Indigenous Aryanism

thompson at thompson at
Mon Dec 16 02:14:44 UTC 1996


Here are some questions which it might be useful for Indigenous Aryan
theorists to consider.  I'd be interested to know their responses.

Indo-Aryan migration theorists assume that retroflexion arises in Skt.
after the separation from the Iranians [whether due to areal influence of
Dravidian languages or independently, i.e., internally].  The indigenous
school will have to account for the disappearance of retroflexion in
Iranian. How do they do this?  And do they know whether, from the point of
view of language typology, the loss of retroflexion is more "natural" or
common than the introduction of it as a phonemic process?

This brings up in general the place of Dravidian in the Indigenous Aryan
model of the universe. What is its place?  Dravidian has been conspicuously
absent in our previous discussions.  Related to this is the question: how
do Indigenous Aryan theorists deal with the notion of a So. Asian
linguistic area?

Besides retroflexion in general, there is the curious phenomenon of
"spontaneous retroflexion" in the RV.  Also, syntactic features [use of
non-finite gerund strings, the quotative iti] distinguish Skt. from its IE
relations [never mind lexical borrowings between Skt. and Dravidian].  How
is the utter disappearance of all of these features in Iranian, etc., to be
explained?  Could this disappearance be rationalized consistently with what
is known of linguistic typoology?

What I am getting at is this.  The IA migration model handles the problem
of explaining the distinctive features of Vedic Skt. [in relation to its IE
kin] at least in part by resorting to the influence of the So. Asian
linguistic area and Dravidian.  If we assume instead, as it seems to me the
Indigenous Aryan model must, that these and other features are
systematically lost in Iranian [rather than acquired in Indo-Aryan], then
this must be justified in terms of what might be expected in light of what
is known about the behavior of languages in general. Has anyone made an
attempt to look into this?

Perhaps we can continue this "thought-experiment" later.


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