Japanese Linguistics If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking. - Lyndon B. Johnson
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Altaic Languages

The Altaic languages are spoken by the Turks, Mongolians and Tungusic people.
The Altaic languages are spoken by the Turks, Mongolians and Tungusic people.

The Altai mountains are a little-known range of barren peaks in the Gobi Desert. What makes this range so special is that it marks the border between the traditional homelands of two peoples: the Mongols and the Turks. The term Altaic refers to the family of languages that includes Mongolian, Turkic and Tungusic. Since the people in this region were nomads, the Altaic languages are spoken over a broad area stretching from Eastern Europe to the Bering Sea.

Unlike some other language families, such as Indo-European, there are few ancient sources for Altaic scholars to study. In fact, the connection between the members of the Altaic family (Turkic, Mongolian, Tungusic) is not accepted by all linguists and there is even more controversy when Japanese and Korean are included in the family. (For more information on these two languages, see my list of possible cognates in Japanese and Korean. Formerly, linguists thought that the Altaic family had a genetic relationship with the Uralic family (Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian etc.), but this hypothesis has been rejected for the most part.

Altaic languages have not received the attention they deserve, and their exact relationship is still puzzling even to the linguists that specialize in them. The languages share a number of features that suggest they could be related: agglutination, vowel harmony and a lack of grammatical gender and articles. But to the non-linguist, a connection between them is not readily apparent.

Central Asia, the home of the Altaic peoples, has played an important role in world history. This region was the only viable land corridor between East and West Asia, and it has traditionally been a place of commercial and cultural interchange. The trade routes running through this area carried not only silks and other commericial products, but also helped in the transmission of art, religion and ideas between Eastern and Western civilizations.

 

Altaic Languages
English Japanese Korean Mongolian Turkish
I watashi, boku, ore na, che bi ben
you anata, kimi, omae chi sen
we watashitachi, warera uri bid biz
where doko ôdi khaan nere
who dare nugu khen kim
here koko yogi en bura
belly hara bae khevlii karin
fingernail tsume top -- tirnak
eye me nun nüd göz
ear mimi gui chikh kulak
nose hana kko khamar burun
mouth kuchi ip am agiz
tooth ha i shüd dis
English Japanese Korean Mongolian Turkish
face kao olgul zis yüz
body karada, mi mom gii gövde
heart kokoro maûm zürkh yürek
foot ashi bal khöl ayak
bone hone ppyô yas kemik
arm ude pal agaar kol
shoulder kata okke dalu dal
water mizu mul us su
house ie jip ger ev
wheat mugi mil bugudai bughday
chicken tori (bird) talk takiya tavuk
sheep hitsuji yang khoni koyun
fish sakana mulgoki zagas balik
bear kuma kum baavgai ayi
English Japanese Korean Mongolian Turkish
horse uma mal mor at
tortoise kame kepup yast melkhii kaplumbaga
woman onna kiejip emegtei, xatun kadin
man otoko nom khün erkek
small chiisai chagûn jijig küçük
big ookii kkûn ikh büyük
good yoi chohûn sain iyi
cheap yasui ssaûn kilbar kelepir
tall takai noppûn örlög ulu
hard katai kudûn khatagu kati
black kuroi kômûn khar kara
blue aoi purûn khokh mavi
new atarashii se shin yeni
English Japanese Korean Mongolian Turkish
all subete modûn bötön bütün
straight sugu got tsig dik
before mae ap ömön cephe, ön
sun hi, taiyou hae nar günes
moon tsuki tal sar ay
year toshi hae jil yil
morning asa achim öglöö öglen (noon)
time toki tte tsag çagh
island shima sôm aral ada
fire hi bul gal ates
ice koori ôrûm mös buz
mud doro chinhûlk sibar çamur
mountain yama, take tuk uul dag
wine sake sul dars --
English Japanese Korean Mongolian Turkish
stone ishi tol chuluu tas
village mura maul khot köy
marsh numa nuep   bataklik
bamboo take tae -- --
flower hana kott tsetseg çiçek
rain ame pi boroo boran (storm)
to see miru poda üzekh görmek
to do suru hada khii etmek
to eat taberu mokta idekh yemek
question particle ka kka -- mi, ma
to, toward e e ruu e, ye
subject particle ga ga, i -- --
English Japanese Korean Mongolian Turkish
object particle wo ul, rul -- --
at, in de, ni sô esô t, d te, de
one hitotsu hana neg bir
two futatsu tul khoyor iki
three mittsu set gurav üç
four yottsu net döröv dört
five itsutsu tasôt tav bes
English Japanese Korean Mongolian Turkish

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