Common Altaic verbal suffixes in modern Uyghur
Although the Altaic theory established by the leading Altaists Ramstedt, Poppe and others on the basis of striking similarities existing among the Altaic languages gains support from most scholars in the field, there are still some other scholars who doubt or reject the theory. Those who doubt or reject the theory believe the similarities are not inherited from a hypothetical common Altaic unity but are the results of the language contact. Believing that verbal morphology is one of the most resistant areas to borrowing, I present in this dissertation for the first time my studies on 59 verbal suffixes in modern Uyghur. Through systematic and detailed comparative studies of the suffixes with the corresponding elements in Mongolic, Tungusic, and other Turkic languages phonologically and functionally, diachronically and synchronically, it is argued that all these suffixes actually derive from 21 very basic common Altaic suffixes which still play a very important role in verbal morphology in all modern Altaic languages. It is concluded that these striking similarities revealed in verbal morphology of Altaic languages can be explained only in terms of genetic relationship, but not of language contact; hence along with sound correspondence rules, they are crucial evidence for the Altaic theory.
- East Asian studies