Genetic relationship (linguistics)

As genetically related is called in linguistics, languages ​​, which go back to a common proto-language. In addition, the term genetically common in linguistics, a class of issues and problems concerning certain aspects of the formation or origin of a language. Genetically related languages ​​we group to a language family, or more generally to a genetic unit. These are defined using the characteristic of the common innovations (for example, in phonology, word formation, morphology ).


Evidence that two or more languages ​​are genetically related to each other, is considered paid if the languages ​​have sufficiently many common traits and the following two possible reasons for the similarities can be sufficiently excluded:

  • The similarities are mutually created in each language independent.
  • The similarities are caused by language contact between the considered languages ​​or by the contact of the considered languages ​​to a third language.

The question of when the alternative causes are sufficiently excluded, it is an object of the linguistic discussion.

Since the question of the monophyly of the languages ​​of the world is still unclear, there is no way to prove that two languages ​​are not genetically related.


Necessary to determine the concept of genetic relatedness in linguistics from the concept of genetic relatedness in biology, in the special case in anthropology or ethnology: The speakers of genetically related languages ​​do not even ethnological ( biological- genetic) be related. As an example of the English language may be used: Not every native English speakers come from around the direct line from the Anglo-Saxons.

The creoles can also be not grasp the concepts of genetic relatedness. They are examined by a separate sub-department of linguistics, Kreolistik.

Much like the creoles also the most planned languages ​​difficult or impossible to classify genetically leave, although one usually knows their origin precisely.