Sprachbund (en)

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A Sprachbund is a linguistic area, i.e. set of geographically contiguous languages that are more similar to each other in their structure than would be expected on the basis on their degree of genealogical relatedness.

Term properties

Sometimes the German plural Sprachbünde is also used in English, and sometimes the term is italicized in English, as a non-assimilated loan. The term is usually capitalized.



The term Sprachbund was coined by Nicholas Trubetzkoy in a contribution to the 1928 International Congress of Linguists (Trubetzkoy 1930). Apparently it occurred earlier in Trubetzkoy (1923), in the Russian form jazykovoj sojuz (cf. Reiter 1991:52), but it became widely known only after 1928.


  • Reiter, Norbert. 1991. Ist der Sprachbund ein Werk des Satans? Zeitschrift für Balkanologie 31: 18-30.
  • Trubeckoj, Nikolaj S. 1923. Vavilonskaja bashnja i smeshenie jazykov. Evrazijskij vremennik 3: 107-124.
  • Trubetzkoy, Nikolaj S. 1930. Proposition 16. In: Actes du premier congrès international des linguistes à la Haye, du 10-15 avril 1928. Leiden: A.W. Sijthoff, 17-18.

Other languages

German Sprachbund