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(ăltā`ĭk), subfamily of the Ural-Altaic family of languages (see Uralic and Altaic languagesUralic and Altaic languages
, two groups of related languages thought by many scholars to form a single Ural-Altaic linguistic family. However, other authorities hold that the Uralic and Altaic groups constitute two unconnected and separate language families.
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). Some scholars still consider Altaic an independent linguistic family. Spoken by over 130 million people, who occupy parts of a territory that stretches from E Europe across the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan to the Pacific Ocean, the Altaic languages fall into three subdivisions: TurkicTurkic
, group of languages forming a subdivision of the Altaic subfamily of the Ural-Altaic family of languages (see Uralic and Altaic languages). The Turkic group of languages has a total of some 125 million speakers in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Central Asia, and parts of Russia and
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, Mongolian (see Mongolian languagesMongolian languages,
group of languages forming a subdivision of the Altaic subfamily of the Ural-Altaic family of languages (see Uralic and Altaic languages). The Mongolian languages are spoken by about 6 million people, mainly in the Republic of Mongolia, in the Inner
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), and Tungusic. The Tungusic subdivision, by far the smallest, today has only a few thousand speakers. It includes Manchu, spoken in various parts of Manchuria, and Tungus, native to E Siberia. Like the Uralic languages, the Altaic tongues are characterized by agglutination and vowel harmony. The former involves using suffix upon suffix to express grammatical relationships and meanings. Suffixes are also employed to form derived words. With vowel harmony, the vowel in a suffix corresponds to the vowel of the root to which the suffix is added. The Altaic languages lack grammatical gender.


See N. Poppe, Introduction to Altaic Linguistics (1965).

References in periodicals archive ?
Obviously, many of these questions are interrelated, and the answer to some of them rests in how much credence one puts into certain versions of the Altaic hypothesis, for example whether one accepts the possibility of a Turco-Mongolic subbranch that excludes Tungusic (an option that runs counter to several recent proposals about a Mongolo-Tungusic unity -- e.
The permanent International Altaistic Conference provides opportunities for scholars from around the world to present work on Altaic history, language and culture.
The way is fruitful: there are Altaic cognates also for both reconstructed Samoyed proto-forms for 'one', *oj-/*[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.
Marcantonio concludes that a number of the lexical items shared between Uralic and Yukaghir are found in Altaic languages as well, making it impossible to decide on the question of borrowing vs.
Bosson, A Treasury of Aphoristic Jewels: The Subhasitaratnanidhi of Sa skya Pandita in Tibetan and Mongolian, Uralic and Altaic Series, vol.
Many of them are common for Uralic (especially Samoyed), Paleosiberian (Paleoasiatic) and Altaic languages.
Drompp, "A Note on Interpreters of Turkic Languages in Late T'ang China," in Altaic Religious Beliefs and Practices: Proceedings of the 33rd Meeting of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference, Budapest, June 24-29, 1990, ed.
Few remarks have been made on his last years and on his contributions to Altaic studies.
Budenz classified Hungarian as belonging to the extended Ugric branch, and, in his model, the Ugric branch, the Turkic branch and other Asiatic branches, all belonged to the wide Altaic family.
Tura: supreme Chuvash god linked to the Altaic sky god Tengri.
In the early 1870s Aspelin had carried out excavations and museum research in Russia in order to fmd an archaeological explanation of the migration of the Finns from their assumed Altaic original home to the Baltic Sea.
Home to dozens of different languages belonging to three entirely separate stocks--the Indo-European, Altaic, and Caucasian proper--and two major world religions, Christianity and Islam, the Caucasus are both a cultural crossroads and a patchwork of religious and ethnic animosities, some of them stretching back centuries.