The Glottalic Theory holds that Proto-Indo-European had ejective stops, *pʼ *tʼ *kʼ, instead of plain voiced ones, *b *d *ɡ, of traditional Proto-Indo-European phonological reconstructions.
A forerunner of the theory was proposed by the Danish linguist Holger Pedersen in 1951, but did not involve glottalized sounds. While early linguists such as André Martinet and Morris Swadesh had seen the potential of substituting glottalic sounds for the supposed plain voiced stops of Proto-Indo-European, the proposal remained speculative until fully fleshed-out theories were simultaneously but independently published in 1973 by Paul Hopper of the United States in the journal Glossa and by Tamaz V. Gamkrelidze and Vyacheslav V. Ivanov of the Soviet Union in the journal Phonetica in 1972.
The Glottalic Theory "enjoyed a not insignificant following for a time, and still has adherents; but it has been rejected by most Indo-Europeanists." The most recent publication supporting the Glottalic Theory is Bomhard (2008 and 2011) in a discussion of the controversial Nostratic hypothesis. An earlier supporter, Theo Vennemann, has abandoned the theory because of incompatibilities between it and his theory of the Semitic origins of Germanic and Celtic (e.g. Vennemann 2006).
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“It makes no sense to say what the objects of a theory are,
beyond saying how to interpret or reinterpret that theory in another.”
—Willard Van Orman Quine (b. 1908)