Thomas V. Gamkrelidze

Georgian National Academy of Sciences


Election Year: 2006
Primary Section: 51, Anthropology
Secondary Section: 52, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences
Membership Type: Foreign Associate

Research Interests

My scholarly interest, as that of a linguist and culture historian, is concentrated mainly on the study of theoretical problems pertaining to Typological and Comparative Historical Linguistics, with a special emphasis on Caucasian, Indo-European, Semitic & Ancient Oriental Languages. New methodological principles of combining comparative language reconstruction with linguistic typology and language universals allowed us to propose a new model of the South Caucasian (Kartvelian) Proto-Language, which appears to be isomorphic to the Proto-Indo-European (as far as the reconstructed system of sonants and the apophony is concerned). The same method of linguistic reconstruction, taking into account the evidence of language typology and linguistic universals as a verification criterion for proposed reconstructed models of a Proto-Language, brought us to postulating a typologically plausible linguistic model of Proto-Indo-European, which appears to be totally different from that adopted in traditional Indo-European Comparative Historical Linguistics. This concerns, in the first place, the consonantal system of Proto-Indo-European. The traditional and classical threefold system of Proto-Indo-European stops has been given a phonetic reinterpretation, in which the traditional plain voiced stops are viewed as "glottalized". Such reinterpretation of the system has been styled in Indo-European Linguistics "Glottalic Theory" and compared as to its consequences for the whole of Indo-European to the "Laryngeal Theory" and considered as a new "paradigm" in Indo-European comparative historical linguistics.

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