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The Altaic Hypothesis

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Chapter Summary

Altaic Hypothesis (AH) is a by-product of comparative research in the field of Uralic and Altaic linguistics. A. M. Castrn, the Finnish scholar mentioned as a Tungusologist and general linguist, was the first to use scientific criteria to classify languages. He was the first to use the term Altaic for the Uralic and Altaic groups. Ramstedts theory was that the three groups of languages (Turkic, Mongolian and Manchu-Tungus) stemmed from a common parent. Kotwicz, while agreeing with Ramstedt that the three language groups are indeed related, saw this connection as being due to the mutual influence of one group over the other, i.e. Turkic upon Mongolian, and Mongolian upon Tungus, with Korean possibly being involved too. As B. Kempf rightly says in his review of An Etymological Dictionary of the Altaic Languages by S. Starostin et al, the problem is not solved, so the discussion is not finished.

Keywords: A. M. Castrén; Altaic Hypothesis; Finnish; Korean; Kotwicz; Manchu-Tungus; Mongolian; Ramstedt; Turkic; Uralic



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