Macro-comparative linguistics in the 21st century: state of the art and perspectives
George Starostin (Russian State University for the Humanities / Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration,
Journal of Language Relationship, № 11, 2014 - p.1-12
The paper represents an attempt to explicitly summarize most of the major theoretical and methodological problems that, as of today, hinder significant progress in the field of macro-comparative linguistics (research on distant relationships between the various language families of the world). Among these problems are such issues as: the amount, quality, and nature of linguistic data that is necessary to establish long-distance relationship; methodological priorities of the etymologization process; and the complex interdependencies of “objective” (automated) and “subjective” (manual) data comparison. Partial solutions and/or recommendations of a general character are offered for each of the specified issues.
Keywords: comparative linguistics, long-range comparison, language macrofamilies, computational methods in linguistics