LINGUIST List 5.963

Tue 06 Sep 1994

Disc: Altaic

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , Altaic, Pronouns, and Mischsprachen
  2. "Reinhard, Altaic Network

Message 1: Altaic, Pronouns, and Mischsprachen

Date: Sun, 4 Sep 94 16:18:25 EDTAltaic, Pronouns, and Mischsprachen
From: <>
Subject: Altaic, Pronouns, and Mischsprachen

Boy, you really have to be careful on Linguist. In trying
to clarify my position on Altaic pronouns, I have now run
afoul of the fans of Mischsprachen,. who note that such
examples as Copper Island Aleut and Shelta could be treated
as mixed languages, and so the term borrowing may be
inappropriate there. True enough! The point, however, is
that there is no indication at all that the relatedness
b etween the pronominal systems of Turkic, Mongolic, (Manchu-)
Tungusic, Korean, and Japanese (or shall we say Nipponic?)
is due to at least four of these being Mischsprachen or
mixed languages (OR having borrowed said pronouns in the
conventional sense) anymore than there is any such indication
in the case of the various Indo-European or Semitic or Austronesian
or Mon-Khmer or Uralic .... pronominal systems. This is so
even if we are willing to admit that borrowing of pronouns and
the phenomenon of mixed languages are both possible in general.
The point is simply that to believe in Altaic you do NOT have
to reject such borrowing/mixing possibilities a priori. There
is simply no evidence for them in this case, and none has ever
been cited to my knowledge. Plus the sound correspondences
among these languages are no different in the case of pronouns
than in the case of lexical items generally (although there
may be some irregularities such as we find in the pronouns of
ANY language family).

I hope that statement does finally satisfy every objection, but
am prepared for the next batch just in case, whatever they may

Borrowing of Pronouns

I have also received a bunch of mail about my remarks on the
borrowing of pronous, pointing that borrowed pronouns (
or at any rate words referring to the speaker and the
hearer, whether they really are pronouns or not) are
quite common in SE Asia. What I meant when I said borrowing
of pronouns, while attested, is rare is that the replacement
of native pronouns by borrowed ones is rare. As far as I
know (and this was pointed out in the 1960's by Dolgopolsky)
the typical SE Asian situation involves borrowing of foreign
forms (which are typically NOT pronouns at least in the
source language) but retention of the native ones as well
(with differentiation along social, pragmatic, etc., lines)
as in Malay-Indonesian where Sanskritic saya is used for 'I'
but the native Austronesian forms also continue to flourish.
So even in SE Asia I think that total replacement of native
pronouns by borrowed stuff is quite rare.
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Message 2: Altaic Network

Date: Tue, 6 Sep 1994 07:30:51 -Altaic Network
From: "Reinhard <>
Subject: Altaic Network

I am reposting my proposal, because the questionnaire part at the end did
not get copied in the edited version. To assure consistency of
information, please use the "form." Thank you. Below is a repeat of the
entire message.

There has been talk of a "turning tide" and a "reemergence of interest"
in the course of our discussion about the Altaic Hypothesis. Now that the
public part of our discussion seems to be dying down, it might be a good
time to try and gauge the extent and depth of interest in Altaic
linguistics "out there," starting with people who have access to e-mail.
I am proposing a networking attempt with the ultimate aim of linking as
many people interested in Altaic linguistics as possible. This may
eventually result in a number of specialist discussion groups as well as
in a general group, formal or informal, public or private.

To get the ball rolling, I am willing to compile a general list of
interested persons. I will distribute the list (with periodical updates)
only to those who wish to be listed themselves. To assure the highest
possible level of anonymity and discretion, I will only enter people's
names, e-mail addresses, interests and language specializations. If you
wish to be a part of the network, please "fill out" the following and
return it to by September 30, 1994 (at which time I
hope to finalize and send out the first version of the list). Any
suggestions are welcome.



I supply the following as shared information to be used in a list to be
distributed to other persons interested in participating in discussions
and in sharing information about "Altaic" (Turkic, Mongolic, [Manchu-]
Tungusic, Korean, Japanese, and possibly other) languages with the Altaic
Hypothesis as the common focus.

Given Name(s)/First Name(s):
Surname/Last Name:
E-Mail Address:

Special Interest(s):


Relevant Language(s) Studied:

Preferred Language(s) of Communication:
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