Alfredo Trombetti

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Trombetti, Alfredo


Born Jan. 6, 1866, in Bologna; died July 5, 1929, in Lido di Venezia. Italian linguist. Member of the Italian Academy (1929).

Trombetti graduated from the University of Bologna, where he became a professor in 1904. He formulated the hypothesis of the monogenesis, or common origin, of all languages, basing his argument on extensive parallels in lexicon and correspondences in grammatical formatives. Inadequate comparative methods prevented Trombetti from proving his proposed genealogical classification or his hypothesis of monogenesis; however, the material he collected contains many correlations that deserve further study and verification. Several comparisons concerning the Nostratic languages contained correlations that were confirmed after regular sound correspondences between the languages were established. Trombetti was the first to hold that Sandawe belongs to a Khoisan family of languages. He was the author of papers on many languages, including Basque, Etruscan, and the Semitic and American Indian languages.


“Saggi di glottologia genérale comparata.” Memorie delta R. Accademia delle scienze dell’Instituto di Bologna. 1908,1913,1920.
Elementi di glottologia, parts 1–2. Bologna, 1922–23.
La Lingua etrusca. Florence, 1928.


Scritti in onore di Alfredo Trombetti. Milan, 1938.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The author's starting point is the theory of transitional languages advanced by the influential Italian linguist Alfredo Trombetti (1866-1929).