History of the proposal
The internal reconstruction of the Indo-European proto-language done by Benveniste and Lehmann has set Proto-Indo-European (PIE) typologically quite apart from its daughters. In 1960, Aert Kuipers noticed the parallels between a Northwest Caucasian language, Kabardian, and PIE. It was Paul Friedrich in 1964, however, who first suggested that PIE might be phylogenetically related to Proto-Caucasian. In 1981, Colarusso examined typological parallels involving consonantism, focusing on the so-called laryngeals of PIE and in 1989, he published his reconstruction of Proto-Northwest Caucasian (PNWC). Eight years later, the first results of his comparative work on PNWC and PIE were published in his article Proto-Pontic: Phyletic Links Between Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Northwest Caucasian, an event which may be considered the actual beginning of the hypothesis.
Examples of similarities that have been noted include:
- Nasal negating particles in both families:
- A case variously named "accusative", "oblique" or "objective", marked with nasal suffixes:
- Colarusso, John (1997). "Proto-Pontic: Phyletic links between Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Northwest Caucasian". Journal of Indo-European Studies 25: 119–51.
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