Meaning of Wellentheorie in English:


Pronunciation /ˈvɛlənˌteɪɔːri/


  • A theory of linguistic change first advanced by Johannes Schmidt (1843–1901), according to which linguistic innovation spreads in concentric circles from a central point of origin, like the ripples generated when a pebble is thrown into a body of water.

    The theory was formulated in response to perceived problems in the Tree or Pedigree model, but has not displaced this.


Late 19th century; earliest use found in American Journal of Philology. From German Wellentheorie from Wellen-, combining form of Welle wave + Theorie.