Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Gamkrelidze, Thomas V.
Location Georgian National Academy of Sciences
Primary Field Anthropology
Secondary Field Psychological and Cognitive Sciences
 Election Citation
Gamkrelidze, historical linguist and President of the Georgian Academy of Sciences, has made major contributions to the history of Kartvelian and Indo-European languages. His reconstruction of Kartvelian morphophonology -- the phonological structure of its sound units -- has underpinned all subsequent work on the history of this language family.
 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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