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Valentyn Stetsyuk (Lviv, Ukraine)

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Reasoning on the Origin of the Human Language


1. Introduction


There are extremely many works devoted to the origin of the language, its character, functions, and structure. It is almost impossible to say something new on this issue, because of same thoughts repeated by many researchers. This concerns the role of gestures, imitation of natural sounds, the importance of studying children’s speech, etc. However, the sheer volume of work suggests that the problem of glottogenesis remains as dark as it was a hundred years ago. Often, when scientists take up this topic, they investigate the alleged development of the language without establishing its original form. It is impossible to solve this problem by traditional methods. Here an attempt is making to approach its solution by using lexicostatistical data and data obtained by the graphoanalytical method.


Before starting the presentation of this approach, it is need to note that we will not touch on both the neurophysiological and social aspects of glottogenesis, leaving this to specialists, and to specify what exactly we mean by the word «language». There is no Generally accepted definition of language in linguistics is absent [BURLAK S.A. 2011]. The authoritative definition, which we take into account, is as follows:


Language is primarily the aggregate of words. The word is two-sided, like a medal. One side of it is external, sounding or visible (physical), the other is internal, inaudible and invisible (psychic). The first is the sounding or writing of a word, the second is its meaning or sense… Most words denote something that exists outside the language. These are objects and phenomena of the external reality or inner world of a person, about which thoughts are expressing in the process of communication of people [YAKUSHIN B.V. 1985: 5].

At present, unlike the opinions of some thinkers of ancient times, it seems to experts that the language was not given to a person from above and did not arise by itself in its finished form, but went a long way to a gradual improvement in sound communication mode. Nevertheless, the idea of the divine origin of the language has existed so far, causing debate as a result of a different understanding of divine intervention:


…whether the hand of the Creator is any the less clearly to be seen, and need be any the less devoutly acknowledged, in its production, if we regard man himself as having been created with the necessary impulses and the necessary capacities for forming language, and then as having possessed himself of it through their natural and conscious workings [WHITNEY WILLIAM DWIGHT. 1867: 399].


Further W. Schmidt (1868-1954) also considered the gift of God not as the language itself, but the human ability to form a language [PÄTSCH GERTRUD.1955: 69].

However, an agreement on the nature of the language development path is absent in the sense that this path is arbitrary or it was determined by the nature of man. According to some, such as F. de Saussure and his followers, language is a purely cultural construct, historically arising as a social product and inherited from generation to generation. Others believe that it is necessary to connect the language with other aspects of human evolution and biology, and its arbitrary origin, development, function, and structure can only be explained by faith in myth. In particular, Robin Allott, in his solid works, attracting the views of specialists from various fields of science for convincing reasons, proves that language cannot be completely artificial as a human creation. He considers language as the aggregate product of innate factors and the environment, provided that when mastering the language imprinting or some similar process works. He developed the motor theory of language [ALLOTT ROBIN. 1991, ALLOTT ROBIN. 1994], the main idea of which is that the language was constructed on the basis of a complex nervous motor system that man already had:


The programs and procedures which evolved for the construction and execution of simple and sequential motor movements formed the basis of the programs and procedures going to form language. At every level of language, from the elementary speech sounds, through the word-forms on to the syntactic rules and structures, language was isomorphic with the neural systems which already existed for the control of movement [ALLOTT ROBIN. 1991: 123].


It is from this theory that language cannot be arbitrary. To prove his assumption, R. Allott closely links the structure of the language and the structure of vision he closely links auditory and visual perception while processing the obtained information in the brain. He considers language as the aggregate product of innate factors and the environment, provided that imprinting or some similar process works when mastering the language. At the same time, he closely links the structure of the language and the structure of vision at similar processing of auditory and visual information in the brain [ALLOTT ROBIN. 2012-1, 2012-2]. Such a connection does exist, as can be seen even in everyday life.

Much earlier in a broad theoretical context, using analogies from various sciences, Noam Chomsky defined a new direction in the study of language, called generative linguistics. He is a great expert in syntactic structures, but syntax in the strict sense is a later category in the language than sound production at the very initial stage of its formation. The laws of constructing syntactic structures will manifest themselves more clearly when phonetic-semantic laws are clarified. Nevertheless, the study of syntax gave Chomsky reason to believe that the basis of man’s ability to assimilate knowledge in general and of language in particular lies an inborn biologically determined component. Speaking of an “innate basis” [CHOMSKY N. 1972: 115], he practically repeats the thought of W. Schmidt about the divine influence on the origin of the language. To a certain extent, a Russian scientist expressed a similar idea in a veiled form:


… the formation of signs of a human language is rather a development of a quality already existing, rather than the emergence of an absolutely new quality [VISHNYATSKIY L.B., 2002: 55].

In general, the problem of the origin of the language looks very complicated, multidimensional, and it can be complicated even more if we consider the following questions simultaneously:

1) Why, where and when did human tongue emerge?

2) How did the anatomical and neuro-psychological prerequisite necessary arise for the existence of a language?

3) What is the pattern of genesis of the signs that form the language?

4) How did the syntax evolve? [cf. NIKOLAYEVA T.M., 1996; VISHNYATSKIY L.B., 2002; BURLAK S.A., 2007].

Without reliable knowledge of the origin of man, it is impossible to answer these questions by considering them simultaneously. The problem should be solved in stages, going from simple to complex. At first determining man’s primary sounds, then the meaning of their combinations, one can obtain material for historical morphology. Patterns in combinations and placement of word-forms will give rise to diachronic syntax that is studying the transition from simple syntactic structures to complex sentences.

2. Approaches to solving the problem

Thus, the easiest task when studying the problem of the origin of the language is to restore its original form. Meanwhile, starting from ancient times, thinkers more thought about the essence of language, not having such data that modern science has. In modern times theoretical development of this topic began after the first attempts of Charles de Brosses (1709-1777) and Johann Herder (1744-1803). Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) believed that the formation of the language came naturally through the selection by a man of words for surrounding objects that produce an impression similar to the impression of them themselves and came to the following conclusion:


Just as a word evokes an idea of an object, it affects, in accordance with the peculiarities of its nature and at the same time with the characteristics of the object, although often imperceptibly, also a sensation corresponding to its nature and object, and the continuous flow of thoughts of a man is accompanied by the same continuous sequence of perceptions, which in degree and hue are determined primarily by the represented objects, according to the nature of words and language [HUMBOLDT, von WILHELM. 1820: 253].


By the end of the 19th century, many ideas of glottogenesis already existed, among which were the theories of D. Tiedemann, W. Wundt, L. Noire, H. Steinthal, F. Engels and many other theorists. As Yakushin claimed [YAKUSHIN B.V. 1985: 5], most philosophers believed that a primordial form of the language was created by man. Further, the philosophers’ thoughts diverged and none of the theories was deemed satisfactory, and obviously, therefore, in 1866, the Parisian linguistic society refused to consider studies on the origin of language and its evolution.

However, the problem was not removed from the agenda, because many scientists did not consider it completely hopeless:


The question of the origin of language, as a question not idle, but scientific, is the question of how human language occurred, what conditions created it, and it remains indifferent, whether human languages have one historical beginning or not. The solution of this question is possible with the current state of science [FORTUNATOV F.F. 1956: 61].


These lines were written more than 120 years ago, but no expected progress follow, although by the mid-70s of the last century about 15,000 works were published devoted to this issue [NIKOLAYEVA T.M. 1996: 79 and there were at least 23 fundamental theories of the origin of language [BURLAK S.A. 2011). None of these theories was convincing, so some scholars have come to think of the insolubility of this problem in general [ibid]. The theoreticians, who studied it, mainly demonstrated a heuristic approach after analyzing the apparent volume of information about linguistic phenomena and facts, as it was done, for example, by Friedrich Engels. He put forward the idea of the social-class essence of language, but without possessing the necessary knowledge, he too simplified the problem. One of the apologists of the communist doctrine, Marr, developed the idea of Engels in his “New Language Theory”. He and his followers in the USSR presented the development of the language as an evolution passing mainly through four stages successively replacing one another. “When a new stage is reached, the former one does not disappear completely, but continues to exist without any changes, i.e. it stops in its development” [VELMEZOVA EKATERINA. 2002: 94]. Each of these stages reflected one of types of social relations corresponding to the level of development of production means. The languages which stayed on particular levels and stopped in their development, in opinion Soviet linguists were the following:

- Chinese and some African languages – the first stage;

- Turkic, Mongolic, and Finno-Ugric languages – the second stage;

- Caucasian and Semitic languages, so called “Japhetic” – the third stage.

The Indo-European and some other languages are at the fourth stage and continue to develop [ibid]. However, the current economic situation in China completely refutes this contrived theory. Misconceptions about the existence of stages of language development guided Marr to the idea of the existence between them of certain boundaries that separate distinct phenomena in different components of the language, admitting at the same time the existence of substratum elements of the previous stage. In particular, at the level of phonetics, he proposed the following initial positions for the stage study of the language:


… all the words of all languages, since they are the product of one creative process, consist of only four elements, each word composed by one or two, less often three elements; the lexical composition of any language has no word containing anything in excess of all the same four elements. These four elements are denoted by… A, B, C, D; they, previously were called by us the tribal words SAL, BER, YON, ROSH, are the basis of the formal paleontological analysis of each word; without prior making of such an analysis, without decomposing a word into one, two or more of elements you cannot compare, without such analysis the comparative method is not valid [MARR N.Ya. 1936. V. II: 16].


The four word-forming elements in the language and the whole Marr’s “New Language Theory” were eventually rejected by Soviet linguists despite its obvious Marxist content. However, no new idea was proposed and the problem of the origin of the language was no longer seriously dared to study, it became so difficult. The linguists for a while actually practically withdrew themselves from it:


Since the question of the origin of a language could not be eliminated from the field of scientific interests at all, it was considered to be, at best, a matter of psychologists, anthropologists, etc., which can do little useful for linguists. [BULAKHOVSKYI L.A. 1975: 166].


A brief acquaintance with the history of the attitude of linguists to the question of the origin of a language is convincing about the subjectivity of evaluation of the possibility of its solution, which is depended on the level of etymological research. The attitude towards the dilemma of polygenesis or monogenesis of languages was also subjective without sufficient grounds for a final choice. Most likely, the idea of monogenesis is an inner conviction of individual scientists, what is clearly seen in [RULEN M. 1991]. However, by the end of the 20th century data were found that “eloquently evidence to the unity of origin of all modern language families of the world” [MELNYCHUK A.S. 1991: 28]. This statement implied a solution to the question of the origin of a language in favor of one common ancestor. This though did not develop in the following years and the idea of the monogenesis of the language was premature.


The failure of linguists to be productively engaged in the issue of the origin of language is a manifestation of the general crisis not only of linguistics, but also of the entire body of the humanities. Awareness of this crisis gives grounds to the generation of so-called “postmodernist” scientists to question the “fundamental principles of the science of modern times”. With this tendency Marr suddenly becomes relevant “as a forerunner of the postmodern approach to language and other phenomena” [ALPATOV I.M. 2006: 14].

This is not the place to look deeply at the causes of the crisis in linguistics, but one of them is the neglect of exact research methods. However, their use and, in particular, the graphic-analytical method, can provide linguists with new material for considering the problems of glottogenesis by an empirical method, and not in an ontological sense, as most philosophers have done so far. According to [VERNADSKIY V.L. 2004:15], an empirical generalization “does not differ of a fact established scientifically”.

The use of the graphic-analytical method allowed localizing the formation of the primary dialects of the Nostratic languages in the region of the Armenian Highlands and the nearest area [STETSYUK VALENTYN, 1998]. Presumably, the formation of Sino-Tibetan languages went off in the same places, the Caucasian languages arose in close proximity. The insignificant dimensions of this territory make it possible to say that all these languages belong to the same phonetic field therefore the main sounds of their languages should be the same or, at least, very close. This must be borne in mind when recreating the patterns of the initial stage of glottogenesis.

An assumption exists about metaphoric nature of the human proto-language [NIKOLAYEVA T.M. 1996: 81]. This overly general thought is difficult to develop in a particular direction. Theories based on this assumption are more or less poetic. Most likely, one should not delve into psychology, but retrospectively imagine possible features of the proto-language. Going in such way we come to the question of the origin of the primary linguistic signs. There are two points of view on this question:

One of them is that they initially had a verbal-sound character and grew out of various kinds of natural vocalizations characteristic for our distant ancestors, while the other assumes that sound language was preceded by a gesture language [VISHBYATSKIY L.B. 2002: 55].

However, since human tongue developed along the path of improving sound signals, the question of gesture language is narrower in nature and it did not determine the further development of the language, although it took part in this development.

3. The first human sounds

Certain facts for recreating the first sounds made by man are given by comparison of the sounds of those languages, the development of which can be traced historically to a certain time limit, with the sounds made by animals close to humans. In such way unknown for us sounds of primitive people of the intermediate stage of human evolution could be restored. The hypothetical sounds obtained in this way will be the basis for further conclusions, but the implementation of such method is the most difficult task:


The question of the origin of language rests primarily on the origin of the sound side of words and tongue, their semantic side is more often than not associated with thinking or external action and therefore seems less mysterious [YAKUSHIN B.V., 1985: 5].


The nature of sounds at an early stage of language development may be visible by phonographic texts of ancient times left by modern man (neoanthrop) on solid materials. There is no reason to talk about verbal communication between paleoanthropes (Neanderthals), because the construction of their larynx did not allow articulating vowel sounds, and the structure of the brain did not provide the possibility of abstract thinking [SMIRNOV S.V. 1997 :6]. At present, it seems an undeniable monophyletic theory, according which modern man is descended from one type of humanoid animals somewhere in one place of Africa. Accordingly, all the languages of the world had to undergo similar processes of formation connected with the common peculiarities of the articulation apparatus and human mental activity. Thus, ideas about the world around were associated with their reflection in a language form in a similar way.

Following Wilhelm Wundt, when they were born, languages did not have parts of speech, signs (predicates) of observed objects and phenomena were the main form of manifestation of the emerging feelings. Based on predicates, roots of new words arose and judgments were formed [YAKUSHIN B.V. 1985:51]. The peculiarity of the creation of new words was that in this process “morphology in its modern sense was absent; the only type of word creating was putting together of roots, i.e., the combination of two root words into one complex whole” [ANDREYEV, 1986:4). Obviously, root words originated from sound signals and intonation, gesticulation, and other possible means, for example, order, repetition, and the accent of individual sounds refined the logical connection between them. Initially, the sound signals were supposed to be ideophones, the meaning of which somehow corresponded to the sound, although this connection is almost absent in modern languages.

For a long time, there were adherents of phonetic symbolism who defended opinion, supposedly separate sounds, and even more so, their combinations are endowed with a semantic or expressive character. In 1930, English linguist John Rupert Firth called such sounds and sound combinations phonostems. Observation of the communication of people can convince that the phonostems are understandable by the interlocutor without explanation. For example, sounds m and n are understandable to people of different linguistic affiliations as a denial, especially when they are accompanied by shaking their heads in different directions. The same sound m can be understood as “I”, “my”, “me” if accompanied by nods of the head. Stop consonants demanded a one-time gesture that could point to another person or an object. Then sounds dh, th, d, t with a single upward movement of the head could mean “you”, “your”, “that”, “there”. Gradually, it became clear to people that the connections between sounds and their meaning clarified with the help of word creation by combining some limited set of sounds that a person possesses. The simplest sounds were vowels, which remained virtually unchanged until our days, and, as in our days, their pronouncing was accompanied by the expression of emotions reflected on the face. Consonants in combination with vowels began to develop to identify specific objects.


4. The principle “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”


The idea of the first consonants arises at observing the development of the child’s tongue, in which sounds emerge naturally (primarily, the labial consonants). If we proceed from the principle of Haeckel “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”, then the evolution of the human language should be similar to the development of the child’s tongue from the moment of its birth. A similar idea has already been expressed by V.I. Abaev:


… the formation of consciousness and language in children in a “condensed» form repeats the process of formation of consciousness and speech in a primitive person [ABAYEV V.I. 1993, 10 – quoted from BURLAK S.A. 2011].


The importance of observing the development of a child’s tongue for the reconstruction of language evolution is long known:


… specialists in children’s tongue believe that children’s language develops independently within certain time limits. Therefore, we can assume, taking into account the concept of hereditary or generic memory adopted by psychologists, that the first manifestations of linguistic ability somehow characterize the process of the emergence of language [ibid: 66].


There is, however, a different view of the meaning of the study of children’s tongue for the restoration of the historical process of language development. Paedomorphosis theory, built on the study of the development of a child’s speech, suggests that human languages consistently replace those features that children learn later on to those that appeared in a child’s tongue earlier [NIKOLAYEVA T.M. 1996:83]. In other words, the evolution of a language represents a movement backward, embedded in our genes, what in general contradicts most of the data on human evolution. Many scholars have criticized this theory [LIEBERMAN, 1984; WIND 1988], but it should be recognized that it has a rational grain. Linguistic illustrations confirming the paedomorphosis theory generally relate to the field of morphology and syntax, and this can confirm the views of Chomsky on the inherent grammatical principles of man. However, observations of the sound side of children’s tongue convincingly testify to the increasing complexity of the sounds uttered by the child during growing. Since we are only interested in the process of arising of the language, then the assimilation of the first and subsequent sounds by the child can help us to imagine this process.

When a child exhales with the simultaneous opening of the lips, it is easily formed the sound ph, which, with the participation of the vocal cords, turns into sound combination phә, bhә, pa, ba. What the child expresses with these sounds should not be assumed prematurely without additional evidence, therefore further reasoning cannot be associated with the theory called by Max Müller “pfui-pfui”, according to which the first sounds made by a person expressed certain feelings. However it is indicative that words having meaning “to blow”, formed during exhalation, are begun by sounds pu, bu- in many languages of the world (PFU. *puš-, PIE. *-, *peu-, PST. *, PTM. *, Kor. pučha, pūl-, Jap. fusubur. When exhaling through the nose, the sound m and other similar phonodtema are formed. Hearing catches the difference in their sounding and can use these phonostema as audible signal when communication giving for each of them a sense according to the situation. At the same time, certain patterns are manifested in the children’s babble:

The babble has a number of non-trivial features. For example, the most frequent type of syllable is the type “consonant + vowel”. The same type is the single allowable in all the languages of the world). The set of possible consonants and vowels (if we keep in mind only those that repeat consistently, not taking into account unique events) is extremely limited; combinations of a consonant with a vowel within the same syllable are not accidental, but they are subject to the principle of inertia: dental consonants correlate with front vowels, back lingual with back (rounded) ones, labial consonants join with central or neutral vowels, and these correlations do not depend (or only partially depend) on adopting language. Sequences of two syllables in babbling, as a rule, are reduplications, while unreduced sequences of syllables most often begin with a labial consonant (this is due to the fact that labial consonants are easier to pronounce), while in the second syllable there is a lingual consonant [BURLAK S.A. 2007:43].


It can be assumed that according to such patterns, the birth of human speech took place when the first sounds were neutral vowels like “schwa” (ә), corresponding to the natural position of the tongue, and bilabial consonants b, bh, p, ph, m. To determine the first concepts fixed in the mind, related to certain sound signals, we can compare the most common and, accordingly, the most ancient words of different languages, which are beginning with rounded consonants of different types. If we select from them distinct semantic fields, analysis of which can give us grounds for some conclusions. In order to answer the question about the possibility of the common origin of all the languages of the world, such work has to be carried on the materials of as many languages as possible of the most diverse language families.


5. Comparison of etymological complexes


At one time, one suggested that the idea of restoring a primitive language by comparing existing languages is a chimera [YAKUSHIN B.V. 1985:66]. However, it all depends on the comparison methodology, which may be different. The very process of comparing the sound composition of words of different languages of a certain semantic field will give an answer to the question of the existence of patterns in the name of the same objects by different people. Obviously, O. Melnychuk had the same idea [MELNYCHUK A.S. 1991: 28], when he wrote, about the obtained data testifying to the unity of origin of all the languages of the world:

These data are a series of extensive phonetically correlative etymological complexes, which regularly repeated in the languages of each family, with large bundles of interconnected elementary meanings and with a specific, still not noted complex system of structural variants of the root, the same for each etymological complex.

Melnychuk based his opinion on a wide experience of working with the vocabulary of many languages when editing the etymological dictionary of the Ukrainian language and on the intuition of a great scientist. He did not make a broad comparison of such complexes, and this is beyond possibility of one researcher, but the first experience of such work was nevertheless done, and its results are presented here. In the course of this work, the following was taken into account:

… in the primitive language there existed only a very limited number of sounds and sound combinations and the range of the meanings of words was also very limited here, and these meanings would seem extremely uncertain from the point of view of a modern person with a developed language. [FORTUNATOV F.F. 1956:60].

A comparison of etymological complexes was carried out for some European and Asian languages. The Turkic languages were included to European languages in accordance with the place of their formation in Eastern Europe after results of research using the graphic-analytical method [STETSYUK VALENTYN, 1998: 48-52]. The inclusion of the Turkic languages in the Altai family is erroneous, exactly as the idea of the first Turks as Mongoloids. Mongoloid features developed in part of the Turks after mixing them with the aborigines of Asia, with whom they came into contact after migrating from Eastern Europe to Altai. According, the comparison of Asian languages in this work was fulfilled on the materials of the Sino-Tibetan and Altai languages without Turkic. The lexical material was taken from the Global Lexicostatistical Database as well from etymological and bilingual dictionaries (see References).


5.1 European languages


For comparison, the lexical material of the Nostratic (Kartvelian, Turkic, Indo-European, Finno-Ugric) languages was taken and to them belonging, possibly, of North Caucasian. The analysis starts with syllable phonostems phә-/pә, bhә-/bә-, mә- and their modifications. The search for correspondences for them in one semantic field gave the results presented below.


5.1.1 Phonostems phә-, pha-, phe-. Their possible modifications and divergences


(1) North Caucasian languages: pa-, pe-, pi-, ba-, be-, etc.

Andi, Akhv., Khw., Lak baba, Avar. buba, Cham. babu, Archi buwa and others similar “mother”, Abaz. pahčwi “ancestor”, Ab. a-piza, Ad. paš, Chech., Ing. bačča “chieftain, leader”, Ab. a-pšwma “master, host”, Avar. beter, Udi bul “head”, Andi beterhan, Kar. betirhan, Avar. bečed, Udi bixažuq “god”, Andi burta, Kar., Akhv. bečedo-b, Tsezi, Hin. bečedaw “rich”, Ab. a-birg, Ub. bažw “old man”).

This set forms the following semantic field: “mother”, “ancestor”, “chieftain, leader”, “head”, “god”, “rich”, “grandfather, old man”.


(2) Kartvelian languages: pa-, pe-, ba-, be-, etc.

Georg. papa, Ming. papu “grandfather”, Georg. bebia “grandmother”, batoni “master, lord”, berikac-i, Ming. badid-i, Laz badi “old man”.

Semantic field: “grandfather, grandmother”, “old man”, “lord, master”.


(3) Turkic languages: pa-, pe-, ba-, be- → apa-, aba-, etc.

Trc. apa “senior relative”, aba “grandparent, ancestors”, Turkm., Tat., Kyrg. baba “gra-

ndfather”, Tur. baba “father, parent”, Tat. babaj “grandfather, father-in-law, old man”, Chuv. papaj “old man, grandfather”, papay “Chuvash god”, Trc., Turkm. beg, Gag., Kaz. bej, Tur. bey, Yak. bahyj, and others similar “master, lord”, Gag., Turkm., Tat., Kaz. baš, Tur. baş, Uzb. boš, Yak. bas, and others similar “head”, Chuv. pujan, S.-Alt., Tuv. paj, Gag., Turkm., Kaz. baj, and others similar “rich”.

Semantic field: “ancestors”, “grandfather, old man”, “father”, “lord, master”, “head”, “god”, “rich”. The latter value is associated with social status.


(4) Indo-Euriean languages: pā-, pǝ-, pāu-, pū-, ba-, etc.

Slav. baba “old woman”, Ind. pitár, Av. pitar, Arm. hair (*pǝtēr), Gr. patēr, Lat. pater “father”, Ind. purā́, Alb. pa “before, formerly”, Gr. peos, “kinsman, relative”, Ind. Pūṣáṇ “same god”, Gr. Pān “Greek god”, Slav. Perunú “Slavic god”, Ind. páti-, Av. paiti- “master, lord”, Lith. pàts “husband”, Ind. píparti “sit ober, lead”, Lat. portāre “to lead, drive”, pāstor “herdsman”, Slav. pasti “to pasture”, Toch. pās-, pāsk- “to beware, guard”, Lat. polēre “to be strong”, Arm. hast “hard, tough”, Ic. fastr, Sax. fast, OE. festi, and others similar “strong, hard”.

Semantic field: “old woman”, “father”, “god”, “kinsman, relative”, “before, formely”, “master, lord”, “herdsman”, “to defend”, “to beware, guard”, “strong, hard”, “to lead, drive”.


(5) Finno-Ugric languages: pa-, pe-

The voiceless sounds pa-, pe- can correspond with their voiced matches b, bh absent in a Proto-Finno-Ugric protolanguage. See below.

Common semantic field for phonostems phә-, pha-, phe- in all languages includes the following concepts: “ancestors”, “father”, “mother”, “grandfather”, “old woman”, “old, senior”, “leader, lord”, “head”, “shepherd”, “to take care of”, “to lead, drive”, “god”, “rich”, “strong, hard”. Phonetic and semantic development of phonostems can be assumed in the direction from the meaning “ancestor” (father, mother, grandfather, woman, old) to the categories “senior, leader, lord”, “god”. Other derivative words took on similar meanings: “head”, “herdsman”, “to defend, guard”, “to lead, drive”. The words “rich”, “strong, hard”, were formed as definitions for persons of high social status or deity.

Attention is drawn to the fact that in the designation of ancestors in the male line a certain uniformity is observed, while the name of the mother even in related languages uses words from very different roots, which are often also used to refer to other adult relatives, such as “father”, “(elder) sister”, “woman”, “grandfather”, “aunt”, “uncle”. The most common of them are aba, ama, ana, aka, ani, ata, ava, baba, buba, dada, deda, dida, ema, ena, ima, ijo, ila, mam, mama, nana, nena, nin, non. Explaining of this diversity has to look for in psychology.


5.1.2 Phonostems bha-, bhe-. Their possible modifications and divergences


(1) North Caucasian languages: ba-, be-, pe-, wa-, wi-, etc.

Chech., Ing. ber, Tab. bicir “child”, Ab. a-pa, Abaz. pa, Chech., Ing. woʕ, Avar. was, Andi wošo, Bagv. waša, Tindi waha, Cham. waha, woša, Tsezi uži “son”, Ab. a-pha, Abaz. pha, Ub. phja “daughter”, Akhv. wacoša, Udi wičә-kar “nephew”, Chech. waša, Ing. woša, Avar. wac, Andi woči, Tindi waci, Darg. uzi, Udi wiči “brother”, Ab. a-wa “relatives”, Ub. wišak, wašak” servant”, Ab. a-wira, Udi bixesun “to be born”, Ub. wišak, wašak “servant”, Bagv. bižila, Hun. bigla “to grow”, Ad. wici, Chech., Ing. buc, God. besi, Tsezi bix, Khw., Bezh. box, Hin. bex “grass”, Avar. bačin, Cham. wuhe, Udi borzu “harvest”.

Semantic field: “child”, “son, nephew, brother”, “daughter”, “relative”, “servant”, “to be born, grow”, “harvest”, “grass”.

(2) Kartvelian languages: ba- → be-, bo-, wa-, wo-, o-, gw-, etc.

Georg. važ-i, Laz bere “son”, Laz bozo “daughter”, Ming. bos-i “boy”, Georg. ožax-i, gvar-i, Svan wodžax, gwar “family, kin”, Ming. badeba “to be born”, Georg. balax-i “grass”.

Semantic field: “son, boy”, “daughter”, “family, kin”, “servant”, “to be born”, “grass”.

(3) Turkic languages: ba-, bo-, bu-, be-, etc.

Turkm., Tur., Kum., Tat., Bashk., Kaz., Kyrg. bala, and others similar, Gag. pali, Chuv. papa, Tur., Karach., Balk. bebek, Tat. bäbi, Kaz. bebe, and others similar, “child”, Gag. baša, Karach., Balk., Tuv. baž’a, Kaz. baža, Khak. paža, and others similar “son-in-law”, Turkm. bažy, Tur. bacı, Yak. baxys “sister”, Tur. bulanmak, Karach., Balk. bolurga, Bashk. bulyu, Kaz. bolu, and others similar “to be”, Gag., Tur. var, Karach., Balk., Tat., Kaz., bar, Yak. baar “to exist”, Turkm., Tur. bitmek “to grow”.

Semantic field: “child”, “son, son-in-law”, “sister”, “to be, exist”, “to grow”.

(4) Indo-European: bha-, bheu-, bhō̆u-, bhū-, bher-, etc.

Ind. bhávati “prosper”, Av. bavaiti “gets, going on”, būšyeiti “appears”, Alb. buronj “beginning, source, to occur”, Arm. bois “shoot, grass, plant”, Gr. pherma, Arm. ber “fruit, cereals, harvest”, Pers. bar “fruit”, Alb. ber “grass”, Gr. phitu “sprout, shoot”, phulon “kind, gender”, Lat. fīō, fī̆erī “made, existing”, Lith. bū̃vis “being, life”, Prus. buwinait “live!”, Let. bûšana “being, essence”, Slav. byti “to be”, Ic. byrð “birth”, Ind. bhrūṇá- “embryo”, Goth. barn “child”, Alb. bir “son”, Lith. bernas “servant”.

Semantic field: “be, grow, live, exist”, “occur, be born, appear”, “child”, “servant”, “fruit, cereals”, “grass, plant”, “sprout, shoot”.


(5) Finno-Ugric languages: pa-, pe- → apa-, po-, pu-, wo-, we-, etc.

The words of the Finno-Ugric languages containing sounds p, w can correspond to the words of other European languages, which have or had sounds b, bh.

Hung. apa “father”, Fin. appi “father-in law”, pää, Est. pea, Hung. fej, fö, Mok. pria “head”, Udm. peres’, pesiataj, Mari pöle, Komi pöl’ “ancestor, grandfather”, Mari peŋyde “strong, hard”, Mord. panems, Mari poktaš, Khan. pögtä “to drive”. Veps poig, Mok., Erz. piji, Est. poeg, Fin. poika, Mari pu, Udm., Komi pi, Hung. fiú “boy”, Fin. veikko, Sami vogk, Komi vok, Fin., Est. vend “brother”, Mari pošaš, Udm. budyny, Komi bydmyny, Udm. vordyny, Komi verdny “to grow, grow up”, Hung. van, Mord. ulems, Komi vövny, and others similar “to be, exist”, Veps barb, vic, Fin. varpa, vitsa, Komi uv, Udm. ul “branch, twig”, Khan. wangži, Mansi wansin “grass”, Veps vaza, Mord. vas, Fin. vasa, Mari waza, and others similar “calf”.

Semantic field: “to be, exist”, “father”, “head”, “ancestor, grandfather”, “boy”, “brother”, “to grow, grow up”, “branch, twig”, “strong, hard”, “to lead, drive”, “grass”, “calf”.

Common semantic field for phonostems bha-, bhe-: “child, young animal”, “son, nephew, brother”, “son-in-law”, “boy”, “daughter”, “relative”, “family, kin”, “servant”, “to be, to exist”, “to be born”, “to grow”, “fruit, cereals”, “harvest”, “grass”, “branch, rod”.

Some Indo-European words of the root bher- are associated with the meaning “take, carry, bring” (Slav. brati, Ind. bharati “brings”, Arm. berem, Lat. fero “to carry” etc.) From other European languages, you can put under consideration only the Türkic with the meaning “give” (Turkm. bermek, Tat. birü, Kaz. beru, Uzb. bermoq etc.), nothing similar was found in other languages. Obviously, the original meaning of the word bher- was “to come, to appear”, from which originate words with the meaning “child, fruit” and the like, as well as words with converse meaning “to bring, take” and “to give”.

5.1.3 Phonostems ma-, me-. Their possible modifications and divergences

As it was mentioned above the single sound m is used as the second-person of

personal pronoun. This is true for the Kartvelian, Turkic, Indo-European and Finno-Ugric languages, but this sound is used to form a first-person personal pronoun in the North Caucasian languages (Avar. mun, Andi min, men, Bagv. me, Akhv. mene, God. min, Tsezi mi etc. “you”). This difference is explained by the opposite understanding of the gesture, accompanied by the sound of m when communicating two people who do not know a common language. Such uncertainty is absent in the nomination of clear objects. We continue consideration.

(1) North Caucasian languages: ma- → mo-, mu-, etc.

Chech. moh, Ing. muh, Tsezi mo, Bezh. mähä, Lez. maq, Ag. maw, Hin. mi, mä, and others similar “fat”, God. manza “food”, Darg. maha, Lez. meft, Udm. ma “brain”, Chech., Ing. moz “honey”, Ing. mäq, Tsezi magalu “bred”, Ad. meәđi, Kab. međ “sheep”, Lez. mirg, Ag. murx, Rut. mix “deer”.

Semantic field: “fat”, “food”, “brain”, “bread”, “honey”, “sheep”, “deer”.

(2) Kartvelian languages: ma-, me-, bha-, etc.

Ming. manger-i, Geotg. marcval-i “grain”, Svan manāš “rye”, mengre “fleshy”, Ming., Laz bža “milk”, Georg. mosaval-i, Ming. monari-i “harvest”, Georg. maril-i “salt”.

Semantic field: “harvest”, “grain”, “rye”, “milk”, “salt”.

(3) Turkic languages: ma-, me- → ba-, bu-, bul-, etc.

Trc. meŋ “food”, Gag. maja, Turkm., Tat., Kaz., Kyrg. maj, and others similar “fat, brain”, Turkm., Kaz., Kyrg. maral, and others similar “deer”, Tat. bolan, Kaz., Uzb., Kyrg. bulan, Chuv. pălan “deer”, Trc. bulan “elk”, Tur., Turkm., Tat., Kaz., Kyrg. bagir “liver”, Gag. börek, Turkm. böwrek, Tur. böbrek, Kaz. büjrek, Kyrg. böjrok “kidneys”, Trc. meŋilä- “to eat brain”, meji, Chuv. mimĕ, Tur. beyin, Karach., Balk. myjy, Tat. mi, Kaz. bejit, Uzb. mija “brain”, Trc., Tur., Turkm., Tat., Kaz., Kyrg. bal, Chuv. pyl “honey”. Primary m could be transformed into Turkic languages in b and back or in p in Chuvash.

Semantic field: “food”, “fat”, “brain”, “liver”, “kidneys”, “honey”, “deer, elk”.

(4) Indo-European languages: ma-, me-, etc.

Ind. mēdas- “fat”, majján, majjā́, majjas- “brain”, māṁsá-, Goth. mimz, Slav. męso, Toch. misa, and others similar “flesh”, Av. mazga- “brain”, Ind. mádhu-, Arm. meɫr, Alb. mjal, Lith. medùs, Lat. mel, mellis “honey”, Lat. mulgēre, Lith. mìlžti, OHG. melchan, Slav. mlěsti, and others similar “to milk”.

Semantic field: “meat”, “brain”, “honey”, “milk”.

(5) Finno-Ugric languages: ma-, me-

Veps, Est. maks, Mord., Fin. maksa, Sami muökse, Udm., Komi mus, Mansi majt “liver”, Fin. marja, Est. mari, Mari mör, Mansi morax “berry”, Fin. mäti, Mari mortn’o, Udm., Komi myz’, Khan. märän, and others similar “caviar”, Fin., Est. mesi, Mari, Komi ma, Udm. mu, Hung. méz, Mansi mag, and others similar “honey”, Udm. mös, Komi, Khan. mes, Mansi mis “cow”, Veps maid, Fin. majto, Sami majjt, and others similar “milk”, Fin. mehu, Est. mahl “juice”.

Semantic field: “liver”, “berry”, “caviar”, “honey”, “milk”, “juice”, “cow”.

The meaning of modifications of the phonostems ma-, me- in all languages as “prey, food” (“meat”, “liver”, “kidney”, “fat”, “brain”, “honey”, “bread”, “sheep”, “deer”, and others) is clearly defined. The preservation and maintenance of life was the basic instinct for primitive man, and it is not surprising that his first words took on just such a meaning. At the same time, the meanings of the same phonostems were directed to the informational-signal side, and over time they spread to mental activity closely related to the language. Let us consider the examples.

(6) North Caucasian languages: ma-, me- → ni-, etc.

Chech., Ing. mott, Avar. mac, Bagv. miš, Cham. mič, Bezh. mic, Lez. mez, Udi muz

“tongue”, Bezh. nisal, Hun. nisa “to say”, Ub. maša, Lak maq “word”, Akhv. mačunula, Bot. masi “to tell”, Bats mottar “to seem”, Ad. maqe, Kab. maq “voice”, Cham. māna “to follow”, Avar. maλize, Andi moλidu, Kar. maλaλa, Akhv. maλiλa, God. maλi, Tsezi moλa “to teach”.

Semantic field: “language”, “word”, “to say, tell”, “to seem”, “voice”, “to follow”, “to teach”.

(7) Kartvelian languages: ma-, me- → ene-, ne-, ni-, etc.

Georg. ena, Ming. nina “language”, Laz nena “word”, Svan li-mqer-i “understand”, Georg. makhsovs “to remember”, morčileba, Laz meudž-u “obey”, Georg. martva “to order”, Ming. meturapa “imitate”, Georg. močvendeba “to seem”.

Semantic field: “language”, “word”, “to understand”, “memory”, “to seem”, “to obey”, “to order”.

(8) Turkic languages: ma- → be-, em-, etc.

Gag. belli, Turkm., Tur., Karach., Balk., Kaz., Uzb. belgi “sign”, Turkm. magtamak, Tat. maktanu, Uzb. maqtamok, Kyrg. maktoo, Yak. maxtan “to praise”, Turkm. üm, Kaz. ym, Tuv., Khak. im “sign, signal”.

Semantic field: “sign, signal”, “to praise”.

(9) Indo-European: ma-, men-, mereĝ-, emen-, en(o)mn̥-, nōmn̥-, etc.

Gr. menuō “to indicate”, Lith. mó-ju, mó-ti, Slav. machati “to wave, hand sign”, Ind. mahati “to appreciate, respect”, Ic. mark “sign”, Ind. mánas-, Av. manah- “sense”, Ind. mányatē, Av. mainyeite, Slav. müniti “to think”, Lat. memŏrāre “to remember”, Ind. mēdhā́, Arm. i-manam “to understand”, Slav. mǫdrú “wise”, Alb. emën, Slav. jümę, Ind. nā́ma, Arm. anun, Lat. nōmen, Ger. Name, Goth. namo, and others similar “name”.

Semantic field: “sign”, “give a sign”, “to respect”, “sense”, “to think”, “memory”, “name”.

(10) Finno-Ugric: ma-, man-, nem- etc.

Sami muone “to name”, Mari manaš, Hung. mond, and others “to tell”, Est. nimi, Sami namma, Udm., Komi nim, Khan. nem, Mansi näm, and others similar “name”, Veps mel’, Fin. mieli, Sami. miella “sense, reason”, Udm. mylkyd “mood”.

Semantic field: “to speak”, “to thought”, “name”, “sense”, “memory”.

According to the common semantic field of all languages, we can conclude that the phonostems ma-, me-, and their modifications developed in the root word from the meaning “sign, signal” to such categories as “word, name”, “to name”, “to speak”, “to mark with”. Then they developed in one direction “sense, meaning, think, reason”, and in the other direction “to value, respect, honor”.

In the study of root structures, Melnychuk (1991:28-29) drew attention to the functional and parallelism of root consonants being near articularly in phenomena of type I.E. *ghabh-/kap-/að-(eð-) “to grab, seize, take”. Similar parallelism of consonants can be found also in languages of other families. They can be based on sounds that are involuntarily emitted by a child during actions that require certain efforts. Labor activity of an adult person was also accompanied by similar sounds when doing heavy work. For example, a person quacks, makes a sound of complex articulation at sudden movements during tree felling. Different people can have it different, but in its composition has always a stop velar. The initial sounds, when forming a word characterizing such work, took the form of g, k or č transformed out of k. The development of semantics led to the formation of words with the meaning “sharp” and to the names of sharp tools and work with them.

5.1.4 Phonostems ka-, ča-, če-. Their possible modifications and divergences

(1) North Caucasian languages: ča-, ka-, če-, etc.

Abaz. bqara, Kar. čijλa, čwaraλa, Cham. čina “to beat, hit”, God. čindi, Chech. cesta, Tsak. qaxas “to cut”, Avar. kotiza, Kar. čirala “to hack”, Ub canišw, Bezh., Hun. čit, Lak čila, Ag., Rut. kant “knife”, Cham. kota, Tsak. kira “ax”, Ab. a-car, Abaz. cara “sharp”.

(2) Kartvelian languages: ke-, če-, ce-, etc.

Georg. cema, Svan li-qer “to beat, hit”, Ming. čkirua, Laz o-čkir-u “to cut”, Georg.

kapva, Ming. kvatua “to hack”, Ming. kvaga “ax”, Georg., Ming. cel-i “scythe”, Svan

kucaj “sharp”.

(3) Turkiv languages: ča-, ka-, ke-, etc.

Turkm. çapmak, Tat. çabu, Kaz. šabu, Uzb. čopmoq, Tuv. šavar, and others similar “to hack”, Chuv. kas, Kaz. kesu, Uzb. kesmoq, Kyrg. kesuu and others similar “to cut”, Turkm. çaqmak, Tat. čagu, Uzb. çaqmok “to prick”, Turkm., Uzb. kesgir, Gag. keskin, and others similar “sharp”.

(4) Indo-European languages: kāu-, kǝu-, k̂es-, (s)ker-, etc.

Ind. śā́sti, śáśati, Ic. scera “to cut”, OHG. sceran “to cut off”, Gr. κeirō “to shave”, Lat. cūdō, -ere, Lith. káuju, kóviau “to hit, bump”, Toch. kot-, kaut- “to prick”, Slav.kujǫ,kovati “to beat, forge”, Let. cirvis “ax”.

(5) Finno-Ugric languages: ko-, ke-, ki-, čә-, etc.

Fin. kolista, Est. kolkima, Mari kopkaš, kyraš, čačaš, Udm. kyryny, kokany, Komi

kotškyny, Khan. čәqalta “to beat, knock”, Udm. korany, Komi keravny “to hack”, Hung. kés, Mari küzö, Khan. kösәg “knife”.

Common semantic field: “to beat, hit”, “to cut”, “to hack”, “knife”, “ax”, “sharp”.

5.2 Asian languages

The patterns of development and transfer of bilabial consonants in Asian languages have not yet been established, therefore, the whole lexical complexes containing initial bilabial phonostems was divided according semantic fields, taking into account the experience of European languages.

5.2.1 Semantic field: “to be, to exist”, “to bear, to be born”, “to grow”

The structure of this semantic field includes such concepts as “ancestors” (“grandfather”, “grandmother”, “old woman”), “parents” (“father”, “mother”, “husband”, “man”, “women”), “old, senior”, “family, kin”, “child” (“young”, “young animal”, “boy”, “girl”, “son”, “daughter”, “servant”), “relative” (“nephew”, “brother”, “cousin”, “niece”, “son-in- law”, “daughter-in-law”). They evolve into lower level concepts – “leader, lord”, “head”, “to lead, drive”, “shepherd”, “to take care of ”, “god”, “priest”, “rich” (“abundant”, “much”, “many”, “very”), “strong, hard”, “to take-give”, and further “plant”, “flower”, “tree”, “twig”, “root”, “grass”.

(1) Sino-Tibetan languages.

Tib. ãbru “grain, seed”, ãbraŋ “to bear, bring forth, give birth”, Burm. up “to rule, govern”, Kach. up “to preside over, to rule”, Lush. op “to rule, govern”, Tib. ãba

“magician, sorcerer, conjurer”, Chin. *baʔ “father; old man”, *b_ar “abundant”, *pāŋ “very, much”, *b_āŋ “forceful, overbearing”, Lush. bul “root”, Lush. bar, Burm. praŋh “very, much”, Burm. pajh “bean”, phwah “bear, be born”, Lush. piaŋ “to be born, come into being”, Kach. phun “tree, bush, a stalk”, Burm. pwij- “to hold, embrace, take into arms”, Lush. phur “to bear”, Chin. *pa “man”, Kir. boku “husband”, Lush. paŋ-pār “a flower”, Kir. bhu “tree”, Tib. pha -pa, -po “male, man” (affixes), Kir. bocū “husband”, Tib. a-pha, pha, Lush. pa, Kir. pap “father”, Tib. pho “man, male”,Burm. pijh, Lush. pe (pēk) “to give”, Tib. phji, Burm. phijh, Lush. pi “grandmother”, Tib. bu “son, child”, Kir. *pu “bird, chicken, young of bird”, Chin. *bōk “servant, follower”, Tib. phrug “a child, a young one”, ãbrog-phrug “boy”, Kach. wa “man, male”, Tib. maŋ “much”, Burm. maŋh “king”, Lep. món “much, many”, Lush. māk-pa “a sister’s or daughter’s husband”, Kir. *mer “to ripen”, “to become fat”, Lep. myók “a bridegroom, a son-in-law”, Kir. moksi, mokcu “a son-in-law”, Lush. mi “a person, a man”, Kir. min “a person”, Burm. minh-ma “woman, wife”, Lep. mít, a-mít “a female”, Kir. mīś “wife”, mīś- mur “woman”, Tib. mo “woman”, Lush. mo “a bride, daughter-in-law”, Lep. ku-mo “a lady”, Chin. *mǝ̄ʔ “mother”, Tib. ma “mother”, Burm. maj “mother”, Lep. mo, a-mo

“mother”, Kir. mam “mother”, Chin. *min “people”, Tib. mi “man”, Burm. mǝwh “give birth”.

(2) Mongolic languages. Phonostems ab-, am-, ba-, bu-, ma-, pa-, and their possible modifications.

Mong. abu, Bur. aba-, Kal. aw- “to take”, Mong. abu “paternal uncle”, Bur. aba-, Kal. āwe- “father”, Mong. amban, Bur. amba, Kal. ambn “big, large, official”, Mong. obu, Khal. ovog, Bur obog “clan, family”, Mong. ebei, Bur. abi, Kal. ewe “mother”, Khal. bacgan, Bur. basagan “girl”, Mong. baɣa, Kal. baɣǝ, Bur., Khal. baga “young”, Mong., Khal. balčir, Bur. balšar, Kal. balčir “infant”, Mong., Khal., Bur. bari “to take”, Mong. barlu, Khal. barlag “servant”, Mong. batu, Bur. bata, Kal. bate “hard”, Mong. Bur. beje, Khal. bije “body, person”, Mong. buke “strong”, Kal. beke, Bur. bexi “firm, hard”, Mong., Bur. beri, Khal. ber “daughter-in-law, bride”, Mong. biraɣu, Bur. burū, Kal. bürü “calf”, Mong. bo, Mong. bo’ol, Khal, Bur., Kal. bōl “servant”, Mong., Khal., Bur., Kal. bol- “to become”, Middle Mong. bue, Bur., Kal. bī “to be”, Mong. bülü, Khal. bül, Bur., Kal. büle “cousin”, “niece”, Mong., Bur., Kal. mana “to graze, guard”, Mong. mendü, Bur., Kal. mende “sane, healthy”, Mong. mömü, Khal. mōm, mōmō “female breast”.

(3) Tungus-Manchu languages. Phonostems am-, aw-, ba-, ma-, pa-, and their possible modifications.

Ev. awus “husband of elder sister”, Even āwụs “husband of father’s or mother’s younger sister”, Nan. aosị, Ulcha aụsị “brother-in-law, son-in-law”, Man. amba “big”, Nan., Ulcha amban “big”, Ev., Orok amŋa, Even amŋa, Ev. emugde “female deer”, Man. emile “female”, Nan. emxe “mother-in-law”, Neg. epa “father’s elder brother”, Man. efu “elder sister’s husband”, Oroch epere “grandfather”, Ulcha, Orok, Oroch upa, Nan. opa “flour”, Ev., Ulcha baldi, Ev. bald- “to bear, be born”, Ev., Neg. beje, Even, bej, Ev., Ulcha, Nan. bener, Neg. bene “younger relative-in-law”, Man., Ev., Even, Ulcha, bi, and others similar “to be”, Ev. burgu, Neg. bojgo, Nan. bujgu, and others similar “fat, thik”, Man. bu, Ev., and others similar bū “to give”, Ev., Even, Ulcha, Orok. and many others mō “tree”, Ulcha puli, Orok pulu, Nan. polo, Ev. hula “ash tree, asp tree, poplar”, Ev. maŋa, Even maŋna-, Neg. maŋg-, and others similar “matchmaker”, Ev., Neg., Nan. majin, Even majis “protecting spirit”, Orok, Nan. masi “strong, hard”, Man., Nan. meme “female breast”, Man. muχan “male”, Nan. moχan “man, male”, Oroch mueti “male”.

(4) Japanese Language. Phonostems am-, wa-, ma-, pa-, and their possible modifications.

Old Jap. amane- “plenty”, opo- “big, many”, opomono “food”, waka- “young”, warapa “child”, wo(nokwo), wotokwo “man”, womina, mije “woman”, matur-, wija, wogam- “to worship”, wor-, wi “to be”, Middle Jap. makanaf- “to feed”, Old Jap. mamwor- “to guard, protect”, pa “leaf”, pana “flower”, papa “mother”, papuri “priest”, pjito “man”, pu “growth”, puru- “old”, um- “to bear”, Middle Jap. mùkó “son-in-law, bridegroom”, mus- “to be born”, musu-me “girl”, woto-mje “girl”.

(5) Korean language. Phonostems ab-, am-, ma-, pa-, pha-, and their possible modifications.

Modern Kor. abǝǯi “father”, am “woman, wife, female”, ebeni “parents”, mat “the eldest”, mān, muri “many”, mǝri “head”, mom “body”, mòńí- “to graze”, pǟ- “to be pregnant”, pam “chestnut”, pe-n-namu “birch”, pǝdɨl “poplar, willow”, phuri “grass”, piroso “beginning”, poŋori “bud”, p:uri “root”, pho “many”, pieŋari “chicken”, Middle Kor. psi “seed”, namu “tree”.

For the components of the semantic field “to be, to exist”, “to bear, to be born”, “to grow” and its extensions in Asian languages, the same phonostems ab-, ba-, pa- and their possible modifications are used as in European languages and also phonostems based on the nasal bilabial m, which in principle could have evolved from a bilabial estop b.

5.2.2 Semantic field:“prey”, “food”, “fat”, “tasty, sweet”.

The structure of this semantic field includes such concepts as “harvest”, “grain”, “meat”, “liver”, “kidney”, “fish”, “deer”, “elk”, “ram”, “goat”, “sheep”, “honey”, “milk”, “bread”, “gruel”, “beans”, and others.

(1) Sino-Tibetan languages

Chin. *b_ǝn “ram, goat”, *bǝj, *b(h)aŋ “fat”, Kach. ma, mam “paddy”, Lush. berām “a sheep”, mam “paddy, rice, food”, Tib. mar “butter, oil”, Kach. sǝman “leaf-lard”, Chin. m(h)ān “eel”, Chin. *m_ēj “fawn”, *m_rij “a kind of deer”, Lush. be “a kind of edible beans”, Chin. *mhījʔ “rice”, Burm. munʔ “bread”, Lush. hmor-hāŋ, Lep. jă-mór-zo “a species of rice”.

(2) Mongolic languages

Khal., Ordos amsa- “to taste”, Khal. bog “small cattle”, Mong. buda’an, Khal., Bur. budā “gruel”, “food”, Mong. basiŋa, Khal. bašinga “a kind of fish”, Mong. miga-, Khal. max-, Bur. m’axa-, Kal. maxen “meat”.

(3) Tungus-Manchu languages

Ev., Even, Neg. amt- “to taste”, Even māja “food store”, Man. malaŋ-, Ulcha mala, Nan. malangu “plant oil”, Ev., Neg. mandaksa “elk”, Ev. mulkān, Even mulqan “deer”, Neg. mosin, Man. musi, Ulcha mosi, Nan. musū “several foods”.

(4) Japanese language

Old Jap. abura “fat”, ama- “tasty, sweet”, Middle Jap. ipij “boiled rice”, iwo “fish”, Middle Jap. makanaf- “to feed”, Old. Jap. mame “bean”, mìsó “a kind of thick bean gruel”, Old Jap. mwomwo “peach”, mugji “wheat, barley”, pada “flesh”, pjituzi “sheep”, pisipwo “a kind of bean paste”, wi “pig”.

(5) Korean language

Modern Kor. ǝpčin “beef”, mā “potato”, marim “edible seaweed”, mat “taste”, megi “trout”, mek- “to eat, drink”, meru “grapes”, mès “wild apple, cherry”, mil “wheat”, misi “gruel”, pha “onion”, phat “beans, peas”, wē “melon”, pā “pear”, pap “food”, palgaŋi- “carp”, piut “mackerel”, pje “rice”, pul “kidney”, pok “swellfish”, pori “barley”, psirkei “liver”.

In Asian languages, the phonostems ma-, me- and their possible modifications prevail among the components of the semantic field: “prey”, “food”, “fat”, “tasty, sweet”, although to a lesser extent than in Indo-European languages, and among them there are also phonostems based on other bilabial ones.

5.2.3 Informational-signal and mental semantic field: “sign”, “call”, “name”, “find”, “instruct”, “think”, “look”, and others similar

(1) Sino-Tibetan languages

Chin. *m_a “induce, advise”, Chin.*mheŋ, Tib. miŋ, mjiŋ, Kach. mjiŋ, Lush. hmiŋ. Kir. nǝŋ “name”, Bur. mań “name, to be called”, Lep. miŋ, a-miŋ “a word”, Chin. *m_ēk,

*m_rēk “to look on, examine”, Tib. dmigs “to fancy, to imagine; to think”, Kach. mjit “to mind, thought”, Chin. *smǝ̄ʔs “to instruct”, Kach. mu “to see, behold”, Lush. hmu “to see, find”, Kir. *min “think”.

(2) Mongolic languages

Mong. möče-, Bur. müšxe-, Kal. möčǝ- “to examine, investigate”, Mong., Bur., Khal., Kal. mede “to know”, Khal., Bur., Kal. im “sign”, Dagur wal- “to find”.

(3) Tungus-Manchu languages

Ev. baka-, Even baq-, Neg. baxa, Ulcha, Orok bā “to find”, Man. muǯin, Ulcha, Orok, Nan. muru “thought, mind”, Nan. murū, Oroch muči “to think”, Man., Ulcha, Orok, Nan. mute “can, be able”.

(4) Japanese language

Old Jap. matwop- “to hesitate”, wasur- “to forger”, wosipa- “to teach”, wotu-, utu-tu “reality”, omop- “to think”, manab- “to learn”, wakar- “to understand”, matwop- “to hesitate”, Middle Jap. mòtòma- “to ask, demand”.

(5) Korean language

Modern Kor. māl “speech”, māl- “to avoid”, mit- “to believe”, musep- “to be afraid”, mori- “to be unable”, mut “to ask”, para- “to desire”, pāu- “to learn”, poram “sign”, puri “to call”, Middle Kor. pti- “to follow”.

Compared to European languages, Asian languages have much less components of the semantic field: “sign”, “call”, “name”, “find”, “think”, “look” with phonostems based on bilabial consonants. Obviously, they do not prevail among the words of this field.

5.2.4 Common semantic field: “to cut, hack”, “chop”, “to break”, “to shear”, ”scrape”, “sharp”, “sharp instrument”

(1) Sino-Tibetan languages: ku-, ča-

Chin. *ćrǝ̄mʔ “to cut off, cut down”, Tib. gcab “to cut small, to chop”, Lush. čap “to trim, adze”, čan “to cut up”, Burm. kunh, Lush. kūr “to work hard, to make efforts”.

(2) Mongolic languages: ka-, ca-, ća-, ča-

Mong. qaji-, Bur. xaj- “to cut, hack”, Middle Mong. qaqal-, Khal. xaxa-, Bur. xaga- “to break, tear off”, Mong. qasu-, Khal., Kal kas-, Bur. xaha- “to cut off pieces”, Mong. kirɣa-, Bur. xirga-, Kal. kirɣǝ- “to shear”, Mong. kutiɣa, Khal. kutga, Bur. xutaga “knife”, Mong. kurča, Khal, xurc, Bur. xursa “sharp”, Middle Mong. xajiči, Khal. xajč, Bur. xajša “scissors”, Middle Mong. čabči, Khal. čavči, Bur. sabša “to chop, mow”, Middle Mong. čaqi, Khal. caxi, Bur.saxil “to strike fire”, Middle Mong. čalir “sharp”, Khal. salir “sharp”, “sharp instrument”, Bur. sali-l “to be sharp”, Kal. cale “sharp”, calr “sharp instrument”.

(3) Tungus-Manchu languages: ka-, ca-, ća-, ča-

Ev., Even, Ulcha, Nan., kalt and others similar “to split in halves”, Ev. keli “knife”, Orok, Nan. keli “to cut”, Even kotqān, Neg. kotko, Nan. qoto, Solon koto “knife”, Ev. kuwa, Neg. kowa “to plane”, Orok kuwai “plough”, Ev. čalī “arrow head”, Neg. čōli “to cut off”, Man. čoli, Ulcha čālu, and others similar “to cut”, Ev., Neg. čapka, Ulcha, Orok. čapqa, and others similar “fish spear”, Ev. čiwuke, Nan. čioqo “awl”, Ev. čikā, Even čiqi, Neg. čixa “to cut”, Ev. čōk-, Even čuk- “to dig”, Neg. čok “to gauge”.

(4) Japanese language: ka-, ki-, ku-

Old Jap. kedur- “to scrape off”, kama “sickle”, kar- “to shear, mow”, kak-, Middle Jap. kàsù-r-, kosoga- “to scrape”, Old Jap. katana “knife”, kor-, kjir- “to cut”, “to chop, hack”, kji “notch”, kjiri “drill, awl”, kug(j)i “nail, peg, hook”, Middle Jap. kúfá “hoe, mattock”, kur- “to delve”, Old Jap. kururi “an arrow”, Middle Jap. kúsàfì, kúsàbì “wedge, brace, clinch”.

(5) Korean language: ka-

Modern Kor. kawi “scissors”, karɨ- “to divide, split”, k:ak- “to cut, trim”, kɨk- “to shear, scrape”, khal “knife”, čha- “to kick”, Middle Kor. čărɨ- “to cut off, chop off”.

In general, the semantic field: “to cut, hack”, “chop”, “to break”, “to shear”, ”scrape”, “sharp”, in European and Asian languages, if you do not take into account the Sino-Tibetan languages, is characterized by phonostems ka-, ca-, ća-, ča- and their modifications. This fact must be borne in mind when tracing the formation of European and Asian languages. It is explained by the fact that the Chinese language is not related Altai ones (Mongolian, Tungus-Manchu, Japanese and Korean).

5.3 Semantic field: “water”, “flow”, “river”

If the considered phonostems can be primary, then the sounds of the next verbal signals in turn is difficult to determine. It may be possible to suggest a solution in the observation of the development of children’s language, but another way is possible, namely, the search for similarly sounding words in the semantic fields of the languages in question, derived from words that could be among the most used by primitive man. Such can be “water”, “fire”, “light”, “sun”, “heat” and light”, etc.

When considering the words of the semantic field “water”, “source”, “river”, “stream”, “drink” and others, it turned out that many of them start with the sound l in combination with vowels, i.e. li-, le- la-, etc. If we also consider words with the meaning “wet”, “puddle, swamp”, “snow, rain”, “pour, flow, run”, etc., then it turns out that many of them also begin with li-, le-, la-:

(1) North Caucasian languages

Avar. λin, λim, Andi λen, Bagv., Tindi λē, Bot., God. λeni, Tsezi, Bezh. λi, Archi λan, and others similar “water”, Tsezi labu, Hin. laba, Ag. läpe, Tsak., Rut. lepa, Khin. läpä, and others similar “source”, Andi λenso, Kar. λersa, Akhv., Tindi, Cham. λesa, God. λinsa, Ag., Rut. leç “river”, Chech., Ing. liela, God. lullabi, Khin. liχki “to move”, Bezh. λiraχal, Lak lečin “to run”, Avar. λar “stream”, Ab. a-las, Abaz. lasi “fast”, Chech. lūo, Ing. loa “snow”.

Semantic field: “water”, “source”, “stream”, “marsh”, “move, run”, “fast”, “snow”.

(2) Kartvelian languages

Svan lic “water”, Georg ru (out of *lu?) “stream”, Svan lamb “wet”, Ming. lenčq-i “swmp”, Georg. lud-i “beer”.

Semantic field: “water”, “stream”, “wet”, “marsh”, “beer”.

(3) Turkic languages

The modern Turkic languages have very few words beginning with l. The initial l in most of them transformed into other sounds, it retained only in the Chuvash language preserving the most archaic features of Proto-Turkic. Chuv. lăm, Tur. nem, Tat., Kaz. dym, Kyrg. nym “moisture”, Chuv. lüške “to puor, gush”, lăs “drizzle”, laš “imitation of the noisy splash of poured liquid”.

Semantic field: “moisture”, “to pour, gush”, “wet”.

(4) Indo-European languages

Arm. lič “swamp”, Old Fris. lind, Slav. luža “puddle”, Lith. liūgas “slush, bog”, Old Ir. lind “liquid, drink”, Slav. liti, Lith. líeti “to pour”, Old Ic. lekr “estrus”, Gr. leimōn “water meadow”, loō, Lat. lavāre “to wash”, Alb. lot “tear”, Ir. lō-chasair “to drizzle”, Old Ic. līð “beer”.

Semantic field: “swamp, puddle”, “to pour”, “to wash”, “rain”, “tear”, “leak”, “drink, beer”.

(5) Finno-Ugric languages

Fin., Est. laine, Veps lainiž, Mord. laj “wave”, Fin. lammiko, Est. lom, Hung. lö, Khan. läg “pool”, Fin. lampi, Est. lamm, Sami lamm’p, Mansi lopsi, and others similar “swamp”, Mord. lopodems “to wet”, Mari lypka, Udm. lut’mem “wet”, Komi log, Sami lūxxt, Mansi lox “bay”, Fin., Est. lumi, Mord. lov, Mari lum “snow”.

Semantic field: “wave”, “puddle”, “marsh”, “bay”, “wet”, “snow”.

For the semantic field “water”, “river”, and others similar in Asian languages, not a single word was found that has the phonostem la-, le- or similar. This fact casts doubt on the possibility of the general kinship of all the languages of the world, as [MELNYCHUK A.S. 1991:33] confidently spoke of, seeing the isomorphism of internal structures in the repeated etymological complexes. Here it is appropriate to recall such a conclusion of one and a half hundred years ago, with which you can argue:

… if the tribes of men are of different parentage, their languages could not be expected to be more unlike than they in fact are; while, on the other hand, if all mankind are of one blood, their tongues need not be more alike than we actually find them to be. The evidence of language can never guide us to any positive conclusion respecting the specific unity or diversity of human races [WHITNEY WILLIAM DWIGHT. 1867, 394].

The genetic relationship of languages should be determined by the most ancient words. In principle, we did this, but we did not find a common genetic basis of articulation for European and Asian languages. The articulation of sounds depends on the anatomic and physiological peculiarities of people which are distributed genetically. In this regard, the genetic basis of articulation should have a limited volume in accordance with the general man’s anatomical and physiological characteristics.

6. The role of imitation in the process of language formation

The fact of the presence of phonostems with bilabial consonants at the beginning of words of some common semantic fields of Asian and European languages can only say that just they were the first sounds of a human because of the peculiarities of his articulation apparatus, being common to all human races. Further development of the language is connecter with certain psychological characteristics of distinct human societies, connecting ideas about the world around with its reflection language, but having one common feature.

French sociologist Tarde argued that all social life largely bases on the instinct of imitating of individual persons to each other and devoted a lot to the evolution of human tongue in their work. In particular, he wrote:

Linguistic progress is always made first through imitation, then the struggle of two languages or dialects, as well as the struggle between two expressions or two figures of speech corresponding to the same meaning [TARDE G., 2011:133).

When a language becomes established, imitation provides its communicative feature, i.e. mutual understanding between people due to the involuntary standardization of sound signals. That struggle written by Tarde provides the choice of the best option, inevitably associated with the loss of less expressive, less convenient for pronunciation, etc. Namely this character of the language complicates the reconstruction of its development. Imitation should be distinguished from imprinting. Robin Elot tries to establish its role on the origin of the language and describes in detail the processes of imprinting in animals, gives examples of its imprinting in humans. In his opinion, children perceive language as a result of a process similar to imprinting [ALLOTT ROBIN. 2012-1]. However, imprinting forms only a behavioral act, which in principle is not related to language. If we are talking about a certain process similar to imprinting, then this will be an imitation.

Closely connected with nature, primitive man imitated not only his own kind, but also animals. The most developed of them monkeys express their various feelings with sounds, sending signals to each other about the danger, the availability of food or when looking for a mating partner. Researches of primatologists convincingly testify that in the field of communicative behavior between higher primates and man there is a noticeable continuity [VISHNYATSKIY, 2002:48-49]. Accordingly, some of the sound signals of a person should have been as inarticulate as the sounds made by animals. However, the difference between the cries of animals and the articulated sounds of human speech was already known to ancient grammars. Aurelius Augustine in Principia dialecticae stated: Logui est articulate voce signum dare. The gulf separating the sounds of speech of the most remaining peoples and the cries of animals is so deep that their apparent similarity is the fruit of fantastic hypotheses. The cries of animals represent a single sound without the internal division inherent in human speech [PÄTSCH GERTRUD.1955, 69]. The variety of sounds made by man is incomparably richer than that of animals thanks to a more advanced voice apparatus. Nevertheless, an imitation of natural sounds, including the cries of animals, should have taken place. Such an assumption was expressed by I. Herder and J.-J. Rousseau, imagining the development of human speech based on onomatopia, but Max Müller (1823-1900) was critical of such a presentation and ironically called it “bow-wow theory”. Later linguists were not so categorical, and recognized that imitation played a significant role in the process of language evolution, as we can see from the example of Tarde. Over time, the significance of onomatopeia for expressive means of the language will increase more:

Onomatopoeia acts as the first step of linguistic expression, and is an important sign of quasi-language evolving into real language (i.e. languagization). [MA QINGHUS, 2018:43].

In his paper, Ma Qinghua conducts an extensive analysis of the means of onomatic and concludes that it still continues to maintain the deep nature of the language beyond the language system:

Substantial non-onomatopoeias come from onomatopoeias either directly or indirectly, including nouns, verbs and adjectives, consist of the majority of lexis. In addition, the model of onomatopoeia structures can be deemed as an imitative target or a structural meme of other models of non-onomatopoeia structures. Many non-onomatopoeias still carry onomatemes to various degree and manners, among which the imitation of all human sounds and some sounds of external world possess a linguistic universality [ibid:59].

Based on this, we can conclude that on the first stages of the formation of the language onomatopoeia played an even greater role. In many ancient languages aspirates bh, dh, gh, th, kh, guh, quh, affricates dz, ts, ps, ks, labialized consonants gu, qu, tu, pu, trilled affricates rz, rs, lž, lš, rz, rs, lž, lš existed, which could be an imitation of animal sounds but later on in many cases went through a simplification process.

Distinct consonants, as was shown by the example of sounds m, n, t, th, d, dh can have the simplest meaning. Also, other consonants, such as k, kh, g, gu, r, rz, and moreover combinations of consonants can be used for other meanings. This is a big topic that requires separate research, because it is noticed that,

the first consonant of any word in any alphabetic written language is an iconic Semantic key for the meaning of the whole word, much as the semantic portion or “radical” of many Sino-Japanese compound characters gives a clue to the meaning of the compound character [ZEV BAR-LEV, 2016].

Unlike animals, man has the ability to pronounce vowels. In combination with vowels, consonants formed the first syllables what provides variety of sounds, pronounced by man. They made it possible to reflect phenomena of nature in different ways accordant with the sounds of the surrounding nature in human societies, formed in different natural conditions. It determined the development of individual languages in their own ways.

7. The role and importance of rhythm in languages

Sounds made by animals do not form a rhythmic sequence. Also the period of absence of articulate human tongue is characterized by randomly chaotic realizations of the position of the articulation organs. Besides, the distribution of energy into the spectrum of sounds of primitive proto-tongue is also chaotic. Modern languages, on the contrary, have a fairly ditinct discrete set of both the position of articulatory organs and the distribution of energy in the spectra of phonemes. The human tongue has such feature as the presence of the rhythm of syllable stress [SHCHEKA, 1994:84]. The appearance of the rhythm characters the occurrence of tongue.

While learning the language intonology and developing this idea, the Russian scholar Shcheka reveals the existence of systems of rhythmic levels of speech. They form the intonation of the tongue and on their which basis the corresponding intonological units are determined: harmoneme (the vowel phoneme or syllable corresponds to it), tacteme (word), melodeme (word combination), intoneme (sentence) and composeme (text). Intonology also allows to represent the evolution of language as a process of consistently forming rhythmically levels, starting with the lower (syllable) and ending with the highest level of the text, on which there is a departure from the principle of rhythmic organization of speech (=writing). By other words, the language passed from the harmoneme with the alternate appearance of higher intonological units [ibid:92].

In accordance with the same principle, “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”, Shcheka projects the stages of developing the linguistic ability of children on the stages of development of life on Earth and periodizes the chronology of the evolution of the language, referring the occurrence of syllogic rhythm to the birth of human tongue. According to his calculations, it originated 10.7 million years ago [ibid:92-94]. Such an exact definition contradicts the assertion that Neanderthals, who lived much later, could not have a tounge in view of the inability to pronounce vowel sounds (see above). Similar contradictions show that the study of the origin of human language has to be conducted not by narrow specialists in different fields of knowledge but by the multidisciplinary approach.

8. Conclusion

The mystery of the origin of the human language hid in the language itself. Relevant data that can help uncover this mystery scattered across all the languages of the world and isolation them for research is not an easy task.

All the languages of the world are a complex system formed by a large number of components that interact with each other in different ways. According to Jan Stewart, to describe the interaction of relatively simple components and the dynamics of similar systems, we need an exact mathematical theory, which will develop before 2050 (Stewart, 2002). However, the use of the mathematical apparatus will be possible if all the components of the language will simplified as much as possible, structured in a certain order and compiled into a database. One of the classes of such components can be etymological complexes, the comparison of which done in the proposed work.


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