Napolskikh V. V. On the Problem of Studying the Most Ancient Prehistory of Northern Eurasia (Nostratic Macrofamily of Languages)

Vladimir V. NAPOLSKIKH — Member of the RAS, Udmurt State University; Kazan Federal University (Russia, Izhevsk; Kazan) 

e-mail: vovia@udm.ru

 

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ABSTRACT. The article examines general methodological problems of studying the oldest stages of prehistory of Northern Eurasia (XV–V millennium BC) on the example of the Nostratic macrofamily of languages: the perception of macrocomparativistics by the traditional linguists and the response of macrocomparativists to the traditional criticism, the relationship of the proto-language as a formal linguistic reconstruction and as a real historical phenomenon, theoretically possible boundaries of the distribution of the ancient proto-language (Fig. 2), the role and place of genetics in the system of sciences relevant to prehistory, etc. The article analyzes several specific issues: the current situation in the Nostratic reconstruction, the problem of verifying the existing etymological material and of identification and stratification of ancient borrowings, the problem of the composition of the macrofamily, the time, space and possible scenarios of its disintegration (Fig. 1). The paper critically examines some Nostratic, Indo-European (word for horse) and Sino- Caucasian (words for goat) etymologies. Using linguistic, archeological, genetic and paleogeographic data, we suggest a hypothesis that connects the Nostratic unity with a complex of close archaeological cultures of the Upper Paleolithic, created by hunters of the mammoth steppe in the periglacial zone of Eurasia, from the Northern Black Sea to the Baikal region, with close haplotypes (Y-chromosome R, mit-DNA U); the disintegration of the Nostratic unity (the breakdown of direct contacts between pre-Indo-European and pre-Uralic dialects of the community) could be caused by the intensification of the runoff of the proglacial lakes along the Turgai spillway and the Khvalynsk transgression (Fig. 3). 

KEYWORDS: prehistory, Northern Eurasia, long-range comparative linguistics, Nostratic macrofamily of languages 

УДК 81-13=11/=29 

DOI 10.31250/2618-8600-2018-1-119-142

 

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