Altaic languages facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
East, North, Central, and West Asia and Eastern Europe
Linguistic classification: Proposed major language family
Koreanic (generally included)
Japonic (generally included)
ISO 639-2 and 639-5: tut
Altaic family2.svg
Distribution of the Altaic languages across Eurasia.

Altaic is suggested as a language family. It would include 66 languages that are spoken by about 348 million people, mostly in and around Central Asia and northeast Asia.

According to the best-known classification of Altaic, it consists of the Turkic languages, Mongolic, and the Tungusic languages. It is probably fair to say that this is the meaning attributed to "Altaic" by most general linguists.

However, since the publication of Gustaf John Ramstedt's Einführung in 1952–1957, most Altaicists have included Korean in Altaic. Since the publication of Roy Andrew Miller's Japanese and the Other Altaic Languages in 1971, most have also included Japanese (Nicholas Poppe) or better Japonic, consisting of Japanese and Ryukyuan.

A few linguists even count Ainu with the Altaic languages, but as part of a node including Korean and Japanese, in contradistinction to a Turkic-Mongolic-Tungusic node, with Korean-Japanese-Ainu and Turkic-Mongolic-Tungusic in turn forming a node at a higher level (e.g. Street 1962).

The core version of Altaic, consisting of Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic, is sometimes referred to as "Micro-Altaic" while the expanded version, including Korean or Korean and Japanese, is referred to as "Macro-Altaic".

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