Definition of family–tree theory
: a theory in linguistics: at various periods branches (as Germanic) sprang from a parent language (as Indo-European) and subsequently forked into subbranches (as West Germanic, North Germanic) that later split up into the various modern languages (as English, German, Swedish) —called also pedigree theory — compare wave theory
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Origin and Etymology of family–tree theory
translation of German stammbaumtheorie
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