Altaic languages

The Altaic languages ​​, also called Altai languages ​​are a hypothetical language family of about 60 spread in Eurasia languages ​​with around 160 million speakers ( approximately 185 million including second speakers ). The name goes back to the Central Asian Altai Mountains, which was previously thought as the original home of these languages.

The Altaic language family consists, according to its supporters from at least three subdivided language families, the Turkic, Mongolian and Tungusic languages ​​the. These three language families own typological, phonetic, morphological and lexical similarities that by some scholars as evidence of their genetic unit and thus traceable to a common ancestor language ( proto-language ) are considered. Still other researchers see these similarities merely as a result of phonetic, lexical and structural borrowings, which are caused by long-term areal contacts between these language groups.

A majority of the active proponents of Altaic hypothesis expects the Korean and Japanese to Altaic. This extended version of the Altaic called macro - Altaic. The earlier idea of ​​a special Ural- Altaic language family is now considered obsolete, but are discussed hypotheses of relatedness of the Altaic languages ​​with several other northern Eurasian language families - including the Uralic languages ​​- and some isolated languages. (See the article table and Eurasia Nostra table. )

  • 5.1 Strahlenberg, Rask and Schott
  • 5.2 The object of the genetic unity of the Altaic
  • 5.3 Extension to the macro -Altaic: Ramstedt, Poppe, inter alia,
  • 5.4 The Altaic within the Nostra tables and Eurasian
  • 6.1 Altaic word equations
  • 6.2 Macro - Altaic word equations
  • 6.3 parallels the nominal morphology
  • 6.4 Personal pronouns
  • 6.5 Reconstructed phonology
  • 6.6 Altaic sound laws
  • 6.7 sound correspondences
  • 6.8 Conclusion

The Altaic languages ​​and their dissemination

The group of the Altaic languages ​​(in the narrow sense) - a total of about 60 languages ​​with 160 million speakers - consists of three clearly defined language families of very different sizes:

  • Turkic languages ​​41 languages ​​, 155 million speakers
  • Mongolian languages ​​14 languages ​​, 7.5 million speakers
  • Tungusic languages ​​12 languages ​​, 75,000 speakers

The Turkic languages ​​are used in a wide - spoken strip that extends from Southeast Europe via Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, the Central Asian states, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and western China to Siberia - partially interrupted by other language groups. The Mongolian languages ​​are mainly in the east adjacent area - in Russian Buryatia, Mongolia and China's Inner Mongolia - spread the Tungusic closes in scattered small groups to the northeast in northern China and eastern Siberia to.

The Turkic and Mongolian languages ​​are each families of closely related languages ​​, so that a single structure is difficult. The Tungusic has a greater range of variation without the genetic unity would be doubtful. Is much more problematic - is described in detail as follows - the question of the genetic unity of the three groups as Altaic language family.

The largest Altaic languages

The main Turkic languages ​​are

  • Turkish, with 70 million speakers, by far the most speaker- Altaic language
  • Azerbaijani or Azeri, 30 million
  • Uzbek, 24 million
  • Kazakh, 11 million
  • Uighur, 8 million
  • Turkmen, 6.8 million
  • Kyrgyz, 3.7 million
  • Tatar, 1.6 million
  • Kaschkai, 1.5 million

In addition to the Tatar, Uygur and Kaschkai are the languages ​​mentioned the national languages ​​of their respective states, which developed up to Turkey after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The only Mongolian language with more than one million speakers

  • Mongolian ( Khalkha ) with 6 million speakers,

The same is the national language of Mongolia and - which already accounts for 80 % of all Mongolian languages ​​- by number of speakers. Larger Mongolian languages ​​are still the Buryat ( 400,000), Oiratische ( 350,000 ) and the Santa ( 250,000 ). ( See Article Mongolian languages. )

The Tungusic family only has "small" languages ​​that are almost all endangered. Earlier today nearly extinct Manchu had a wide distribution in Northeast China - Manchuria. After the conquest of China in the 17th century by the Manchus, who emerged from the ever forming a dynasty Jurchen ( Jin Dynasty ), whose language was indeed next to the Chinese official state language of imperial China. However, they lost despite their high position at the court before the Revolution of 1911 more and more prestige, number of speakers and geographic distribution. ( See also: Tungusic languages. )

Typological features of Altaic languages

In terms of typology, the three main groups of Altaic languages ​​( Korean, Japanese and Ainu are not to be considered here ) highly similar. Some important characteristics are:

  • Simple Phoneminventare, simple syllable structure ( mostly CT), hardly consonant cluster.
  • Vowel harmony, which may be based on different vowel oppositions: front-back, rounded - unrounded, high-low. Examples from Turkish: ( 1) elma.lar " apples ", but ders.ler "lessons"
  • ( 2) "in house", but orman.da " in the forest "
  • ( 3) işçi.lik " craftsmanship "
  • ( 4) pazar.lık " business acumen "
  • ( 5) çoğun.luk "majority "
  • (6 ) ölümsüz.lük " immortality "
  • The vocal harmony is preserved in almost all Altaic languages ​​, although sometimes only in the spoken varieties, while they are no longer in the typeface is clear (eg, in Uzbek ).
  • A continuous agglutinative word formation and inflection, and indeed almost exclusively by suffixes. This can - as shown by the following self-explanatory example from Kazakhstan - to very long and complex formation of lead (but are normally rarely more than three or four suffixes ). Each morpheme has a specific meaning and grammatical function and - apart from the requirements of vowel harmony - steady. An example from the Kazakh ( a Turkic language ): jaz write
  • Jaz.u writing
  • Jaz.u.šı the writer
  • Jaz.u.šı.lar the writers
  • Jaz.u.šı.lar.ım my recorder
  • Jaz.u.šı.lar.ım.ız our writers
  • Jaz.u.šı.lar.ım.ız.da belonging to our writers
  • Jaz.u.šı.lar.ım.ız.da.γı which belongs to our writers
  • Jaz.u.šı.lar.ım.ız.da.γı.lar belonging to our writers ( things )
  • Jaz.u.šı.lar.ım.ız.da.γı.lar.dan of belonging to our writers ( things)
  • The agglutinative inflection of nouns and especially the verbs is very complex, but also very regularly. Adjectives are, however, hardly bent, they also show no congruence with its intended word, which they precede. ( Quantifiers are usually adjusted. )
  • There are no items. Replace the indefinite article is often the numeral "one".
  • There is no grammatical gender, even for 'he' and 'she' ( ) there is no different pronouns.
  • Post positions are compared with prepositions preferred.
  • Relative clauses are replaced by participial and Gerundivkonstruktionen (see in the above example, the application of the suffix -? I ).
  • The verb is at the end of a sentence, the normal sentence order is SOV ( subject-object - verb).
  • In the parts of speech are essentially only two groups, namely ( nouns and verbs), distinguished. Within these groups there is variability ( For example, the Mongolian word dundaa both as a noun ( "middle" ), as well as an adjective ( "central" ), adverb or postposition ( "in the middle of ... " function ). )
  • The Altaic languages ​​- in the narrow sense - different from other East Asian languages ​​by two essential properties: there are no special honorifizierenden forms and no significant expression of a specific women's language (such as the Japanese, see the article Japanese polite language and gender differences in spoken Japanese).

Other features and examples can be found in the descriptions of the individual language families. This typological similarities are not enough to justify the genetic unity of the Altaic languages ​​by now a general view among experts. Specific women's language and honorifics such as the Korean and Japanese are also in other languages ​​(such as Thai and Indonesian) to find much of hierarchical and traditional embossed sedentary societies, that is a cultural phenomenon and not a sign of linguistic kinship. In addition, same typological features found in the Uralic and various Paleo-Siberian languages.

The structure of the Altaic language family

According to current research results are obtained for the three language families that constitute the group of Altaic languages ​​, the following classifications ( for numbers of speakers, dialects and other details, see the below web link for classification ):

The Turkic languages

  • Turkic languages Oghur ( Bolgarisch ) Bolgarisch †, Chuvash, Chasarisch †, † Hunnish
  • Kipchak ( Northwest Central Group) Crimean Tatar, Kumyk, Karachay- Balkar, Karaim
  • Tatar, Bashkir, Kumanisch †
  • Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Karakalpakisch, Nogai
  • Turkish, Azerbaijani, Gagauz
  • Turkmen, Khorasan - Turkish
  • Kaschkai, Aynallu, Sonkor; Afsharisch
  • Salarisch
  • Tschagataisch †
  • † Old Turkish, Uzbek, Uighur
  • Yugur ( Sary- Uigur ), Ainu ( Aynu ), Ili Turkish
  • Yakut, Dolganisch
  • Circassian, Tuvan, Tofalarisch, Altai, Tschulymisch
  • Khalaj

The Mongolian languages

  • Mongolian Northeast Mongolian Daur ( Dagur )
  • Khitan †
  • Buryat, Chamnigan
  • Mongolian, Ordos
  • Oiratisch, Kalmyk
  • Shira Yughur
  • Mongghul ( Huzhu Mongghul )
  • Mangghuer ( Minhe Mangghuer )
  • Bonan ( Baoan, Paoan, Paongan )
  • Santa ( Dongxiang, Tung Cheung Tung )
  • Mogholi ( Moghol )

The Tungusic languages

  • Tungusisch Northern Tungusic Ewenisch ( Lamut )
  • Evenki - Solon, Orotschonisch
  • Negidalisch
  • Nanai (Gold, Hezhe ) Ultscha, Orok ( Ulta )
  • Udihe, Orotsch

Korean and Japanese Ryukyu

Since the Korean and the Japanese are expected by some researchers to Altaic, here is the structure of the small language family Japanese Ryukyu ( 126 million speakers). The Korean is a single language with 78 million speakers, without further relatives.

Since Riley in 2003 proved the genetic relationship between the Korean Goguryeo and Altjapanisch, it must be assumed that Korean and Japanese are related to each other - but with unknown temporal depth of the common proto-language and for unexplained relationship with the actual Altaic languages.

  • Korean Korean ( dialects: Hamgyeong, Pyeongan, Central, Chungcheong, Gyeongsang, Jeolla, Jeju ) with the precursors of today's Korean lyrically occupied in traditional Korean Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla and the Middle Korean.
  • Japanese Ryukyu Japanese Japanese
  • Okinawa - Amami Amami ( dialects: Amami Oshima -, Kikai, Toku -no- shima )
  • Okinawa ( dialects: Shuri, Motobu, Oki -no- Erabu, Yoron )
  • Miyako- Yaeyama
  • Yonaguni

Some researchers assume a single language Japanese; the Ryukyu languages ​​then only represent aberrant dialects of Japanese dar.

The history of the classification of the Altaic languages

The classification of the Altaic languages ​​has a long and varied history. The amazing thing is that the 19th century a rather broad approach taken - many language groups were assigned to the Altaic - while noticeably narrowed in the 20th century this approach, and then with the Eurasian macro Families ( Nostra table, Eurasia table and macro - Altaic ) to fall into the other extreme again. For the sub-groupings of the historical classification approaches sake of easier comparability uses the modern terms. The short- term Turkic thinks the whole section, the family of languages ​​of all Turkic languages ​​.

Strahlenberg, Rask and Schott

After some published grammars Altaic languages ​​in the 17th century, put Philip Johan von Strahlenberg 1730 a first classification of the " Tatar ", which also included the Uralic and Caucasian except the now -called Altaic language groups Turkic, Mongolian and Tungusic. The Manchu he falsely affiliated to the Mongolian and not the Tungusic branch.

Strahlenberg 1730

  • Tatar Finno - Ugric
  • Samoyed
  • Mongolian- Manchu
  • Tungusisch
  • Caucasian

This approach has been partially expanded in the 19th century, but even in the narrows today represented by the majority of researchers direction. A very broad approach comes from Rasmus Christian Rask in 1834, the " Scythian " family reminiscent of the nostra Socialist or Eurasian hypotheses in recent years. Here, the Manchus is correctly detected and recognized the unity of the Finno- Ugric and Uralic as Samoyedic to Tunguzian.

Rask 1834

  • Mongolian
  • Tungusisch
  • Uralic
  • Eskimo
  • Tschuktscho - Kamtschadalisch
  • Caucasian
  • Basque

The already comprehensive approach Rask was surpassed by M. Müller 1855, who is also Thai, Tibetan, Dravidian and Malay adds - and thus all efforts today Nostra sufferers and sufferers exceeds Eurasia.

In contrast to the classification of Rask Wilhelm Schott reduced 1849 Altaic Altaic and Uralic today on the mentioned groups. Its importance lies, in particular, to have transferred the stringent demands of young Indo-European studies partly due to the Altaic languages. This meant above all the realization that mere typological similarities may not be used to justify genetic relationship of languages, but that one must be a case based on lexical and morphological material. The Caucasian is just like the other exotic groups Rasks abandoned as part of the Altaic family. What remains today Altaic and Uralic languages ​​referred to groups which Schott " tschudisch " or called " Tatar ". This Schott reaches a point of view was to the middle of the 20th century is widely accepted ( " Ural- Altaic family of languages ​​").

Schott 1849

  • Ural - Altaic Tschudisch Finno - Ugric
  • Samoyed
  • Mongolian
  • Tungusisch

The object of the genetic unity of the Altaic

Below there are two tendencies - narrowing and widening of the Altaic language group.

The first, represented by almost all researchers on the basis of typological similarities Ural- Altaic unit was abandoned. You will now no scientific trailers more, but is still common in the popular literature.

As a result, the genetic unit Turkic - Mongol- Tungusic is questioned or even abandoned and these three families are regarded as genetically separate groups (G. Clauson 1956, G. villages 1963). The undeniable similarities of these three language families of Clauson and villages exclusively typological or as a result of - interpreted language contacts and borrowings ( on the other hand extremely decided R. A. Miller, 1991) - sometimes very early.

Extension to the macro -Altaic: Ramstedt, Poppe, inter alia,

From other researchers, however, the actual Altaic another individual languages ​​are added, namely

  • 78 million Korean speakers
  • Japanese 126 million speakers ( 4 languages ​​with the Ryukyu languages)
  • Ainu (almost extinct, spoken on Hokkaido and Sakhalin)

This results in different forms of macro -Altaic, which are classified in different ways. Ramstedt 1957 considered - in addition to the Turkic, Mongolian and Tungusic whose genetic unit it considers to be proven - the Korean as a fourth independent branch of the Altaic family.

Ramstedt 1957

  • Mongolian
  • Tungusisch
  • Korean

Poppe 1965 is based on a division into an actual Altaic group and the Korean as an equal branch of. In the actual Altaic it represents the Mongolian- Tungus as a closely related group of the Turkic languages ​​over (which he - like many others - actual in the Turkic and Chuvash splits ).

Poppe 1965

  • Mongol- Tungusic

1971 Miller takes the Japanese added, Street 1962, Patrie 1982 that the Ainu. While Street and Patrie put the actual Altaic group for one unit of Korean -Japanese- Ainu, Miller sees a western group (Turkish - Chuvash ) and from an eastern Mongolian, Tungusic, Korean, and Japanese (where he is close to the Korean - Japanese, the Tungusic ).

Street 1962/ 1982 Patrie

  • North Asian Altaic Tungusic - Mongolian
  • Korean - Japanese Korean
  • Japanese Ryukyu

Miller 1971

  • Altaic West - Altai Chuvash
  • Mongolian
  • Tunguso - Korean - Japanese Tungusisch
  • Korean - Japanese Korean
  • Japanese Ryukyu

The Altaic within the Nostra tables and Eurasian

The macro -Altaic tendencies find their extreme form in the nostra matic and Eurasian hypothesis that considers the Altaic whole or some of its components as branches of nostra matic or Eurasian macro family. Here as an example the Eurasian macro Greenberg's family and the position of the Altaic languages ​​within this macro- family ( macro - Altaic group in bold ):

Greenberg 2000

  • Eurasia table Etruscan †
  • Indo-European
  • Ural- Jukagirisch
  • Mongolian
  • Tungusisch
  • Korean
  • Japanese Ryukyu
  • Ainu

Within the Nostratic hypothesis matic take the Altaic languages ​​a similar position as in the Eurasian (see Article Nostra table ). Since the Eurasian and nostra tables macro family have been found in only very low acceptance in the professional world, the question of the classification of the Altaic languages ​​is hypothetical.

Altai - genetic unit or not?

Many researchers now - despite further doubt about whether their critics - due to lexical, morphological, syntactic and phonetic similarities of the genetic unity of the Turkic, Mongolian and Tungusic as Altaic of the language family from. Accordingly, there are various efforts of these researchers to reconstruct the common proto-language. The addition of the Korean finds doing some, but not continuous support. Significantly lower the approval of the Japanese as a member of the Altaic family. This is even more the Ainu, although individual works do contain some interesting approaches.

However, it should not be overlooked that a still large group of researchers hold refutes the genetic unity of the Turkish - Mongol- Tungusic for yet unproven, fundamentally unprovable or even for definitely.

Two scenarios of language development are therefore mainly towards:

  • Scenario I: There really was once a common Altaic proto-language that was spoken in the Central Asian steppes in the area of the Altai Mountains. Already there was - 3000 years - - maybe 4000 before the split into a western Turkish, Mongolian central and eastern Tungus group instead. Even before that is likely to have spread towards Manchuria an eastern group. There, then the altkoreanische Goguryeo and after translating the Japanese islands formed the Yayoi culture as a successor to the former non -Altaic Jōmon culture.
  • Scenario II: convergence through contact and exchange: Turkish, Mongolian and Tungus groups - and possibly also the Korean and Japanese - developed from various proto languages ​​in relatively close geographical proximity, so that over a long uninterrupted period vocabulary was borrowed mutually and also similarities in phonology and morphology developed (see the theses of Dixon 1997 on convergence of languages ​​in long periods undisturbed equilibrium). From the Central Asian region, the Altaic groups spread in many waves of migration from up in their current residences.

Altaic word equations

There is no overwhelming abundance of convincing word equations that contain components from all five branches of the Altaic potential. Much more numerous are two-sided turksprachig -Mongolian, Mongolian - Tungus, Korean - Tungusic or Korean-Japanese parallels. However, parallels can be found by comparing the reconstructed Proto forms from the area of ​​parts of the body some interesting " Altaic ". ( According to S. Starostin, Altaic Etymological Dictionary. Notation simplified).

Turkic, Mongolian and Tungusic proto- forms (body parts )

Macro - Altaic word equations

The next compilation extends the range to a larger section of the basic vocabulary. In addition to the turksprachlichen, Mongolian and Tungusic forms also Korean and Japanese are introduced given subject. However, the word equations no longer apply only to single terms, but on some quite wide fields of meaning. The presentation includes for each term or each semantic field in the first line the reconstructed Proto forms of five proto languages ​​( in the Korean and Japanese occupied the oldest forms ), as well as the hypothetical Altaic Proto form. In a second line of a concrete example of a single language is then given: Turkish for Turkic languages ​​, Khalkha Mongolian for the family, a Tungusic single language ( or Manchu Ewenki ) and newer forms of Korean and Japanese.

As to the word equations in this table much can be interpreted (for example, the reconstruction of the Proto forms, the width of the field of meaning ), they can, despite the wealth of data not directly as a proof of the genetic unity of the macro -Altaic language group or the Altaic i w. Consider p. Many parallels could also be due to language contact and borrowing. On the other hand, shows this material - which could expand to many times - that a genetic unit - at least the Altaic in the narrower sense - not simply be dismissed out of hand.

Simplified phonetic representation of proto- forms and individual linguistic examples. The individual linguistic examples are taken for the Turkic languages ​​usually from Turkish and Mongolian from the Khalkha. The Tungusic examples come mostly from the Manchu or Evenki.

Source: S. Starostin, A.V. Dybo, O.A. Mudrak: Altaic etymology. Internet database 2005.

Parallels the nominal morphology

Since the grammar can be borrowed less than the lexicon of another language simple, the former is a strong indication of a genetic link. Starostin et al. (2003) reconstructed the following correspondences between case and number suffixes of (macro - ) Altaic ( from Blazek, 2006):

/ V / symbolizes an indeterminate vowel. Suffixes that have been reconstructed for Proto - Turkish, Proto - Mongolian, Korean proto- or proto - Japanese, but which are not recorded in the Old Turkic, Mongolian Classic, Old Japanese or Korean agents have been marked with an asterisk.

Personal pronouns

Personal pronouns are significantly less often than other borrowed words of another language. This applies in particular for a whole system of personal pronouns. The following are based on Starostin et al. (2003) and Blazek (2006) the personal pronouns of Proto -Altaic represented in the IPA notation (meaning of / v / and star above), which show extensive correspondences ( for comparability with other languages, see contribution to Eurasia table ).

The continuous pattern is a labial in the first person and a Dental in the second person. This pattern, however, also occurs in the nostra matic and Eurasian languages ​​on a large scale and therefore has the Altaic no particularly strong explanatory power.

Reconstructed phonology

Based on the below relations between the proto-languages ​​, the following phoneme inventory is assumed ( by Blazek in 2006 and Starostin et al. 2003 transcription in the IPA system (IPA ) ) for macro - Altaic.


¹ This phoneme occurs only at the beginning of the word

² These phonemes are found only in the Word of the Interior


It is not clear whether / æ /, / ø /, / y / monophthongs as shown here (assuming [ æ œ ~ ø ʏ ~ y] ) or diphthongs ( [ia ~ i̯ɑ i̯ɔ ~ io ~ i̯ʊ IU ] ) are; both are equal vocalized. In any case, they are each only in the first syllable of the word.

Altaic sound laws

A particularly strong evidence or even evidence of genetic unit is the existence of sound laws that connect the language families together. Poppe 1960 is, for example, by the following series for the Turkish and Mongolian from:

In words:

  • Proto - Altaic anlautendes / p / disappears in the proto -Turkish and in Proto -Mongolian to / h /, in the modern Mongolian it disappears as well. (Only in Monguor it to / f /. )
  • Proto - Altaic innervokalisches / r / is Proto - Turkish to / z /, but in aberrant Chuvash Turkish and Mongolian remains / r / receive.

In the Turkish -Mongolian word for this long sound laws intertwine and form a convincing etymological relation:

  • Central Mongol. hurtu, Mongol. urtu, Monguor fudur;
  • Alt- Turkish uzun, Chuvash vorom

Poppe 1973 responds ironically which ( eg the Turcologists villages ), who also hold such an equation merely a result of borrowings from Turkish and Mongolian ( by R. A. Miller 1991): " The root is so mong. ur = turk. uz, where / r / and / z / regular correspondences are. If this is a loan from the Turkic languages ​​, so must the Mongols ' only ' the root - uz have borrowed, / z / in / r /, transforms ' ... and also a prosthetic / * p / set have fudur (see Monguor ), which is quite absurd certainly. "

Sound correspondences

If a Proto ( macro) - Altaic language should once actually existed, it would be possible to reconstruct the regular sound correspondences between this proto-language and its successor languages; as it will be possible, for example easier to distinguish between urverwandten and borrowed words. The last and most successful version based on Blazek (2006) and Starostin et al. (2003 ) is represented in the IPA system below.

When a Proto - Altaic phoneme depending on the position in a word ( beginning, affairs or end) is different, the special case (or any case ) marked with a Hyphen; For example, Proto - Altaic / p ʰ / disappears (marked "0") or to / j / at the beginning and / p / elsewhere in a Turkish word.


  • ¹ Monguor has / f / here instead ( Kaiser & Shevoroshkin 1988); It is therefore very likely that Proto - Mongolian also / f / had, then the / h / was (and then disappeared ) in all languages ​​except Monguor successor. Tabgac and Khitan, two of Starostin et al. (2003) did not take account for more than 1,000 years extinct Mongolian languages ​​, had even more / p / at this point ( Blazek 2006).
  • ² This was done at next consonant in the word / l ʲ /, / r ʲ /, or / r /.
  • ³ Before / i /.
  • 4 For next consonant in the word / h /.
  • Followed by 5 / æ /, / ø /, / y /.
  • 6 For next consonant in the word / r /.
  • 7 In the foregoing consonants / r /, / r ʲ /, / l /, or / l ʲ /, or at next consonant / g /.
  • 8 For next vowel / a /, / ə /, or followed by / j /.
  • 9 followed by / i / and then another vowel or / j /.
  • 10 In a vowel preceded preceded by / i /.
  • 11 Followed by / a /.
  • 12 Followed by / u /.
  • Followed by 13 by / a /, / o /, or / e /.
  • 14 Followed by / i / or / u /.


As mentioned above, the vowel harmony is widely used in the Altaic languages. Most Turkic and Mongolian and Tungusic languages ​​some of them possess the Korean it loses currently slowly, for the ancient Japanese vowel harmony can be reconstructed. Vowel harmony is also typical of the neighboring Uralic languages ​​and therefore was formerly used as an argument for the so-called Ural - Altaic hypothesis, which has since been abandoned. Nevertheless reconstruct Starostin et al. (2003) Proto - Altaic. Than language without vowel harmony, and look at them in each daughter language as the approximation of the vowel in the first syllable to the vowel of the last syllable, which was then usually lost The following table comes from Blazek (2006):

  • ¹ In the foregoing bilabialem consonants
  • ² In the foregoing or following bilabial consonants.
  • ³ In the foregoing fricative ( / s /, / ʃ /, / x / ).
  • 4 in the following trills, / l /, or / l ʲ /.


It is not excluded that the macro -Altaic languages ​​form a genetic unit. The probability of a unit of the Altaic in the strict sense - ie Turkic - Mongol- Tungusic - is significantly higher than the probability of macro -Altaic variant. However, it may ultimately not be excluded that all shown parallels go back to contact phenomena and borrowings. It is also clear that, according to current knowledge, a statement of the kind " there is certainly no genetic unity of the Altaic languages ​​" is not tenable.

Perhaps future research results lead to clearer results. So today could be deciphered only about a third of the two variants of the Khitan script, the characters used precisely reflect not only logograms, but also morphemes and thus allow direct conclusions on the time used altmongolische language before the 12th century. Mongolia and Manchuria are now also archaeologically not so well researched that further significant finds text can be ruled out with conclusions on the earlier spoken Mongolian and Tungusic languages ​​there, which can then be compared with the oldest Turkish texts.

Revealing the intensive processing of the conservative small languages ​​of the three language families and not just mainly the most important according to the number of its speakers languages ​​, the increased pre- Pull earliest written records of all 5 main groups and the development of comparative Altaic morphology of the verb would be analogous to the existing reconstructions in this context the case of the noun.

Whether a treatment of the (macro - ) Altaic in macro- families Eurasia table and Nostra table can bring more clarity to this issue, is controversial, since these macro families are not turn on secure foundations.


Altaistik is employ as the generic term of the scientific disciplines that deal with the appropriate languages ​​, peoples, history ( n ) and cultures until today in the scientific world in use. One reason is the tradition and structure of teaching and research institutions. Moreover, beyond the unquestioned spoke genetic relatedness are many other historical and cultural similarities to consider. Also the study of at least existing Altaic language federal, includes the Turkic and Mongolian and Tungusic languages ​​, maybe the Korean and Japanese, makes a Altaistik in the future as a specialist area of ​​research and meaningful and valuable. You might also be - represent the core of a research field that deals with the actual subject matter of the Eurasian macro Families ( Eurasia table and table Nostra ) - together with the Uralic and Indo-European studies.