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

Word History


translation of German stammbaumtheorie

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Dictionary Entries Near family-tree theory

Cite this Entry

“Family-tree theory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2024.

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