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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 ?
24 Caucasian Caucasian Kalmyk Mongolian Altaic 14 88.
Ramsted, the etymology of -ci;-ci suffixes goes back to the Altaic period and comes from the Chinese and Korean word 'cija' meaning 'a man' (Ramstedt, 1957).
Editor's note: Throughout his life Norman was a strong proponent of the Altaic Hypothesis and was in fact working actively on a detailed defense of it at the time he died.
D in Economics, associated professor The Altaic State University.
Other chapters take up the question of the ethnonym Bulouji, a tribe apparently with a Caucasoid element active at the end of the Northern Wei, the name perhaps derived from the Altaic word meaning "mixture.
In addition, through in-depth interviews with some of the Turkish audiences, we have discovered that the constant love of Korean pop-culture is not merely due to the attractive cultural products, but also reflects many hidden deeper meanings, such as common Altaic heritage, culture, language, participation in the Korean War, and the third place match in the 2002 World Cup.
Turkish like Korean is linguistically affiliated with the Altaic language family.
As things were then arranged, Pritsak became a professor in the Department of Inner Asian and Altaic Studies, and not in the Department of History.
Christopher Beckwith, a professor of Central Euro-Asian Studies at Indiana University (where he also earned his PhD in Uralic and Altaic Studies, with a background in Chinese and Tibetan) offers a history of central Asia covering 4,000 years, from the Bronze Age to our modern times.
The Armenian language is a branch of the Indo-European family of languages, and is most closely related to Greek; the Azerbaijani language is a branch of the Altaic family, and is most closely related to Turkish.
Linguistically Finnish belongs to the Finno-Ugric family of languages, with Estonian and Hungarian the nearest relatives, and Turkish, along with many minor groups of the Altaic family, as a distant linguistic relative.
Ants-Michael Uesson wrote in conclusions of his book, "As we accept that the hypothetical Uralic, the different Turkic, Mongolian and Manchu-Tunguz primitive stages and, in addition, the Indo-European primitive stage, all have had a past when these primitive stages may have been formed from different constituents, there is nothing to contradict the assumption that several of these old constituents (from which the different Uralic, Altaic and Indo-European primitive stages have been crystallized) could have been identical at the same time as several other of these o l d constituents were non-identical in all certainty" (p.