Protolanguage

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Related to protolanguages: Proto-linguistics

Protolanguage

 

(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.

REFERENCES

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.

V. A. VINOGRADOV

References in periodicals archive ?
For intermediate protolanguages he has reconstructed Proto-Finno-Permic ?
The identification of language as a privileged site of history is one of the most powerful and enduring legacies of nineteenth-century comparative philology, whose major successes include comparative grammar, the reclassification of languages into families, and the reconstruction of the lost protolanguages from which families of extant languages descended.
Among them is a brain-volume growth spurt about 750,000 years ago, when hominids developed advanced hunting techniques and formed protolanguages. The real boom in the development of the mind, however, came long after human brains reached their current size, argues Calvin.
In his 1990 book, Language and Species, Bickerton traces the intertwined processes of communication, representation and language as they develop from primitive organisms through various species, examining representational systems, protolanguages and how they developed into human syntactical language.