Ural-Altaic languages

The Ural-Altaic language family (also known as Uralo-Altaic) is an hypothetical grouping of the Uralic and Altaic languages into one field. The word Turanian has also been used to describe the Ural-Altaic field and its people. The term is from the Transoxiana, Turān.

The Ural-Altaic grouping is speculative, as it has not been proven to the satisfaction of most linguists that there is any genetic relationship between the two language families, and even the existence of the Altaic group as one family is today questioned. This could be for lack of analytic opportunity, however. On the other hand, particularly the southern and central Uralic languages have been in extensive contact with Turkic languages, which introduces a risk of interpreting exchange arising from contact as a genetic relationship.

Controversy

Most modern linguists argue that Uralic and Altaic have not been shown to bear any exclusive genetic relation (if the latter, as understood today, should itself be considered a language family at all), ascribing proposed similarities to coincidence or mutual influence resulting in "convergence". Some suggest the two families may instead be related through a larger family, either Nostratic or Eurasiatic, within which Uralic and Altaic are no more closely related to each other than either of them is related to any of this macrofamily's other members, e.g. Uralic with Indo-European or Altaic with Indo-European.

Others point out strong similarities in the pronouns of Uralic and Altaic languages. Other observations are that both Uralic and Altaic languages follow the principle of vowel harmony, are agglutinative (stringing suffixes, prefixes or both onto a single root), employ SOV word order, and lack grammatical gender (see noun class). However, typological similarities such as these do not, on their own, constitute evidence of a genetic relationship, as they may be a result of regional influence or coincidence.

The vowel harmony argument is sometimes used to justify the necessity of the Ural-Altaic family, but vowel harmony is found in other, unrelated language groups. Moreover, vowel harmony is a typological feature, and as such does not serve as evidence for genetic relationship.

There are also political motivations that have been unscientifically used to support or oppose this hypothesis. The Swedes had a political motivation to present the Sami as "Asian", or an "inferior race". A linguistic connection was integral in demonstrating an Asian ancestry. Particularly important proponents of the politically motivated idea of "Finnic race" were Herman Lundborg and Gustav von Düben. Their work was based on craniometry: by finding "childlike" or neotenous features in the skulls of Uralic-speaking peoples, they reached the conclusion that Uralic speakers are racially Mongolian, and recommended policies of colonization, eugenics and racial hygiene. [1] This was supported by the Swedish government: the government funded the Institute of Race Biology, where Lundborg produced his research. The Ural-Altaic theory was the consensus in the 19th century but is no longer widely accepted. Though the direction of language and population spread do not necessarily correlate to each other DNA studies have shown that despite the geographic isolation of the Finnish and Sami peoples they are unambiguously related to other Europeans. the existence of a Ural-Altaic stock cannot be expressed genetically but rather by non-genetic social factors, the field of genetic science is often confused with the topic of language origins for the purpose of creating sensationalistic rhetoric for both sides of the debate and often to support racial propaganda.

Languages

The Uralic languages family tree has three main groups, Finno-Permic, Ugric, and Samoyedic languages, and a relationship to Yukaghir languages has been proposed. The language families classed as Altaic always include the Turkic languages, Mongolic languages, and Tungusic languages. Some have proposed, largely on the basis of certain typological similarities, that Korean and the Japonic languages might be highly divergent Altaic languages, but this hypothesis is even more controversial than the more limited one that would group only the Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic languages together.

Further reading

  • Vago, R. M. (1972). Abstract vowel harmony systems in Uralic and Altaic languages. [Bloomington]: Indiana University Linguistics Club.
  • Shirokogoroff, S. M. (1931). Ethnological and linguistical aspects of the Ural-Altaic hypothesis. Peiping, China: The Commercial Press.

See also

References

1. ^ Niclas Wahlgren. Något om rastänkandet i Sverige. [1]
A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language. As with biological families, the evidence of relationship is observable shared characteristics.
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A hypothesis (from Greek ὑπόθεσις) consists either of a suggested explanation for a phenomenon or of a reasoned proposal suggesting a possible correlation between multiple phenomena.
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Uralic languages (pronounced: /jʊˈɹælɪk/) constitute a language family of about 30 languages spoken by approximately 20 million people.
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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.[1]
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The Ural-Altaic language family (also known as Uralo-Altaic) is an hypothetical grouping of the Uralic and Altaic languages into one field. The word Turanian has also been used to describe the Ural-Altaic field and its people.
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Transoxiana (sometimes spelled Transoxania) / Ma Wara'un-Nahr (Arabic: ما وراء النهر) / Farārood
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Tūrān (Persian: توران) is the ancient Iranian name[1] for Central Asia, literally meaning "the land of the Tur".
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Nostratic languages constitute a proposed language family that is at present extremely controversial among historical linguists. According to its proponents, Nostratic includes a high proportion of the language families of Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America.
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Eurasiatic is a hypothetical macro-family proposed by the late Joseph Greenberg that groups together several language families of Europe, Asia, and North America.

The branches of Eurasiatic

As laid out by Greenberg (2000:279-81), the branches of Eurasiatic are:

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Vowel harmony is a type of long-distance assimilatory phonological process involving vowels in some languages. In languages with vowel harmony, there are constraints on what vowels may be found near each other.
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agglutination is the morphological process of adding affixes to the base of a word. Languages that use agglutination widely are called agglutinative languages. These languages are often contrasted with fusional languages and isolating languages.
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In linguistic typology, Subject Object Verb (SOV) is the type of languages in which the subject, object, and verb of a sentence appear or usually appear in that order. If English were SOV, then "Sam oranges ate" would be an ordinary sentence.
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In linguistics, the term noun class refers to a system of categorizing nouns. A noun may belong to a given class because of characteristic features of its referent, such as sex, animacy, shape, but counting a given noun among nouns of such or another class is often clearly
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In linguistics, genetic relationship is the usual term for the relationship which exists between languages that are members of the same language family.

Two languages are considered to be genetically related if one is descended from the other or if both are descended from a
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A sprachbund (pronounced /ˈʃpraːxˌbʊnt/ plural sprachbünde /ˈʃpraːxˌbʏndə
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Linguistic Typology is an international peer-reviewed journal in the field of linguistic typology, founded in 1997. It is published by Mouton de Gruyter on behalf of the Association for Linguistic Typology. Its editor-in-chief is Prof. Frans Plank (University of Konstanz).
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In linguistics, genetic relationship is the usual term for the relationship which exists between languages that are members of the same language family.

Two languages are considered to be genetically related if one is descended from the other or if both are descended from a
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Herman Lundborg was a Swedish eugenicist and partially responsible for Sweden's eugenics program.
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Craniometry is the technique of measuring the bones of the skull. It is distinct from phrenology, the study of personality and character, and physiognomy, the study of facial features. However, these fields have all claimed the ability to predict traits or intelligence.
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Neoteny (niː.ɒ.tə.niː) is the retention, by adults in a species, of traits previously seen only in juveniles (pedomorphosis/paedomorphosis), and is a subject studied in the field of developmental biology.
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Uralic languages (pronounced: /jʊˈɹælɪk/) constitute a language family of about 30 languages spoken by approximately 20 million people.
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The Finno-Permic languages form one of the main branches of the Uralic languages.

The Uralic languages family tree has three main groups, Finno-Permic, Ugric, and Samoyedic languages.
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Ugric or Ugrian languages IPA: /ˈjuːɡrɨk, ˈjuːɡriən/ are generally held to be a branch of Finno-Ugric languages. The term derives from Yugra.
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Samoyedic languages are spoken on both sides of the Ural mountains, in northernmost Eurasia, by perhaps 30,000 speakers altogether.

The Samoyedic languages derive from a common ancestral language called Proto-Samoyedic, and together with the Finno-Ugric languages the
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Yukaghir languages (also Yukagir, Jukagir) are a family of related languages spoken in the Russian Far East by the Yukaghir, an indigenous people in Eastern Siberia, living in the basin of the Kolyma River.
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Komi}}}
Language codes
ISO 639-1: kv
ISO 639-2: kom
ISO 639-3: either:
koi  — Komi-Permyak
kpv  — Komi-Zyrian The Komi language, also known as Zyrian, or Komi-Zyrian
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Komi}}}
Language codes
ISO 639-1: kv
ISO 639-2: kom
ISO 639-3: koi Komi-Permyak (Коми-Пермяцкӧй
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Udmurt}}} 
Official status
Official language of: Udmurtia
Regulated by: no official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-1: none
ISO 639-2: fiu
ISO 639-3: udm Udmurt
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Mari language (Mari: марий йылме, Russian: марийский язык
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Erzya language (Эрзянь Кель (Erzjanj Kelj)) is spoken by about 500,000 people in the northern and eastern and north-western parts of the Republic of Mordovia and adjacent regions of Nizhniy Novgorod, Chuvashia,
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