Problems of Linguistic Decisions of the Tungus-Manchu Problem

Korovina Eugene (Novosibirsk, Russia)

Problems of Linguistic Decisions of the Tungus-Manchu Problem

(57th Annual MEeting of the PIAC Vladivostok, 2014)

In 2008 in “Problems of Linguistics” there was published a work by A.M. Pevnov “The Linguistic Ways of Decision of the Tungus-Manchu Problem” where on the data of reconstruction the vocabulary of nature surrounding there was stated that primo-mother-land of the Tungus-Manchu was located in the Middle of the Amur River. This conclusion was made on the base that there were restored the name not only for plants being spread everywhere but for those of relatively southern kinds as “an oak” and “a poplar”, and also on the base of hydronymia. The decision on localization of primo mother land on language data is seen correct as a whole.

However for the final corroboration it is necessary to decide a lot of methodological problems. It needs not only the works on localization of the Tungus Manchu original mother land but the works on localization of any other language community.

The main problem to be decided is exposing borrowings in such a case when language community is a phonetically conserved one, or when there is a supposition on a possible phoneme recounting words of one language to the other language. For example, if the word is presented in Negidal or in the south-Tungus languages, and there are no elements in it that could be changed while historical development. Massive borrowings of such kind could be seen on the distortion on cognate matrix when ethimological work done. Nevertheless the presence of the mass of such borrowings in itself speaks nothing about the fact whether there was borrowed a concrete word.

A closely related problem is irreplaceable loss of a lexeme in the case of the loss of the very object. For example, in Evenk there is no reflex of the word PTM – *eli – «fish-taimen» for there is no such a fish there, but there are inverse examples, when a lexeme is reserved while changing the original meaning.

One more important problem is the set of lexemes as a result of reconstruction, very often is characterized some border area, for example, “foothills”. It may be connected with the fact that bearers of fore-language were really living in this zone and it was the basic zone of their settlement and also with the fact that, for example, they, living in the mountains or in the valley, interacted with adjacent zone and simply knew well its typical reality.

In the report there will be considered particular cases of this problem.