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Title: Chickens and eggs: the undying issue of the primacy of r/l or z/š in Altaic historical linguistics
Authors: Therien, Tania L
Keywords: Linguistics;Historical linguistics;Altaic languages;Phonology;Typology (Linguistics)
Issue Date: Jan-1999
Publisher: University of Calgary
Citation: Therien, T. L. (1999). Chickens and eggs: the undying issue of the primacy of r/l or z/š in Altaic historical linguistics. Calgary Working Papers in Linguistics, 21(Winter), 96-117.
Abstract: For the better part of this century, the Turkic language family has posed some difficulties for both typological and historical linguistics. The pivotal issue lies with four modern Turkic phonemes /r, l, z, š/ and their reflexes in the peripheral Turkic language Chuvash, spoken south of Moscow along the Volga River. Historically, the question that arises is, which set of phonemes, greater-Turkic or Chuvash, is the older one? And, in turn, what does the potential answer to this question have to say about the classification of Turkic? The Chuvash reflexes /r, I/ (but not z and š) correspond perfectly with cognates in Mongolian and Manchu-Tungus languages, leading one to believe that not only are the Chuvash phonemes older, but also that Turkic is most certainly an Altaic language. The aim of this paper is to explore each side of the Altaic argument with the issue of the phonemes serving as the focal point.
ISSN: 2371-2643
Appears in Collections:Volume 21, Winter 1999

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