people, mostly in and around Central Asia and northeast Asia. The relationships among these languages remain a matter of debate among historical linguists. Some scholars consider the apparent similarity among these languages to indicate a genetic relationship; others propose that they are not a family derived from a common ancestor, but a Sprachbund, a group of languages that have become similar in some ways by massive borrowing because of long language contact. East Asia Geographic East Asia. ... Regions of Asia:  Northern Asia  Central Asia  Western Asia  Southern Asia  Eastern Asia  Southeastern Asia North Asia or Northern Asia is a subregion of Asia. ... Map of Central Asia showing three sets of possible boundaries for the region Central Asia located as a region of the world Central Asia is a vast landlocked region of Asia. ... Pre-1989 division between the West (grey) and Eastern Bloc (orange) superimposed on current national boundaries: Russia (dark orange), other countries of the former USSR (medium orange),members of the Warsaw pact (light orange), and other former Communist regimes not aligned with Moscow (lightest orange). ... A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ... A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ... It has been suggested that Altaic hypothesis be merged into this article or section. ... The Nostratic languages are a proposed language superfamily to which some linguists believe a large number of language families from Europe, Asia, and Africa possibly belong. ... The Turkic languages constitute a language family of some thirty languages, spoken across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are traditionally considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family. ... The Mongolic languages are a group of thirteen languages spoken in Central Asia. ... Tungusic languages (or Manchu-Tungus languages) are spoken in Eastern Siberia and Manchuria. ... The Japonic languages or Japanese-Ryukyuan languages constitute a language family that is agreed to have descended from a common ancestral language known as Proto-Japonic or Proto-Japanese-Ryukyuan. ... The Ainu language (Ainu: , aynu itak; Japanese: ainu-go) is spoken by the Ainu ethnic group on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō. It was once spoken in the Kurile Islands, the northern part of HonshÅ«, and the southern half of Sakhalin. ... ISO 639-2 is the second part of the ISO 639 standard, which lists codes for the representation of the names of languages. ... Current distribution of Human Language Families Most languages are known to belong to language families (families hereforth). ... Map of Central Asia showing three sets of possible boundaries for the region Central Asia located as a region of the world Central Asia is a vast landlocked region of Asia. ... A Sprachbund (German for language bond, also known as a linguistic area, convergence area, diffusion area) is a group of languages that have become similar in some way because of geographical proximity. ... Language contact occurs when speakers of distinct speech varieties interact. ...


The proponents of Altaic traditionally consider it to include the Turkic languages, the Mongolic languages, the Tungusic languages (also called Manchu-Tungus languages), and sometimes Japonic or Korean. A few linguists add Ainu, but this view has few adherents.[1] Occasionally, hypotheses that include only Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic are called "Micro-Altaic", and ones that include more language families are called "Macro-Altaic". The Turkic languages constitute a language family of some thirty languages, spoken across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are traditionally considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family. ... The Mongolic languages are a group of thirteen languages spoken in Central Asia. ... Tungusic languages (or Manchu-Tungus languages) are spoken in Eastern Siberia and Manchuria. ... The Japonic languages are a language family believed to descend from a common language known as Proto-Japonic. ... The Ainu language (Ainu: , aynu itak; Japanese: ainu-go) is spoken by the Ainu ethnic group on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō. It was once spoken in the Kurile Islands, the northern part of Honshū, and the southern half of Sakhalin. ...


Altaic is itself part of the even more controversial Nostratic and Eurasiatic hypotheses. The Nostratic languages are a proposed language superfamily to which some linguists believe a large number of language families from Europe, Asia, and Africa possibly belong. ... Eurasiatic is a hypothetical macro-family proposed by the late Joseph Greenberg that groups together several language families of Europe, Asia, and North America. ...

Contents

History of the hypothesis

The Altay Mountains ("Mountains of Gold" in Turkic and Mongolic) give their name to the proposed language family.
The Altay Mountains ("Mountains of Gold" in Turkic and Mongolic) give their name to the proposed language family.

The idea that the Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic (or Manchu-Tungus) languages are each others' closest relatives was first published by F. J. von Stralenberg in 1730. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (900x600, 467 KB) Altay mountains (Belukha), photo by Vít Hněvkovský, 2006 Pohoří Altaj (hora Bělucha) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Altay Mountains Metadata... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (900x600, 467 KB) Altay mountains (Belukha), photo by Vít Hněvkovský, 2006 Pohoří Altaj (hora Bělucha) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Altay Mountains Metadata... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... The Turkic languages constitute a language family of some thirty languages, spoken across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are traditionally considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family. ... The Mongolic languages are a group of thirteen languages spoken in Central Asia. ... Tungusic languages (or Manchu-Tungus languages) are spoken in Eastern Siberia and Manchuria. ...


As early as 1857, Anton Boller suggested adding Korean and Japanese. For Korean, G. J. Ramstedt and E. D. Polivanov put forward more etymologies in the 1920s. Gustaf John Ramstedt (1873-1950) was a Finnish linguist who worked as professor extraordinarius in Altaic languages at the University of Helsinki. ... Yevgeny Dmitrievich Polivanov (Евге́ний Дми́триевич Полива́нов) (1891 - 1938) was a Russian linguist and orientalist. ...


For much of the 19th and early 20th centuries those few linguists who studied these language families regarded them as members of the so-called Ural-Altaic family, together with the Finno-Ugric and the Samoyedic languages, based on features such as vowel harmony and agglutinative grammar. While the Ural-Altaic hypothesis can still be found in encyclopedias, atlases and similar general reference works, it has not had any adherents in the linguistics community for decades ("an idea now completely discarded" – Starostin et al. [2003:8]). It has been suggested that Altaic hypothesis be merged into this article or section. ... Approximate geographical distribution of areas where indigenous Finno-Ugric languages are spoken. ... Geographical distribution of Samoyedic, Finnic, Ugric and Yukaghir languages The Samoyedic languages are spoken on both sides of the Ural mountains, in northernmost Eurasia, by perhaps 30,000 speakers altogether. ... Vowel harmony (also metaphony) is a type of long-distance assimilatory phonological process involving vowels. ... It has been suggested that Agglutination be merged into this article or section. ...


As a result of decades-long work, G. J. Ramstedt's book Einführung in die altaische Sprachwissenschaft [Introduction to Altaic linguistics] was published in 1952 (two years after Ramstedt's death). It separated the Uralic languages (i. e. the Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic families) from the Altaic ones, added Korean and Japanese to the latter, and contained the first attempts to find regular correspondences in the sound systems and the grammars of the Altaic language families. Gustaf John Ramstedt (1873-1950) was a Finnish linguist who worked as professor extraordinarius in Altaic languages at the University of Helsinki. ... Geographical distribution of Samoyedic, Finnic, Ugric and Yukaghir languages  Yukaghir  Samoyedic  Ugric  Finnic The Uralic languages (pronounced: ) form a language family of about 30 languages spoken by approximately 20 million people. ...


Further contributions to Altaic studies, especially attempts to reconstruct the most recent common ancestor of the Altaic languages (the so-called Proto-Altaic language), were made in the 1950s and 1960s by linguists such as Nikolaus Poppe, K. Menges, Vera Cincius, Vladimir Illich-Svitych, S. Martin and R. A. Miller; most of these attempts did not include Korean or Japanese, judging them to be too different from Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic. The most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of any set of organisms is the most recent individual from which all organisms in the group are directly descended. ... Roy Andrew Miller is a linguist notable for his advocacy of Japanese and Korean as members of the Altaic group of languages. ...


In the 1960s the pendulum swung in the other direction. Researchers such as G. Clauson, Gerhard Doerfer, and A. Shcherbak argued that the words and features shared by Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic were for the most part borrowings, and that the rest could be attributed to random chance. For example, they argued that while there were words shared by Turkic and Mongolic, by Mongolic and Tungusic, and by all three, there were none shared by Turkic and Tungusic but not Mongolic. If all three families had a common ancestor, we should expect losses to happen at random, not only at the geographical margins of the family; on the other hand, we should expect exactly the supposedly observed pattern if borrowing is to blame. Furthermore, they argued that many of the typological features of the supposedly Altaic languages, such as agglutinative morpology and SOV word order, usually occur together. In sum, the idea was that Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic form a Sprachbund – the result of convergence by intensive borrowing and long contact among speakers of languages that are not necessarily closely related. The proponents of this hypothesis are sometimes called "Anti-Altaicists". Linguistic typology is the typology that classifies languages by their features. ... It has been suggested that Agglutination be merged into this article or section. ... For other uses, see Morphology. ... In linguistic typology, Subject Object Verb (SOV) is the type of languages in which the subject, object, and verb of a sentence appear (usually) in that order. ... A Sprachbund (German for language bond, also known as a linguistic area, convergence area, diffusion area) is a group of languages that have become similar in some way because of geographical proximity. ... Language convergence is a type of contact-induced change whereby languages of equal social prestige with many bilingual speakers mutually borrow morphological and syntactic features, making their typology more similar. ...


Doubt was also raised about the affinities of Korean and Japanese (defended by R. A. Miller in 1971); in particular, some workers tried to connect Japanese to the Austronesian languages. Roy Andrew Miller is a linguist notable for his advocacy of Japanese and Korean as members of the Altaic group of languages. ... The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia. ...


Since then, the debate has raged back and forth, with wholesale defenses of Altaic in the wide sense (e. g. Starostin 1991[citation needed]), a family consisting of Tungusic, Korean, and Japonic, but not Turkic or Mongolic ("Macro-Tungusic"; J. Marshall Unger 1990), and wholesale rejections (e. g. Doerfer 1988) being published. The latter was the generally most popular point of view among historical linguists. (For a review see e. g. Georg et al. [1999][1].) J. (James) Marshall Unger, born May 28, 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio, is a professor of Japanese at Ohio State University who specializes in historical linguistics and the writing systems of East Asia. ...


Using the controversial phenetic method of multilateral comparison, Greenberg[citation needed] found a family consisting of Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic and another consisting of Korean, Japanese, and Ainu. This result has found very little acceptance because of the peculiarities of the Ainu language, although the idea was not new, having been proposed long before by Street (1962) and Patrie (1982). In biology, phenetics, also known as numerical taxonomy, is an attempt to classify organisms based on overall similarity, usually in morphology or other observable traits, regardless of their phylogeny or evolutionary relation. ... Mass lexical comparison or mass comparison is a highly controversial method developed by the well-known linguist Joseph Greenberg to find genetic relationships among languages in the remote past, beyond the limits of the traditional comparative method, or in situations where there are too many languages to practically apply the... The Ainu language (Ainu: , aynu itak; Japanese: ainu-go) is spoken by the Ainu ethnic group on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō. It was once spoken in the Kurile Islands, the northern part of Honshū, and the southern half of Sakhalin. ...


An important step in the debate was the publication of An Etymological Dictionary of Altaic Languages by S. Starostin, A. Dybo, and O. Mudrak in 2003. The result of some twenty years of work, it contains 2800 proposed cognate sets, a complete set of regular sound correspondences, and a number of grammatical correspondences, as well as a few important changes to the reconstruction of Proto-Altaic; for example, while most of today's Altaic languages have vowel harmony, Proto-Altaic as reconstructed by Starostin et al. (2003) lacked it – instead various independent vowel assimilations between the first and the second syllables of words happened in Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic, Korean, and Japonic. Importantly, it tries hard to distinguish loans between Turkic and Mongolic and between Mongolic and Tungusic from cognates, and it suggests words that occur in Turkic and Tungusic but not Mongolic (Starostin et al. 2003:20; all other combinations between the five branches also occur in the book). Look up cognate in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Vowel harmony (also metaphony) is a type of long-distance assimilatory phonological process involving vowels. ...


Starostin's et aliorum "sincere[…] hope that this publication will bring an end to this discussion" (Starostin et al. 2003:7) has not been fulfilled, however. The debate continues (e. g. Georg 2004, Vovin 2005[2], Starostin 2005, Georg 2005, Blažek 2006).


It has been suggested that the Japonic languages could be Altaic but have an Austronesian or generally Austric substratum[citation needed]. This would (geographically) fit suggestions (e. g. Bengtson[citation needed]) that Ainu is an Austric language. The Austric language superfamily is a large theoretical grouping of languages primarily spoken in Southeast Asia, the Pacific, and the eastern Indian subcontinent. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Urheimat

Old Turkic inscription with the Orkhon script (c. 8th century). Kyzyl, Russia
Old Turkic inscription with the Orkhon script (c. 8th century). Kyzyl, Russia

Altaic languages in their diversity show a great depth, probably going back deep into the Mesolithic or even Upper Paleolithic period in Central Asia, following the disappearance of the Mansiyskoe lake, or, as it is still named, the West Siberian lake, that took practically the whole territory of the west Siberian flatland up to foothills of the Kuznetsk Alatau and Altai. With the late Glacial warming, up to the Atlantic Phase of the Post-Glacial Optimum, into this area mesolithic groups moved northwards from the Hissar (6-4,000 BCE) and the Keltiminar (5,500-3,500 BCE) who introduced the bow and arrow, and the hunting dog, within what Kent Flannery has called the "broad spectrum revolution". The Keltiminar culture practised a mobile hunting, gathering, fishing, and over time, an introduced stockbreeding seasonal-round subsistence system while inhabiting the semi-desert, desert, and deltaic areas of the Kara and Kyzyl Kum deserts, and the lower Amu Darya and Zeravshan rivers. [3] Image File history File links Download high resolution version (337x800, 53 KB) Photographer: Philipp Roelli (2005) the creator of this image releases it under the GFDL. File links The following pages link to this file: Orkhon script ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (337x800, 53 KB) Photographer: Philipp Roelli (2005) the creator of this image releases it under the GFDL. File links The following pages link to this file: Orkhon script ... The Turkic language spoken by the Göktürks and used on the Orkhon inscriptions. ... Orkhon tablet Inscription in Kyzyl using Orkhon script Orkhon script The Orkhon script (also spelled Orhon script, also Orkhon-Yenisey script, Old Turkic script, Göktürk script, Turkish: Orhon Yazıtları) is the alphabet used by the Göktürk from the 8th century to record the Old Turkic... Music-Drama Theatre in Kyzyl Kyzyl (Tuvan and Russian: Кызы́л) is a city in Russia, capital of Tyva Republic. ... The West Siberian Glacial Lake, also known as West Siberian Lake, or Mansiyskoe Lake (Russian: Мансийское озеро), was a periglacial lake formed when the Arctic Ocean outlets for each of the Ob and Yenisei rivers were blocked by the Barents-Kara Ice Sheet during the Weichselian Glaciation, approximately 80,000 years ago. ... A bow is a weapon that shoots arrows powered by the elasticity of the bow and/or the string. ... Trinomial name Canis lupus familiaris The dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is a domestic subspecies of the wolf, a mammal of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. ... Kent Vaughn Flannery (b. ... The Broad Spectrum Revolution (BSR) hypothesis, proposed by Kent Flannery in 1969 in The Domestication and Exploitation of Plants and Animals, suggested that the emergence of the Neolithic in western Asia was prefaced by increases in dietary breadth in Mesolithic and Epipaleolithic foraging societies just before this period. ...


The spread of the Karasuk culture, and the appearance of northern Mongol Dinlin elements has been equated with the spread of what has been called the later "micro-Altaic" group. Their anthropological type is of a basic Europoid group with admixture of Mongoloids. Karasuk People lived in permanent settlements, in frame type houses. The economy was complex, they bred large horned livestock, horses and sheep. In Karasuk period they developed high level of bronze metallurgy. Characteristic for Karasuk Culture are extensive cemeteries, tombs are fenced with stone slabs laid on crest. Karasuk Culture is result of migration of eastern part of Dinlins, and had an influence as far as the Ordos region of China and across into Manchuria and northern Korea. The split between Turkic and Mongolian languages, it is suggested, was the last division within the Proto-Altaic group, and it has been suggested that this occurred just prior to the Xiongnu period of Central Asian history. The Karasuk culture is a name given by archaeologists to a group of Bronze Age societies who lived in southern Siberia and Kazakhstan during the later second millennium BC. They succeeded the Andronovo culture in this region and were farmers who primarily raised sheep and may have been the first... For the contemporary Chinese author, see Ding Ling. ... A Xiongnu belt buckle. ...


Reconstructed phonology

Based on the proposed correspondences listed below, the following phoneme inventory has been reconstructed for the Proto(-Macro)-Altaic language (taken from Blažek's [2006] summary of the newest Altaic etymological dictionary [Starostin et al. 2003] and transcribed into IPA): In human language, a phoneme is the theoretical representation of a sound. ... Proto-language may either refer to a language that preceded a certain set of given languages, or to system of communication during a stage in glottogony that may not yet be properly called a language. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ...


Consonants

Bilabial Alveolar or dental Alveolopalatal Postalveolar  Palatal    Velar  
Plosives aspirated /pʰ/ /tʰ/ /kʰ/
voiceless /p/ /t/ /k/
voiced /b/ /d/ /g/
Affricates aspirated /t͡ʃʰ/
voiceless /t͡ʃ/
voiced /d͡ʒ/
Fricatives voiceless /s/ /ʃ/
voiced /z/¹
Nasals /m/ /n/ /nʲ/ /ŋ/
Trills /r/² /rʲ/
Approximants /l/ /lʲ/ /j/²

¹ This phoneme only occurred at the beginnings of words. In phonetics, a bilabial consonant is a consonant articulated with both lips. ... Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli (the sockets) of the superior teeth. ... Sagittal section of alveolo-palatal fricative In phonetics, alveolo-palatal (or alveopalatal) consonants are palatalized postalveolar fricatives, articulated with the blade of the tongue behind the alveolar ridge, and the body of the tongue raised toward the palate. ... Postalveolar (or palato-alveolar) consonants are consonants articulated with the tip of the tongue between the alveolar ridge (the place of articulation for alveolar consonants) and the palate (the place of articulation for palatal consonants). ... Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate (the middle part of the roof of the mouth). ... Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue (the dorsum) against the soft palate (the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum). ... A stop, plosive, or occlusive is a consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract. ... In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies the release of some obstruents. ... Phoneticians define phonation as use of the laryngeal system to generate an audible source of acoustic energy, i. ... A voiced consonant is a sound made as the vocal cords vibrate, as opposed to a voiceless consonant, where the vocal cords are relaxed. ... Affricate consonants begin as stops (most often an alveolar, such as or ) but release as a fricative (such as or or, in a couple of languages, into a fricative trill) rather than directly into the following vowel. ... In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies the release of some obstruents. ... Phoneticians define phonation as use of the laryngeal system to generate an audible source of acoustic energy, i. ... A voiced consonant is a sound made as the vocal cords vibrate, as opposed to a voiceless consonant, where the vocal cords are relaxed. ... Fricatives (or spirants) are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. ... Phoneticians define phonation as use of the laryngeal system to generate an audible source of acoustic energy, i. ... A voiced consonant is a sound made as the vocal cords vibrate, as opposed to a voiceless consonant, where the vocal cords are relaxed. ... A nasal consonant is produced when the velum—that fleshy part of the palate near the back—is lowered, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. ... In phonetics, a trill is a consonantal sound produced by vibrations between the articulator and the place of articulation. ... Approximants are speech sounds that could be regarded as intermediate between vowels and typical consonants. ...


² These phonemes only occurred in the interior of words.


Vowels

Front Back
unrounded rounded
Close /i/   /y/   /u/
Mid /e/ /ø/ /o/
Near-open /æ/
Open /a/

It is not clear whether /æ/, /ø/, /y/ were monophthongs as shown here (presumably [æ œ~ø ʏ~y]) or diphthongs ([i̯a~i̯ɑ i̯ɔ~i̯o i̯ʊ~i̯u]); the evidence is equivocal. In any case, however, they only occurred in the first syllable of any word. Vowels Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a rounded vowel. ... A back vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. ... Vowels Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a rounded vowel. ... Vowels Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a rounded vowel. ... A close vowel is a type of vowel sound used in many spoken languages. ... A mid vowel is a vowel sound used in some spoken languages. ... Vowels See also: IPA, Consonants Near‑close Close‑mid Mid Open‑mid Near‑open Open Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a rounded vowel. ... An open vowel is a vowel sound of a type used in most spoken languages. ... A monophthong (in Greek μονόφθογγος = single note) is a pure vowel sound, one whose articulation at both beginning and end is relatively fixed, and which does not glide up or down towards a new position of articulation; compare diphthong. ... In phonetics, a diphthong (also gliding vowel) (Greek δίφθογγος, diphthongos, literally with two sounds, or with two tones) is a monosyllabic vowel combination involving a quick but smooth movement from one vowel to another, often interpreted by listeners as a single vowel sound or phoneme. ...


Every vowel occurred in long and short versions which were different phonemes in the first syllable. In human language, a phoneme is the theoretical representation of a sound. ...


Prosody

As reconstructed by Starostin et al. (2003), Proto-Altaic was a pitch accent or tone language; at least the first, and probably every, syllable could have high or low pitch. Pitch accent is a kind of accent system employed in many languages around the world. ... It has been suggested that Tonal language be merged into this article or section. ...


Sound correspondences

If a Proto(-Macro)-Altaic language really existed, it should be possible to reconstruct regular sound correspondences between that protolanguage and its descendants; such correspondences would make it possible to distinguish cognates from loanwords (in many cases). Such attempts have repeatedly been made. The latest and (so far) most successful version is reproduced here, taken from Blažek's (2006) summary of the newest Altaic etymological dictionary (Starostin et al. 2003) and transcribed into IPA. Proto-language may either refer to a language that preceded a certain set of given languages, or to system of communication during a stage in glottogony that may not yet be properly called a language. ... Look up cognate in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A loanword (or loan word) is a word directly taken into one language from another with little or no translation. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ...


When a Proto-Altaic phoneme developed differently depending on its position in a word (beginning, interior, or end), the special case (or all cases) is marked with a hyphen; for example, Proto-Altaic /pʰ/ disappears (marked "0") or becomes /j/ at the beginning of a Turkic word and becomes /p/ elsewhere in a Turkic word. In human language, a phoneme is the theoretical representation of a sound. ...


Consonants

Only single consonants are considered here. In the middle of words, clusters of two consonants were allowed in Proto-Altaic as reconstructed by Starostin et al. (2003); the correspondence table of these clusters spans almost 7 pages in their book (83–89), and most clusters are only found in one or a few of the reconstructed roots.

Proto-Altaic Proto-Turkic Proto-Mongolic Proto-Tungusic Proto-Korean Proto-Japonic
/pʰ/ 0-¹, /j/-, /p/ /h/-², /j/-, -/b/-, -/h/-², -/b/ /p/ /p/ /p/
/tʰ/ /t/-, /d/-³, /t/ /t/, /t͡ʃ/4, -/d/ /t/ /t/ /t/
/kʰ/ /k/ /k/-, -/k/-, -/g/-5, -/g/ /x/-, /k/, /x/ /k/, /h/ /k/
/p/ /b/ /b/-, /h/-², /b/ /p/-, /b/ /p/ /p/
/t/ /d/-, /t/ /t/, /t͡ʃ/4 /d/-, /d͡ʒ/-6, /t/ /t/, -/r/- /t/-, /d/-, /t/
/k/ /k/-, /k/, /g/7 /k/-, /g/ /k/-, /g/-, /g/ /k/-, -/h/-, -0-, -/k/ /k/
/b/ /b/ /b/-, -/h/-, -/b/-8, -/b/ /b/ /p/, -/b/- /p/-, /w/, /b/9, /p/10
/d/ /j/-, /d/ /d/, /d͡ʒ/4 /d/ /t/, -/r/- /d/-, /t/-, /t/, /j/
/g/ /g/ /g/-, -/h/-, -/g/-5, -/g/ /g/ /k/, -/h/-, -0- /k/-, /k/, 011
/t͡ʃʰ/ /t͡ʃ/ /t͡ʃ/ /t͡ʃ/ /t͡ʃ/ /t/
/t͡ʃ/ /d/-, /t͡ʃ/ /d/-, /d͡ʒ/-4, /t͡ʃ/ /s/-, -/d͡ʒ/-, -/s/- /t͡ʃ/ /t/-, -/s/-
/d͡ʒ/ /j/ /d͡ʒ/ /d͡ʒ/ /t͡ʃ/ /d/-, /j/
/s/ /s/ /s/ /s/ /s/-, /h/-, /s/ /s/
/ʃ/ /s/-, /t͡ʃ/-12, /s/ /s/-, /t͡ʃ/-12, /s/ /ʃ/ /s/ /s/
/z/ /j/ /s/ /s/ /s/ /s/
/m/ /b/-, -/m/- /m/ /m/ /m/ /m/
/n/ /j/-, -/n/- /n/ /n/ /n/ /n/
/nʲ/ /j/-, /nʲ/ /d͡ʒ/-, /j/, /n/ /nʲ/ /n/-, /nʲ/ /m/-, /n/, /m/
/ŋ/ 0-, /j/-, /ŋ/ 0-, /j/-, /g/-13, /n/-14, /ŋ/, /n/, /m/, /h/ /ŋ/ /n/-, /ŋ/, 0 0-, /n/-, /m/-6, /m/, /n/
/r/ /r/ /r/ /r/ /r/ /r/, /t/15
/rʲ/ /rʲ/ /r/ /r/ /r/ /r/, /t/
/l/ /j/-, /l/ /n/-, /l/-, /l/ /l/ /n/-, /r/ /n/-, /r/
/lʲ/ /j/-, /lʲ/ /d/-, /d͡ʒ/-4, /l/ /l/ /n/-, /r/ /n/-, /s/
/j/ /j/ /j/, /h/ /j/ /j/, 0 /j/, 0
  • ¹ The Khalaj language has /h/ instead. (It also retains a number of other archaisms.) However, it has also added /h/ in front of words for which no initial consonant (except in some cases /ŋ/, as expected) can be reconstructed for Proto-Altaic; therefore, and because it would make them dependent on whether Khalaj happens to have preserved any given root, Starostin et al. (2003:26–28) have not used Khalaj to decide whether to reconstruct an initial /pʰ/ in any given word and have not reconstructed a /h/ for Proto-Turkic even though it was probably there.
  • ² The Monguor language has /f/ here instead (Kaiser & Shevoroshkin 1988); it is therefore possible that Proto-Mongolian also had /f/ which then became /h/ (and then usually disappeared) in all descendants except Monguor. Tabgač and Kitan, two extinct Mongolic languages not considered by Starostin et al. (2003), even preserve /p/ in these places (Blažek 2006).
  • ³ This happened when the next consonant in the word was /lʲ/, /rʲ/, or /r/.
  • 4 In front of /i/.
  • 5 When the next consonant in the word was /h/.
  • 6 When followed by /æ/, /ø/, /y/.
  • 7 When the next consonant in the word was /r/.
  • 8 When the preceding consonant was /r/, /rʲ/, /l/, or /lʲ/, or when the next consonant was /g/.
  • 9 When the following vowel was /a/, /ə/, or followed by /j/.
  • 10 When followed by /i/ and then another vowel, or by /j/.
  • 11 When preceded by a vowel preceded by /i/.
  • 12 When followed by /a/.
  • 13 When followed by /u/.
  • 14 When followed by /a/, /o/, or /e/.
  • 15 When followed by /i/ or /u/.

Khalaj is a language spoken primarily in Iran and Afghanistan. ... The Monguor language (Simplified Chinese: ; pinyin: ; also written Mongour and Mongor) is closely related to Mongolian. ... The Khitan language is a now-extinct language once spoken by the Khitan people. ...

Vowels

Vowel harmony is pervasive in Altaic languages: most Turkic and Mongolic as well as some Tungusic languages have it, Korean is arguably in the process of losing its traces, and it is (controversially) hypothesized for Old Japanese. (Vowel harmony is also typical of the neighboring Uralic languages and was often counted among the arguments for the Ural-Altaic hypotheses.) Nevertheless, Starostin et al. (2003) reconstruct Proto-Altaic as lacking vowel harmony. Instead, according to them, vowel harmony originated in each daughter branch as assimilation of the vowel in the first syllable to the vowel in the second syllable (which was usually modified or lost later). "The situation therefore is very close, e.g., to Germanic [see Germanic umlaut] or to the Nakh languages in the Eastern Caucasus, where the quality of non-initial vowels can now only be recovered on the basis of umlaut processes in the first syllable." (Starostin et al. 2003:91) The table below is taken from Starostin et al. (2003): Vowel harmony (also metaphony) is a type of long-distance assimilatory phonological process involving vowels. ... Geographical distribution of Samoyedic, Finnic, Ugric and Yukaghir languages  Yukaghir  Samoyedic  Ugric  Finnic The Uralic languages (pronounced: ) form a language family of about 30 languages spoken by approximately 20 million people. ... It has been suggested that Altaic hypothesis be merged into this article or section. ... In linguistics, umlaut (from German um- around/the other way + Laut sound) is a process whereby a vowel is pronounced more like a vowel or semivowel in a following syllable. ... The Nakh languages are a small family of languages spoken mostly in Russia (Chechnya and Ingushetia) and Georgia. ...

Proto-Altaic Proto-Turkic Proto-Mongolic Proto-Tungusic Middle Korean Proto-Japonic
first s. second s. first syllable
/a/ /a/ /a/, /a/¹, /ʌ/¹ /a/ /a/ /a/, /e/ /a/
/a/ /e/ /a/, /ɯ/ /a/, /i/ /a/ /a/, /e/ /ə/
/a/ /i/ /ɛ/, /a/ /a/, /e/ /a/ /a/, /e/, /i/ /i/
/a/ /o/ /o/, /ja/, /aj/ /a/, /i/, /e/ /a/ /ə/, /o/ /a/
/a/ /u/ /a/ /a/, /o/, /u/ /a/ /a/, /ə/, /o/, /u/ /u/
/e/ /a/ /a/, /ʌ/, /ɛ/ /a/, /e/ /e/ /a/, /e/ /a/
/e/ /e/ /ja/-, /ɛ/, /e/² /e/, /ja/ /e/ /a/, /e/, /i/, /ɨ/ /ə/
/e/ /i/ /ja/-, /ɛ/, /e/² /e/, /i/ /e/ /i/, /ɨ/, /a/, /e/ /i/
/e/ /o/ /ʌ/, /e/ /a/, /e/, /y/³, /ø/³ /e/ /ə/, /o/, /u/ /ə/, /a/
/e/ /u/ /ɛ/, /a/, /ʌ/ /e/, /a/, /o/³ /e/ /o/, /u/, /a/ /u/
/i/ /a/ /ɯ/, /i/ /i/ /i/ /a/, /e/ /a/
/i/ /e/ /ɛ/, /e/² /e/, /i/ /i/ /i/, /ɨ/ /i/
/i/ /i/ /i/ /i/, /e/¹ /i/ /i/ /i/
/i/ /o/ /ɯ/ /i/ /i/ /o/, /u/, /ɨ/ /i/, /ə/
/i/ /u/ /ɯ/, /i/ /i/ /i/ /i/, /ɨ/ /u/
/o/ /a/ /o/ /o/, /u/ /o/, /u/ /a/, /e/ /a/
/o/ /e/ /ø/, /o/ /ø/, /y/, /o/ /o/, /u/ /ɨ/, /o/, /u/ /ə/
/o/ /i/ /ø/, /o/ /ø/ /o/, /u/ /o/, /u/ /u/
/o/ /o/ /o/ /u/ /o/, /u/ /a/, /e/ /ə/
/o/ /u/ /o/ /o/, /u/ /o/, /u/ /ə/, /o/, /u/ /u/
/u/ /a/ /u/, /o/ /a/, /o/, /u/ /o/, /u/ /a/, /e/ /a/
/u/ /e/ /y/ /o/, /u/, /y/ /u/ /a/, /e/ /ua/, /a/¹
/u/ /i/ /y/, /u/ /y/, /ø/ /u/ /o/, /u/, /ɨ/ /u/
/u/ /o/ /u/ /o/, /u/ /o/, /u/ /o/, /u/, /ɨ/ /ə/
/u/ /u/ /u/ /o/, /u/ /o/, /u/ /o/, /u/ /u/
/æ/ /a/ /ia/, /ja/, /ɛ/ /a/ /ia/, /i/4 /ə/, /a/³ /a/
/æ/ /e/ /ia/, /ja/ /i/, /a/, /e/ /i/ /i/, /e/, /je/ /ə/
/æ/ /i/ /ia/, /ja/, /ɛ/ /i/, /e/ /ia/, /i/4 /ə/, /e/, /je/ /i/
/æ/ /o/ /ia/, /ja/, /a/¹ /e/ /o/, /u/ /ə/, /o/, /u/ /a/
/æ/ /u/ /e/, /a/, /ʌ/¹ /a/, /o/, /u/ /o/, /u/ /o/, /u/, /e/, /je/ /u/
/ø/ /a/ /ia/, /ja/, /a/¹ /a/, /o/, /u/ /o/, /u/ /o/, /u/, /ə/ /a/
/ø/ /e/ /e/, /a/, /ʌ/¹ /e/, /ø/ /o/, /u/ /o/, /u/, /je/ /ə/, /u/
/ø/ /i/ /ia/, /ja/, /a/¹ /i/, /e/, /ø/ /o/, /u/ /o/, /u/, /ə/ /i/
/ø/ /o/ /o/, /u/ /ø/, /y/, /o/, /u/ /i/ /i/, /e/, /je/ /ə/, /a/
/ø/ /u/ /u/, /o/ /e/, /i/, /u/ /ia/, /i/4 /ə/, /u/, /je/ /u/
/y/ /a/ /ɯ/ /o/, /u/, /i/ /o/, /u/ /a/, /e/ /a/
/y/ /e/ /y/, /ø/, /i/² /ø/, /y/, /o/, /u/ /y/, /u/¹ /a/, /e/, /ja/, /je/, /o/, /u/ /u/, /ə/
/y/ /i/ /y/, /ø/ /ø/, /y/, /o/, /u/ /i/, /u/¹ /ɨ/, /i/, /o/, /u/ /i/
/y/ /o/ /u/, /o/ /o/, /u/ /y/ /a/, /e/, /ja/, /je/, /o/, /u/ /u/, /ə/
/y/ /u/ /ɯ/ /i/, /o/, /u/, /y/, /ø/ /o/, /u/ /o/, /u/, /i/, /ɨ/ /u/
  • ¹ When preceded by a bilabial consonant.
  • ² When followed by a trill, /l/, or /lʲ/.
  • ³ When preceded or followed by a bilabial consonant.
  • 4 When preceded by a fricative (/s/, /ʃ/, /x/).

Prosody

Length and pitch in the first syllable evolved as follows according to Starostin et al. (2003), with the caveat that it is not clear which pitch was high and which was low in Proto-Altaic (Starostin et al. 2003:135). For simplicity of input and display every syllable is symbolized as "a" here:

Proto-Altaic Proto-Turkic Proto-Mongolic Proto-Tungusic Proto-Korean Proto-Japonic
á a a¹ a ಠá
à a a a á à
áː a¹ a ಠá
àː a a á à
  • ¹ "Proto-Mongolian has lost all traces of the original prosody except for voicing *p > *b in syllables with original high pitch" (Starostin et al. 2003:135).
  • ² "[…] several secondary metatonic processes happened […] in Korean, basically in the verb subsystem: all verbs have a strong tendency towards low pitch on the first syllable." (Starostin et al. 2003:135)

Morphological correspondences

Because grammar is less easily borrowed than words, grammar is usually considered stronger evidence for language relationships than vocabulary. Starostin et al. (2003) have reconstructed the following correspondences between the case and number suffixes (or clitics) of the (Macro-)Altaic languages (taken from Blažek, 2006): It has been suggested that Ending (linguistics) be merged into this article or section. ... In linguistics, a clitic is an element that has some of the properties of an independent word and some more typical of a bound morpheme. ...

Case
Proto-Altaic Proto-Turkic (*), Old Turkic Proto-Mongolic (*), Classical Mongolian Proto-Tungusic Proto-Korean (*), Middle Korean Proto-Japonic (*), Old Japanese
nominative: 0 0 0 0 0 0
accusative: /be/ /ba/, /be/ /wo/
partitive: /ga/ -/ʁ/, -/ɯʁ/, -/g/, -/ig/ *-/ʁ/ (accusative) /ga/ /ga/ (possessive)
genitive: -/nʲV/ -/ŋ/ *-/n/ -/ŋi/ -/nʲ/ /no/
dative-locative: /du/, /da/ -/ta/, -/da/, -/te/, -/de/ (locative-ablative) -/da/ (dative-locative), -/du/ (attributive) /du/ (dative), -/daː/- (locative) -/tu/ (attributive-locative)
dative-instrumental: -/nV/ -/n/, -/ɯn/, -/in/ (instrumental) /ni/ (dative-locative)
dative-directive: -/kʰV/ -/qa/, -/ke/ (dative) /kiː/ (directive)
comitative-locative: -/lV/ -/li/, -/lɯʁ/ /laː/ (locative), -/liː/ (prolative), -/luʁa/ (comitative) -/ro/ (instrumental-lative)
comitative-equative: -/t͡ʃʰa/ -/t͡ʃa/, -/t͡ʃe/ (equative) /t͡ʃa/ (ablative), /t͡ʃa/, /t͡ʃaʁa/ (terminative) /to/ (comitative)
allative: -/gV/ -/ʁaru/, -/gery/ (directive) *-/ʁa/, -/a/ /giː/ (allative) -/ei/
directive: -/rV/ -/ʁaru/, -/gery/ -/ru/ -/ro/ (lative)
instrumental-ablative: -/d͡ʒV/ *?-/ja/, -/a/ terminal dative /d͡ʒi/ /ju/ (ablative)
singulative: -/nV/ *-/n/ -/n/
Number
dual: -/rʲV/ *-/rʲ/ (plural for paired objects) -/r/ (plural) *-/rə/ (plural for paired objects)
plural: -/tʰ/- *-/t/ -/d/ -/ta/, -/te/, -/tan/, -/ten/ *-/tɨr/ *-/tati/
plural: -/s/- *-/s/ -/sal/
plural: -/l/- *-/lar/ *-/nar/ -/l/, -/sal/ *-/ra/

/V/ symbolizes an uncertain vowel. Suffixes reconstructed for Proto-Turkic, Proto-Mongolic, Proto-Korean, or Proto-Japonic, but not attested in Old Turkic, Classical Mongolian, Middle Korean, or Old Japanese are marked with asterisks. The nominative case is a grammatical case for a noun, which generally marks the subject of a verb, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments. ... The accusative case (abbreviated ACC) of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb. ... The basic meaning of the Partitive case is partialness, without result or without specifying identity. In the Finnish language, its used to express unknown identities and irresultative actions. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The dative case is a grammatical case generally used to indicate the noun to whom something is given. ... Locative is a case which indicates a location. ... In linguistics, the instrumental case (also called the eighth case) indicates that a noun is the instrument or means by which the subject achieves or accomplishes an action. ... The Comitative case is used where English would use in company with or together with. It, and many other cases, are found in the Finnish language, the Hungarian language, and the Estonian language. ... The prolative case is a declension of a noun or pronoun that has the basic meaning of by way of. The prolative is widely used in Estonian. ... Lative is a case which indicates motion to a location. ... Equative is a case with the meaning of comparison, or likening. ... In the Finnish language, the Allative case is the fifth of the locative cases, with the basic meaning of onto. Its ending is -lle, for example pöytä (table) and pöydälle (onto the top of the table). ... Look up Dual in Wiktionary, the free dictionary A dual is a pair or a grouping of two. ...


Selected cognates

Personal pronouns

Personal pronouns are thought by many[attribution needed] to be seldom borrowed between languages[citation needed]. Therefore the many correspondences between Altaic pronouns found by Starostin et al. (2003) could be rather strong evidence for the existence of Proto-Altaic. The table below is taken (with slight modifications) from Blažek (2006) and transcribed into IPA. Personal pronouns are pronouns often used as substitutes for proper or common nouns. ...

Proto-Altaic Proto-Turkic Proto-Mongolic (*), Classical Mongolian Proto-Tungusic Proto-Korean (*), Middle Korean Proto-Japonic
"I" (nominative) /bì/ /be/ */bi/ /bi/ /bà/
"me" (oblique cases) /mine/- /men/ */min/- /min/-
"I" /ŋa/ */nad/-, -/m/- (oblique) /nà/ /a/-
"thou" (nominative) /si/ and/or /tʰi/ /se/ */t͡ʃi/ /si/ /si/
"thee" (oblique cases) /sin/- and/or /tʰin/- /sen/  ?*/t͡ʃin/-
"thou" /ná/ -/ŋ/ */nè/ /ná/
"we" (nominative) /bà/ /bi-rʲ/ */ba/ /bue/ /ú-rí/ /bà/
"us" (oblique cases) /myn/- */man/- /myn/-
"ye" (nominative) /sV/ and/or /tʰV/ /s/ */ta/ /suː/
"you" (oblique) /sVn/- /sun/-

As above, forms not attested in Classical Mongolian or Middle Korean but reconstructed for their ancestors are marked with an asterisk, and /V/ represents an uncertain vowel. An oblique case (Latin: ) in linguistics is a noun case of analytic languages that is used generally when a noun is the predicate of a sentence or a preposition. ... For other uses, see Thou (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Thou (disambiguation). ...


Numerals and related words

In the Indo-European family, the numerals are remarkably stable. Therefore shared numerals are often considered good evidence for language relationships[citation needed]. The Altaic numerals are less stable than the Indo-European ones, but nevertheless Starostin et al. (2003) reconstruct them as follows: For other uses, see Indo-European. ... A numeral is a symbol or group of symbols that represents a number. ...

Proto-Altaic meaning Proto-Altaic Proto-Turkic Proto-Mongolic Proto-Tungusic Proto-Korean Proto-Japonic
1 /byri/ /bir/ /byri/ "all, each" /pìrɨ́/ "at first" /pitə/
single /nøŋe/ /jaŋɯrʲ/ /nige/ "1" /noŋ/~/non/ "be the first, begin" /nəmi/ "only"
front /emo/ /øm-gen/ "upper part of breast" /emy/- /emu/~/ume/ "1"
single, one of a pair /sǿna/ /sɯŋar/ "one of a pair" /son-du-/ "odd" ¹ /hə̀nàh/ "1" /sa/- "together, reciprocally"
2 /tybu/ ² /d͡ʒiw-rin/~/d͡ʒui-rin/ "2 (feminine)"³ /d͡ʒube/ /tuː/, /tuː-rh/4
pair, couple /pʰø̀kʰe/ /eki/ "2", /ekirʲ/ "twins"; ?/(j)ɛgir-mi/ "20" /(h)ekire/ "twins"
different, other /gojV/ /gojar/ "2" /goj/~/gia/ /kía/
pair, half /put͡ʃʰu/ /but͡ʃ-uk/ /pt͡ʃa-k/ /puta/- "2"
3 /ŋy/ /o-turʲ/ "30"5 /gu-rban/; /gu-t͡ʃin/ "30" 6 /mi/-7
(footnote 8) /ìlù/ /øløŋ/9 /ila-n/ "3" /ùrù-pu/ "bissextile (year or month)"
object consisting of 3 parts /séjra/ /sere-ʁe/ "trident, pitchfork" /seːi(h)/ "3" /sárápi/ "rake, pitchfork"
4 /toːjV/ /døː-rt/ /dø-rben/; /dø-rt͡ʃin/ "40"10 /dy-gin/ /də/-
5 /tʰu/ /ta-bun/; /ta-bin/ "50"11 /tu-nʲga/ /tà/- /i-tu-/12
6 /nʲu/ /d͡ʒi-rgu-/; /d͡ʒi-ran/ "60"13 /nʲu-ŋu-/ 14 /mu/-
7 /nadi/15 /jeti/ /dolu-ʁan/; /dala-n/ "70"15 /nada-n/ /nìr-(kúp)/ /nana/-
8 /d͡ʒa/ /d͡ʒa-pkun/ /jè-t-/ 16 /da/-
9 /kʰegVnV/ /xegyn/ /kəkənə/
10 /t͡ʃøbe/ or /tøbe/ /d͡ʒuba-n/ /təwə/17
many, a big number /d͡ʒøːrʲo/ /jyːrʲ/ "100" 18 /jér(h)/ "10" /də̀rə̀/- "10,000"
/pʰVbV/ /oː-n/ "10" /ha-rban/ "10", /ha-na/ "all" 19 -/pə/, -/pua/ "-00"20
20 /kʰyra/ /gɯrk/ or /kɯrk/ "40"21 /kori-n/ /xori-n/ /pata-ti/22
100 /nʲàmò/  ?/jom/ "big number, all" /d͡ʒaʁu-n/23 /nʲamaː/ /muàmuà/
1000 /t͡ʃỳmi/ /dymen/ or /tymen/ "10,000"24 /t͡ʃɨ̀mɨ̀n/ /ti/
  • ¹ Manchu /soni/ "single, odd".
  • ² Old Bulgarian /tvi-rem/ "second".
  • ³ Kitan has /t͡ʃur/ "2" (Blažek 2006).
  • 4 -/uː/- is probably a contraction of -/ubu/-.
  • 5 The /y/- of /yt͡ʃ/ "3" "may also reflect the same root, although the suffixation is not clear." (Starostin et al. 2003:223)
  • 6 Compare Silla /mir/ "3" (Blažek 2006).
  • 7 Compare Goguryeo /mir/ "3" (Blažek 2006).
  • 8 "third (or next after three = fourth)", "consisting of three objects"
  • 9 "song with three out of four verses rhyming (first, second and fourth)"
  • 10 Kitan has /dur/ "4" (Blažek 2006).
  • 11 Kitan has /tau/ "5" (Blažek 2006).
  • 12 "(the prefixed i- is somewhat unclear: it is also used as a separate word meaning ‘fifty’, but the historical root here is no doubt *tu-)" (Starostin et al. 2003:223). – Blažek (2006) also considers Goguryeo */ut͡s/ "5" (from */uti/) to be related.
  • 13 Kitan has /nir/ "6" (Blažek 2006).
  • 14 Middle Korean has /je-(sɨs)/ "6", which may fit here, but the required loss of initial /nʲ/- "is not quite regular" (Starostin et al. 2003:224).
  • 15 The Mongolian forms "may suggest an original proto-form" /lʲadi/ or /ladi/ "with dissimilation or metathesis in" Proto-Mongolic (Starostin et al. 2003:224). – Kitan has /dol/ "7".
  • 16 "Problematic" (Starostin et al. 2003:224).
  • 17 Compare Goguryeo /tok/ "10" (Blažek 2006).
  • 18 Manchu /d͡ʒiri/, /d͡ʒirun/ "a very big number".
  • 19 Orok /poːwo/ "a bundle of 10 squirrels", Nanai /poã/ "collection, gathering".
  • 20 "Hundred" in names of hundreds.
  • 21 Starostin et al. (2003) suspect this to be a reduplication: /kɯr-kɯr/ "20 + 20".
  • 22 /kata-ti/ would be expected; Starostin et al. (2003) think that this irregular change from /k/ to /p/ is due to influence from "2" /puta-tu/.
  • 23 From /nʲam-ŋu-/.
  • 24 Also see Tumen.

The Manchu language is a Tungusic language spoken by Manchus in Manchuria; it is the language of the Manchu, though now most Manchus speak Mandarin Chinese and there are fewer than 70 native speakers of Manchu out of a total of nearly 10 million ethnic Manchus. ... Bulgar (also Bolğar), also Proto-Bulgarian is the language of the Bulgars, now extinct, whose classification is unclear. ... The Khitan language is a now-extinct language once spoken by the Khitan people. ... Silla (also spelled Shilla, traditional dates 57 BCE - 935 CE) was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. ... The Goguryeo language was spoken in the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo (37 BC – AD 668), one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. ... Dissimilation, in the context of phonology, is a phenomenon whereby similar consonant sounds in a word have a tendency to become different over time, so as to ease pronunciation. ... Metathesis is a sound change that alters the order of phonemes in a word. ... The Nanai language is spoken by the Nanai people in Siberia, and to a much smaller extent in Chinas Heilongjiang province, where it is known as Hezhe. ... Tumen was the part of decimal system used by Turkic, Proto-Turkic (such as the Huns) and by Mongol peoples for their army. ...

Others

The following table is a brief selection of further proposed cognates in basic vocabulary across the Altaic family (from Starostin et al. [2003]). Look up cognate in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Proto-Altaic meaning Proto-Altaic Proto-Turkic Proto-Mongolic Proto-Tungusic Proto-Korean Proto-Japonic
breast /kòkʰè/ /køky-rʲ/1 /køkø-n/2 /kuku-n/2 /kokajŋi/ "pith; medulla; core" /kəkə-rə/1 "heart"
stone /tǿːlʲì/ /diaːlʲ/ /t͡ʃila-ʁu/ /d͡ʒola/ /toːrh/3 /(d)ísì/
neck /móːjno/ /boːjn/ /moŋa-n/ /mje-k/ /nəmpV/
star /pʰǿlʲo/ /jul-durʲ/ /ho-dun/ /pjɨːr/ /pə́sí/
eye /næ̀ː/ /ni-dy/ /nʲia-sa/4 /nú-n/ /mà/-
that /tʰa/ /di/- or /ti/- /te-re/ /ta/ /tjé/
  • 1 Contains the Proto-Altaic dual suffix -/rʲV/: "both breasts" – "chest" – "heart".
  • 2 Contains the Proto-Altaic singulative suffix -/nV/: "one breast".
  • 3 Compare Baekje */turak/ "stone" (Blažek 2006).
  • 4 This is disputed by Georg (2004), who states: "The traditional Tungusological reconstruction *yāsa [ = /jaːsa/] cannot be replaced by the nasal-initial one espoused here, needed for the comparison."[4]

Baekje (October 18 BC – August AD 660) was a kingdom in the southwest of the Korean Peninsula. ...

Literature

  • Blažek, V.: "Current Progress in Altaic Etymology", Linguistica Online 30 January 2006 (pdf)
  • Doerfer, G.: Grundwort und Sprachmischung: Eine Untersuchung an Hand von Körperteilbezeichnungen (Münchener Ostasiatische Studien 47), Franz-Steiner-Verlag, 1988
  • Miller, R.A.: Languages and history. Japanese, Korean and Altaic, Inst. for Comparative Research in Human C, 1996, [ISBN 974-8299-69-4].
  • Georg, S.: "Reply [to Starostin 2005]", Diachronica 22(2):455–457, 2005.
  • Kortlandt, F.: "The origin of the Japanese and Korean accent systems", Acta Linguistica Hafniensia 26 (1993): 57–65 (pdf)
  • Ruhlen, M.: A Guide to the World's Languages, Stanford University Press (1987).
  • Starostin, S.A., Dybo, A., Mudrak, O.: Etymological Dictionary of the Altaic Languages, Brill Academic Publishers, June 2003, [ISBN 90-04-13153-1].
  • Starostin, S.A.: "Response to Stefan Georg's review of the Etymological Dictionary of the Altaic Languages", Diachronica 22(2):451–454, 2005.
  • LINGUIST Mailing List, 18 Aug 1994, Reinhard F. Hahn

Merritt Ruhlen is a lecturer in Anthropological Sciences and Human Biology at Stanford, and a co-director of the Santa Fe Institute Program on the Evolution of Human Languages. ... Dr. Starostin on June 2, 2005 Dr. Sergei Anatolyevich Starostin, Cyrillic Серге́й Анато́льевич Ста́ростин, (March 24, 1953 – September 30, 2005[1]) was a Russian historical linguist and scholar, best known for his work with hypothetical proto-languages, especially the controversial theory of Altaic languages and the formulation of the Dene-Caucasian hypothesis that...

Further reading

  • Sinor, D. (1990). Essays in comparative Altaic linguistics. Bloomington, Ind: Indiana University, Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies. ISBN 0933070268
  • Poppe, N. N. (1965). Introduction to Altaic linguistics. Ural-altaische Bibliothek, 14. Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz.

References

  1. ^ a b Georg, S., Michalove, P.A., Manaster Ramer, A., Sidwell, P.J.: "Telling general linguists about Altaic", Journal of Linguistics 35 (1999): 65-98 Online abstract
  2. ^ Vovin, Alexander. (2005). "The End of the Altaic Controversy". Central Asiatic Journal 49.1: 71–132.
  3. ^ Whitney Coolidge, Jennifer "Southern Turkmenistan in the Neolithic: A Petrographic case study" (Oxbow Books)
  4. ^ Georg, S. (2004). [Review of Starostin et al. 2003]. Diachronica 21(2):445–450.

See also

Current distribution of Human Language Families Most languages are known to belong to language families (families hereforth). ... Altay is a language of the Turkic group of languages. ... The Nostratic languages are a proposed language superfamily to which some linguists believe a large number of language families from Europe, Asia, and Africa possibly belong. ...

External links

  • Starling Databases: Altaic etymology section
  • Monumenta Altaica - Altaic Linguistics
  • Language article from Encarta
  • Ethnologue

  Results from FactBites:
 
Altaic Languages - ninemsn Encarta (481 words)
Altaic Languages, family of 65 languages spoken by about 167 million people in around 23 different countries, in a vast area of Eurasia extending from Turkey in the west to the Sea of Okhotsk in the east.
Altaic languages are generally characterized by an agglutinative type of suffixation, and by vowel harmony (that is, only vowels of the same colouring can occur in the same word); the vowels of the suffixes are altered so that they agree with the colour of the root vowel.
Some scholars group the Altaic languages together with the Uralic languages in a larger Ural-Altaic grouping; recent researchers, however, increasingly believe that too little evidence exists to support such a grouping.
Altaic Language Family (218 words)
The Altaic language family derives its name from the Altai Mountain region from whence it is believed these languages had originated.
Speakers of Altaic languages stretch from northeastern Siberia to the Persian Gulf, and from the Baltic Sea to China, with the bulk clustering around central Asia.
The relationships among these languages remain a matter of debate among historical linguists, and the existence of the Altaic language family continues to be a matter of controversy.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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