1887
Volume 36, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0176-4225
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9714
USD
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes

Abstract

Abstract

Historical linguists have been debating for decades about whether the classical comparative method provides sufficient evidence to consider Altaic languages as part of a single genetic unity, like Indo-European and Uralic, or whether the implicit statistical robustness behind regular sound correspondences is lacking in the case of Altaic. In this paper, I run a significance test on Swadesh-lists representing Turkish, Mongolian and Manchu to see if there are regular patterns of phonetic similarities or correspondences among word-initial phonemes in the basic vocabulary that cannot be expected to have arisen by chance. The methodology draws on Oswalt (1970)Ringe (1992)Baxter & Manaster Ramer (2000) and Kessler (20012007). The results only partially point towards an Altaic family: Mongolian and Manchu show significant sound correspondences, while Turkish and Mongolian show some marginally significant phonological similarity, that might however be the consequence of areal contact. Crucially, Turkish and Manchu do not test positively under any condition.1

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1075/dia.17007.ceo
2019-09-17
2019-12-12
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Barbançon, François , Steven N. Evans , Luay Nakhleh , Donald A. Ringe & Tandy Warnow
    2013 An experimental study comparing linguistic phylogenetic reconstruction methods. Diachronica30(2). 143–170. 10.1075/dia.30.2.01bar
    https://doi.org/10.1075/dia.30.2.01bar [Google Scholar]
  2. Baxter, William H.
    1998 Response to Oswalt and Ringe. In Joseph Salmons & Brian Joseph (eds.), Nostratic: Sifting the evidence, 217–236. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/cilt.142.12bax
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.142.12bax [Google Scholar]
  3. Baxter, William H. & Alexis Manaster Ramer
    2000 Beyond lumping and splitting: Probabilistic issues in historical linguistics. InColin Renfrew, April McMahon & Larry Trask (eds.), Time depth in historical linguistics167–188. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Bomhard, Allan R.
    1996Indo-European and the Nostratic hypothesis. Charleston: Signum Desktop Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. 2008Reconstructing Proto-Nostratic: Comparative phonology, morphology and vocabulary. Leiden: Brill.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. 2011The Nostratic hypothesis in 2011: Trends and issues. Washington DC: Institute for the Study of Man.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Comrie, Bernard
    1981The languages of the Soviet Union. Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. 1998 Regular sound correspondences and long-distance genetic comparison. In Joseph Salmons & Brian Joseph (eds.), Nostratic: Sifting the evidence, 271–276. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/cilt.142.16com
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.142.16com [Google Scholar]
  9. Doerfer, Gerhard
    1973Lautgesetz und Zufall: Betrachtungen zum Omnicomparatismus. Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Dolgopolsky, Aaron B.
    1986 A probabilistic hypothesis concerning the oldest relationships among the language families in Northern Eurasia. In Vitalij V. Shevoroshkin & Thomas L. Markey (eds.), Typology, relationship and time, 27–50. Ann Arbor: Karoma.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Dybo, Anna & George Starostin
    2008 In defence of the comparative method, or the end of the Vovin controversy. Papers of the Institute of Oriental and Classical Studies19.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Georg, Stefan
    1999 Haupt und Glieder der Altaischen Hypothese: die Körperteilbezeichnungen im Türkischen, Mongolischen und Tungusischen. Ural-Altaische Jahrbücher16. 143–182.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. 2008 Review article of Martine Robbeets, 2005, Is Japanese related to Korean, Tungusic, Mongolic and Turkic?Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung32. 247–278.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Greenberg, Joseph H.
    1957Essays in linguistics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Hangin, John G. , John R. Krueger & Robert G. Service
    1986A modern Mongolian-English dictionary. Indiana University, Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Hock, Hans Henrich & Brian D. Joseph
    1996Language change, and language relationship. An introduction to historical and comparative linguistics. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Illič-Svityč, Vladislav Markovič
    1971Opyt sravnenija nostratičeskych jazykov. Moscow: Nauka.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Kassian, Alexei , Mikhail Zhivlov & George Starostin
    2015 Proto-Indo-European-Uralic comparison from the probabilistic point of view. The Journal of Indo-European Studies43(3–4). 301–347.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Kessler, Brett
    2001The significance of word lists. Stanford, California: Center for the Study of Language and Information.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. 2007 Word similarity metrics and multilateral comparison. InProceedings of Ninth Meeting of the ACL Special Interest Group in Computational Morphology and Phonology, 6–14. Association for Computational Linguistics. 10.3115/1626516.1626518
    https://doi.org/10.3115/1626516.1626518 [Google Scholar]
  21. 2015 Response to Kassian et al., 2015, Proto-Indo-European-Uralic comparison from the probabilistic point of view. Journal of Indo-European Studies43(3–4). 357–367.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Kessler, Brett & Annukka Lehtonen
    2006 Multilateral comparison and significance testing of the Indo-Uralic question. In Peter Forster & Colin Renfrew (eds.), Phylogenetic methods and the prehistory of languages, 33–42. Cambridge, England: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Li, Gertraude Roth
    2000Manchu: A textbook for reading documents. Manoa: University of Hawaii Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Ligeti, Lajos
    1960 Les anciens éléments mongols dans le mandchou. Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae10(3). 231–248.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Longobardi, Giuseppe , Cristina Guardiano , Giuseppina Silvestri , Alessio Boattini & Andrea Ceolin
    2013 Toward a syntactic phylogeny of modern Indo-European languages. Journal of Historical Linguistics3(1). 122–152. 10.1075/jhl.3.1.07lon
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jhl.3.1.07lon [Google Scholar]
  26. Longobardi, Giuseppe , Andrea Ceolin , Luca Bortolussi , Cristina Guardiano , Monica Alexandrina Irimia , Dimitris Michelioudakis , Nina Radkevich & Andrea Sgarro
    2016 Mathematical modeling of grammatical diversity supports the historical reality of formal syntax. InProceedings of the Leiden Workshop on Capturing Phylogenetic Algorithms for Linguistics, Universitätsbibliothek Tübingen.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Manaster Ramer, Alexis & Paul Sidwell
    1997 The truth about Strahlenberg’s classification of the languages of Northeastern Eurasia. Journal de la Société Finno-Ougrienne87. 139–160.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Menges, Karl Heinrich
    1975Altajische Studien: II. Japanisch und Altajisch, vol.41, 3. Steiner Franz Verlag.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Miller, Roy Andrew
    1971Japanese and the other Altaic languages. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. 1996Languages and History: Japanese, Korean, and Altaic. Bangkok: White Orchid Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Nichols, Johanna
    1996 The Comparative Method as Heuristic. In Mark Durie & Malcolm Ross (eds.), The comparative method reviewed: Regularity and irregularity in language change, 39–71. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Norman, Jerry
    1978A concise Manchu-English lexicon. University of Washington.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Oswalt, Robert L.
    1970 The detection of remote linguistic relationships. Computer Studies in the Humanities and Verbal Behavior3(3). 117–129.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. 1998 A probabilistic evaluation of North Eurasiatic Nostratic. In Joseph Salmons & Brian Joseph (eds.), Nostratic: Sifting the evidence, 199–216. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/cilt.142.11osw
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.142.11osw [Google Scholar]
  35. Poppe, Nicholas
    1960Vergleichende Grammatik Der Altaischen Sprachen; Teil 1: Vergleichende Lautlehre. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. 1965Introduction to Altaic Linguistics. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Ramstedt, Gustav John
    1957Introduction to Altaic linguistics. Moscow: Publishing House of Foreign. lit.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Redhouse, James
    1968New Redhouse Turkish-English Dictionary. Publications Department of the American Board.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Ringe, Donald A.
    1992 On calculating the factor of chance in language comparison. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society82(1). 1–110. 10.2307/1006563
    https://doi.org/10.2307/1006563 [Google Scholar]
  40. 1998 Probabilistic evidence for Indo-Uralic. In Joseph Salmons & Brian Joseph (eds.), Nostratic: Sifting the evidence, 153–197. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/cilt.142.10rin
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.142.10rin [Google Scholar]
  41. 2015 Response to Kassian et al., 2015, Proto-Indo-European-Uralic comparison from the probabilistic point of view. Journal of Indo-European Studies43(3–4). 348–356.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Robbeets, Martine
    2005Is Japanese related to Korean, Tungusic, Mongolic and Turkic?, vol.64. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. 2015Diachrony of verb morphology: Japanese and the Transeurasian languages, vol.291. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. 10.1515/9783110399943
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110399943 [Google Scholar]
  44. Ross, Alan S. C.
    1950 Philological probability problems. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series B (Methodological)19–59. 10.1111/j.2517‑6161.1950.tb00040.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2517-6161.1950.tb00040.x [Google Scholar]
  45. Rozycki, William
    1994Mongol elements in Manchu, vol.157. Indiana University Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Salmons, Joseph & Brian Joseph
    1998Nostratic: Sifting the evidence, vol.142. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/cilt.142
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.142 [Google Scholar]
  47. Sinor, Denis
    1988The Uralic languages. Description, history and foreign influences. Leiden: Brill.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Starostin, Sergei
    1991 On the hypothesis of a genetic connection between the Sino-Tibetan languages and the Yeniseian and North Caucasian languages. In Vitalij V. Shevoroshkin (ed.), Dene-Sino-Caucasian languages, 12–41. Ann Arbor: Brockmeyer.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Starostin, Sergei , Anna Dybo , Oleg Mudrak & Ilya Gruntov
    2003Etymological dictionary of the Altaic languages. Leiden: Brill.
    [Google Scholar]
  50. Swadesh, Morris
    1955 Towards greater accuracy in lexicostatistic dating. International Journal of American Linguistics21(2). 121–137. 10.1086/464321
    https://doi.org/10.1086/464321 [Google Scholar]
  51. 1971The origin and diversification of language. Piscataway, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Unger, Marshall J.
    1990 Summary report of the Altaic panel. Trends in Linguistics, Studies and Monographs45. 479–482.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Villemin, François
    1983 Un essai de détection des origines du japonais à partir de deux méthodes statistiques. In Barron Brainerd (ed). Historical linguistics, 116–135. Bochum: Brockmeyer.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Vovin, Alexander
    2005 The end of the Altaic controversy. In memory of Gerhard Doerfer. Central Asiatic Journal49(1). 71–132.
    [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1075/dia.17007.ceo
Loading
/content/journals/10.1075/dia.17007.ceo
Loading

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error