Nostratic Languages

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Related to Nostratic: animism, Nostratic theory
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nostratic Languages


a hypothetical macrofamily of languages, which includes a number of language families and languages of Eurasia and Africa (Indo-European, Kartvelian, Hamito-Semitic, Uralic, Turkic, Mongolian, Tungus-Manchu, Korean, and the Dravidian languages). The Etruscan, Elamite, Japanese, Nivkh, Yukaghir, and Chukchi-Kamchatkan languages have also been shown to be affiliated with the Nostratic languages.

The hypothesis on the relationship of the Nostratic languages, which was proposed by the Danish scholar H. Pedersen in the early 20th century and elaborated by B. Collinder (Sweden), K. Menges (USA), and V. M. Illich-Svitych and A. B. Dolgopol’skii (USSR), attained the status of a proven scientific theory after Illich-Svitych compiled an etymological dictionary and made a rigorous study of the comparative phonology of the Nostratic languages. More than 700 common Nostratic roots are known, including pronouns and grammatical markers, which, evidently, were originally separate words. (The history of these roots has been traced from a reconstructed parent language to the descendant languages.)

A historical grammar of the Nostratic languages is currently being developed. The study of the relationship of the Nostratic languages has made it possible to clarify a number of issues relating to their structure, including the origin of irregular alternations.


Dolgopol’skii, A. B. Gipoteza drevneishego rodstva iazykov Severnoi Ev-razii. Moscow, 1964. (Seventh International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences).
Illich-Svitych, V. M. Opyt sravneniia nostraticheskikh iazykov, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Dolgopolsky A (1998) The Nostratic macrofamily and linguistic palaeontology.
Consequently the possibility cannot be ruled out that we deal here with a lemma that originates beyond the horizon of PIE, and in fact Nostratic origin is suggested by Nikita Krougly-Enke (p.
Indo-European, with its subgroups, might have evolved from Nostratic among the tribes that remained in Asia Minor or Iran.
Preservation of the Nostratic Heritage and Renewal of Animal Names in Eskaleutian Languages:
Illic-Svityc proposed the following traces of the supposed nostratic object with the m/b/w-suffix: the Indo-European -m([LAMBDA]) (accusative; primarily denoting animated beings in the singular), Tungusic *-ba, *-ba (-ba, -ba, -Pa, wa, -wa, -wa, -ma, -ma, -w, -m; definite object, in southernmost languages also an indefinite object; primarily denoting a marked object), Dravidian -m (accusative; primarily denoting animated beings as marked objects) as nostratic equivalents to the Uralic suffix -m([LAMBDA]) (primarily denoting a singular definite object) ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1971 : 10; 1976 : 48-51).
It has been possible to calculate thc distances between the languages of the Finno-Ugric family (Tambovtsev 1983, 1991b, 1992a) and to compute the compactness of the Turkic, Tungus-Manchurian, Paleo-Asiatic, Finno-Ugric, and Indo-European language families and even such super-families as Ural-Altaic and Nostratic (Tombovtsev 1990a).
In this sense, Greenberg (2005)--whose main principle in research for being certain that one's discoveries are not mere coincidences is the existence of double simultaneous affinities between words belonging to different languages, namely the existence of similarities both in form, as well as in meaning--came to the conclusion that, for instance, in the Americas only three main linguistic macro-families exist: Eskimo-Aleut, Na-Dene and Amerind, while Indo-European is part of a larger linguistic entity, called by Holger Pedersen "Nostratic" (see at least Pedersen 1962, Dolgopolsky 1998, Bomhard 1984, 1994, 2008).
(23) Starostin (1988:113) gives as an isogloss with the IE words, Proto-East Caucasian *wVtVrV 'child (up to one year old)': Tsakurian vudra 'kid up to one year old', Tsez beduro 'cub', Batzbean bader, Chechen ber 'child' and possibly within a Nostratic etymology (Illifi-Svityc 1967: 337).
Compared to earlier Nostratic approaches, the database also excludes Kartvelian, Dravidian and Afro-Asiatic, while adding Paleo-Siberian languages.
For Andrea's (xvi), read Andres'; for Tirunalveli (22, 84), read Tirunelveli; the comparison of Proto-Nostratic and Dravidian forms (46) lacks the Nostratic forms, and has just glosses.
See my "The Current State of Nostratic Linguistics," in Nostratic: Analysis of a Linguistic Macrofamily, ed.
Using the full set of the above-mentioned meanings (why not develop voluntarity further in the same way, e.g.: 'to lift up'--'to climb'--'mountain'--'earth'--'sky', etc.) one shall obligatorily find a phonetically comparable word in some of the countless number of languages and language groups attested as Nostratic. The way is fruitful: there are Altaic cognates also for both reconstructed Samoyed proto-forms for 'one', *oj-/*[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] and *op (Blazek 1999 : 90).