Ural-Altaic languages

From Academic Kids

The Ural-Altaic language family is a grouping of languages which was once widely accepted by linguists, but has since been generally rejected. It comprised the Altaic languages (Turkish, Mongolian, Kazakh, Uzbek, Tatar, Manchu, etc., plus perhaps Korean and Japanese) and the Uralic languages (Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, etc.).

The theory of a Uralo-Altaic group has now been almost universally rejected by historical linguists as a mistake. Even the existence of the Altaic language family has become controversial (see Altaic languages), although Uralic is widely accepted. Most modern linguists argue either that these two families (or more than two, if Altaic is rejected) are unrelated, ascribing any similarities to coincidence or mutual influence resulting in "convergence". Other critics see this as problematic, pointing to strong similarities in their pronouns and other elements - although pronoun borrowing, while rare, is attested. They suggest that they 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 to this macrofamily's other members (a claim seen as unprovable, or at least unproved, by critics.)

Both groups follow the principle of vowel harmony, are agglutinative (stringing suffixes, prefixes or both onto a single root) and lack grammatical gender (see noun class). However, these typological similarities do not, on their own, constitute evidence of genetic relationship.

This proposed language family has also sometimes been termed Turanian. The term derives from the Persian word for places beyond the Oxus, Turān.

External links

he:שפות טוראניות

pl:Języki uralo-ałtajskie zh:乌拉尔-阿尔泰语系

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