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Telling general linguists about Altaic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 1999

STEFAN GEORG
Affiliation:
University of Bonn
PETER A. MICHALOVE
Affiliation:
University of Illinois
ALEXIS MANASTER RAMER
Affiliation:
Wayne State University
PAUL J. SIDWELL
Affiliation:
University of Melbourne

Abstract

The hypothesis of an Altaic language family, comprising the Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic, Korean and, in most recent versions, Japanese languages continues to be a viable linguistic proposal, despite various published claims that it is no longer accepted. A strong body of research continues to appear, developing and refining the hypothesis, along with publications that argue against a demonstrated relationship among these languages. This paper shows that many of the arguments against a genetic relationship fail to address the criteria demanded in modern historical linguistics, while many of the responses from proponents of the Altaic theory have failed to address the criticisms raised. We hope that arguments focusing on the real issues of phonological correspondences and morphological systems will shed greater light on the relationship among these languages.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
1999 Cambridge University Press

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