Pontic languages

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For the form of Greek language, see Pontic Greek. For one of the language families in Caucasus, see Northwest Caucasian languages. For other uses, see Pontic (disambiguation).
Pontic
(controversial)
Geographic
distribution:
Eurasia
Linguistic classification: Pontic
Subdivisions:
Glottolog: None

Pontic is the proposed language family or macrofamily, comprising the Indo-European and Northwest Caucasian language families, with Proto-Pontic being the reconstructed proto-language.

History of the proposal[edit]

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.

Evidence[edit]

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:
    • PIE accusative *-m: Latin luna 'moon' (nom.) vs lunam (acc.).
    • NWC: Ubykh kwæy 'well (water source)' (abs.) vs kwæyn (obl.).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Colarusso, John (1997). "Proto-Pontic: Phyletic links between Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Northwest Caucasian". Journal of Indo-European Studies 25: 119–51.