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Related to Protolanguage: pidgin
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(parent language, or Ursprache), a term designating a hypothetical state of a group or family of related languages, reconstructed on the basis of a system of correspondences established between the languages in phonetics, grammar, and semantics by the comparative historical method—for example, Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Slavic.

The reality of a protolanguage as a unified spoken language of a specific prehistorical ethnos remains controversial. A protolanguage may also be understood as a group of closely related dialects, from which more recent groups of historically attested languages arose as a result of individual development. If the origin and development of a group of related languages do not predate recorded history, the reality of a protolanguage may be strictly documented—for instance, the modern Romance languages, whose protolanguage was the Latin vernacular known as Vulgar Latin. The elements and forms of a protolanguage are called archetypes. Their correspondences at subsequent stages of linguistic evolution are called reflexes.


Meillet, A. Vvedenie v sravnitel’noe izuchenie indoevropeiskikh iazykov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1938. (Translated from French.)
Porzig, W. Chlenenie indoevropeiskoi iazykovoi oblasti. Moscow, 1964. (Translated from German.)
Obshchee iazykoznanie: Melody lingvisticheskikh issledovanii. Moscow, 1973.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Holistic utterances in protolanguage: The link from primates to humans.
Bickerton [4] proposed that a protolanguage must have preceded the full-fledged syntax of today's discourse.
According to Bickerton (1990), the development of the language faculty happened in two stages: first protolanguage emerged including only vocabulary and pragmatics, then modern language evolved on top of it as a refinement where morphology and syntax were added.
That is, women reclaimed hysteria because its "protolanguage" served as a simultaneous index of forms of gender oppression and a space to stage resistance to it.
This process, which led to the development of protolanguage consisting of nouns and verbs, was followed by the backward, analytic process within frontal lobes that extracted individual qualities from complex perceptual assemblages and enabled the rise of adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions.
In Finding Our Tongues, Falk proposes that the origins of human language (a protolanguage) appeared early in hominid evolution as a mechanism to reassure infants.
According to other assumptions, the words of Alexander of Macedonia are written in baktriyan language protolanguage of today's Bulgarians.
In Table 12, the developments that have taken place between a protolanguage and the modern-day varieties are summarized.
The first issue includes articles on: molecular semiotics; the investigation for a genetic protolanguage; perception in sensing and cognitive processes; and, an overview of biosemiotics.
Martha Ratliff, "Vocabulary of Environment and Subsistence in the Hmong-Mien Protolanguage", in lean Michaud, Christian Culas, Nick Tapp and Gary Lee (2004), op.cit.