New Message (aryan invasion)

Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at
Sat Dec 14 18:27:08 UTC 1996

On Sat, 14 Dec 1996, L.S. Cousins wrote:

> Actually, I suspect English too is just as complex - it is simply a
> different kind of complexity. So, for example, complex rules of order and
> different ways of using prepositions replace inflexions . . . etc.

The question of complexity in language is very interesting, and rather
difficult.  What measures are appropriate for assessing language
complexity?  And what measures might be appropriate for assessing

Richard Gombrich told me a story about twenty years ago about a King of
Ceylon who had to revise the Sinhalese language in some way because the
number of homonyms had risen to such a level that communication was
getting clumsy and difficult.  Does anyone know a source for this tale?

Certainly a high homonym count would be a problem, and might be a reason
to judge a language to be inelegant or inefficient.

My gut instinct about language complexity is that one would rather soon
begin to get involved in assessing semantic complexity, and that would
prove impossible to quantify. 

Best wishes,

Dominik Wujastyk               Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine
email: d.wujastyk at          183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, England
<URL:>                    FAX: 44 171 611 8545

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list