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The Altaic non-Obstruents

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 December 2009

Extract

The Altaic nasals and liquids form a natural class which has been insufficiently treated as a coherent group. Moreover, doubt has been repeatedly cast on the notion of Altaic as a genetic unity. Arguments for genetic unity are frequently based on correspondences in phonetic shape of matching lexemes or formants. I have recently argued for correspondences in suffixation rules applying to a restricted syntactic-semantic class (the numerals). Apart from showing correspondences in the various components of the respective grammars, we may also strengthen the argument for genetic relation by showing a continuity in the nature of specific features. The present paper points to certain such continuities in the distinctive phonological features that, as I propose to show, must be assumed for the proto-language.

Type
Notes and Communications
Copyright
Copyright © School of Oriental and African Studies 1974

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References

1 It was on such correspondences of lexical bases (150 of them, pp. 54–79), of declension, comparison, diminutives, and numerals (pp. 84–92), of pronominal shapes (pp. 93–8) that Sajnovics based his renowned Demonstratio idioma Ungarorum el Lapponum idem esse (Tyrnavia, 1770)Google Scholar, even though he also admitted typological equations (e.g. postpositions and verb formation) and though he envisaged explicitly (p. 2) gradual phonetic divergence.

2 ‘On the Altaic numerals’, in Jakobson, R. and Kawamoto, S. (ed.), Studies in general and Oriental linguistics presented to Shirô Hattori, Tokyo, 1970, 188–97Google Scholar.

3 Poppe, N., Vergleichende Grammatik der altaischen Sprachen, I, Wiesbaden, 1960Google Scholar.

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