1887
image of On the dating of sound changes and its implications for language relationship

Abstract

Abstract

This article seeks to demonstrate how the synopsis of historiographical and lexicographical material allows for the absolute dating of sound changes even in languages with late and imperfect documentation, and how this dating relates to hypotheses concerning the long-range genealogical affiliation of these languages. The languages investigated are Ket and Yugh which belong to the Yeniseian family and have been documented since the 18th century. Two sound changes in these languages will be discussed: Proto-Yeniseian *p- > Ket -, and Proto-Yeniseian *p- > Yugh -. It will be argued that the Ket development occurred between 1596/1607 and 1723 AD, and that the Yugh development occurred between 1739 and 1846/1847 AD. The implications of these findings for the Dene-Yeniseian hypothesis linking the Yeniseian family with the Na-Dene family will be discussed. It will be argued that this hypothesis cannot be maintained, and that short-range comparisons are preferable to long-range speculations.

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2024-05-30
2024-06-19
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