Derivation of word "Hindu"

bpj at bpj at
Mon Jun 16 16:08:20 UTC 1997

At 15:35 16.6.1997, D.H. Killingley wrote:
>I am glad to see this thread elevated from the tangle it fell into
>earlier. But there is one thing that has always puzzled me:

>        Thieme, quoted in Mayrhofer's _Kurzgefasstes_, seems to be right
>in taking _hindu_ as a common noun, not as a place-name, whether or not
>he is right in interpreting it as 'the frontier'. It would then be
>understandable that they should use their own word rather than a foreign
>one of similar but different form.
>        Or did the sound change s>h take place after the Iranians had
>settled in Iran and come to know the Indus by the name _sindhu_?

One of these explanations is probably correct (in fact *sindhu can mean
'frontier' AND the *s > h change take place after the Iranians came to know
the river so called, but that is beside the point). What is needed to prove
either is evidense of a word *sindhu 'frontier' in other I.E. languages,
and/or conclusive dating for the *s > h change in Iranian, which latter is
probably impossible to find.


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