Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 27 >> Units Of Measurement to Van Der Donck >> Ural Altaic Languages

Ural-Altaic Languages

dialects, southern, division, turkic and vowels

URAL-ALTAIC LANGUAGES, a fam ily of languages of which two grand divisions are recognized by Max Muller, the Northern and the Southern. In the northern division are comprised the Tungusic, the Mongolic, the Turkic, the Finnic and the Samoyedic. The Tungusic dialects, lowest of all these in organ ization, extend northward and westward from China. Of a grade a little higher arc the Mon golic dialects of China: in these the different parts of speech are hardly distinguished. But the Turkic dialects, chief among them the Os manli of Constantinople, are rich in gram matical forms; Turkic speech is common from the Polar Sea to the Adriatic. The Finnic division comprises the speech of the Baltic coasts and the Hungarian or Magyar. (See FINNS ; HUNGARY). Among the languages of the southern division are the Tamulic or Dravidian dialects of southern India (see TAMIL) ; the Tibetan, the Taic or the dialects of Siam, and the Malaic or Malayan and Poly nesian dialects. The Ural-Altaic languages all possess one characteristic feature; in them the radical or root is never obscured; also the determining or modifying syllables are usually placed at the end; the vowels in a word may he changed and modulated to harmonize with the keynote struck by its chief vowel. In the Turkish, for example, if a verb contains a sharp vowel in its radical portion, the vowels of the terminations are all sharp; but the same terminations when they follow a root with a flat vowel, modulate their vowels into a flat key; thus mek or mak being the infinitive ter mination of verbs, sev-mek is the infinitive verb to love, but bak-mak is the infinitive verb to regard. The Ural-Altaic languages are some times called Turanian, also Finno-Tatar.

URAL (oo'ral or ieral) MOUNTAINS, Russia, a long mountain range forming the con ventional boundary between Europe and Asia, and extending in a nearly north and south di rection from the Arctic Ocean to the Caspian Sea, a distance of about 16,000 miles. The average height of its crest is 1,000 to 1,500 feet, but several peaks are over 5,000 feet, the high est, Telpos, in the northern part of the chain, having an altitude of 5,433 feet. In the north the range forms a comparatively narrow ridge, destitute of trees. Further south it is covered with forests and spreads out to a width of nearly 200 miles, finally dividing on the south ern boundary of Orenburg into a western and a southern outrunner, the latter known as the Mugadzhar Mountains, reaching to the Aral Sea. The principal rivers fed by the Ural chain are the Petchora and numerous affluents of the Obi, belonging to the Arctic Ocean; and the Kama and Ural, belonging to the Caspian. The geological structure consists of an axis of granite and poryphry, covered on the slopes with palwozoic strata. The mineral wealth is very great, especially in the central portion. The range is one of the principal sources of platinum, and gold is also found in places, iron is common, besides silver, lead, copper, rock salt and occasionally diamonds and precious stones. Considerable coal is mined in the west ern area, and in time there should be a wide development of manufacturing industries. The iron output before the war for several years averaged over 20,000 tons.