Glottalic theory

According to the Indo-European proto-language had Glottaltheorie the place of the voiced plosives bdg classical reconstruction the ejectives p ' t' k '.

A predecessor of this theory was proposed by the Danish linguist Holger Pedersen, however, contained no glottalized sounds. Although linguists such as André Martinet and Morris Swadesh early recognized the potential that was associated with the replacement of the unaspirated voiced plosives by glottalized sounds, this proposal was purely speculative, and 1973 valid evidence simultaneously and independently by Paul Hopper ( USA) in the magazine " Glossa " and by Thomas Gamkrelidze and Vyacheslav Ivanov (USSR) were published in the journal " Phonetica ".

Traditional reconstruction

The traditional reconstruction of Indo-European plosives includes the following:

/ b / is in parentheses because it was at best extremely rare, if not non-existent.

Original proposal

The Glottaltheorie beats other sounds for the plosives of Indo-European before:


Revised proposal

One of the objections raised against the Glottaltheorie is that the voiced plosives in some daughter languages ​​are voiceless: voiceless in Tocharian and Anatolian, aspirates, later fricatives in Greek and Italic. While aspirates quite frequently tenuis and then voiced, such as p ʰ → p → b, the opposite is rare ( see lenition ). Therefore, younger versions of Glottaltheorie no voiced consonants more or see voicing as allophones, so as not significant distinctive. Such a sound inventory is:

( Here, the ratio of traditional palatalized velar to normal is shown as a velar uvular contrast, as suggested by Hopper 1981. This is not a necessary aspect of Glottaltheorie and might have been allophonic at an earlier stage of the original language. )

Current Status

After the Glottaltheorie had found in the 1980's considerable appeal, their appeal ( acceptance) currently appear to decline again. It is, for example, to time out of Gamkrelidze itself nor Bomhard ( most recently in 2007 ) represented. The other hand, have other former representatives, such as Theo Vennemann, averted lately from her.

In German standard works, such as Mayrhofer (2004 ), she was described with neutral, but received in Meier - Brügger (2010), only a short paragraph.



  • Robert SP Beekes: Comparative Indo-European Linguistics. John Benjamins, 1995.
  • Allan R. Bomhard: Reconstructing Proto - Nostratic: Comparative Morphology, Phonology, and Vocabulary. Charleston: Signum, 2007.
  • Anthony Fox: Linguistic Reconstruction. Oxford publisher? , 1995.
  • Thomas V. Gamkrelidze and Vyacheslav V. Ivanov: Indo -European and the Indo- Europeans, translated by Johanna Nichols, 2 volumes. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1995.
  • Paul J. Hopper: glottalized and murmured occlusives in Indo-European. Glossa 7:2:1973, 141-166.
  • Indo-European languages
  • Historical Linguistics