Eurindian or Dravidian ?

Dominique.Thillaud thillaud at UNICE.FR
Sun Nov 23 01:40:36 UTC 1997

At 5:02 +0100 22/11/97, S Krishna wrote:

> In this context, can anybody please tell me about the accepted
>derivation of the Sanskrit word "idam"(This) and the draviDian words
>"itu"( in tamil), "idi"( in telugu) and "idu"( in KannaDa){don't know
>the malayalam word for "this"}..the words are similar but did they
>travel one from one language into another?... I'm not sure if the above
>idea can be applied to pronouns since it is possible for two languages
>to have the same pronouns independent of each other.....

        About skr. "idam"

There are difficulties to reconstruct Eurindian pronominal forms because
they are subject to many agglutinations and suppletions, and because they
involves very short (frequently monophonematic) particles. Many details can
be found in F. Bader's work but, here, the situation is almost clear:

        1) we can't separate "id-am" from "tad" and "ad-as", direct neutral
forms and bases for compounds (tatpuruSa, idaMvid, adomUla).
        2) we can't separate "id-am" from "id-A"
        => "idam" seems to be a redondant direct neutral form from *id
        this *id can be analysed *i-d,
        where -d is a neutral pronominal desinence, as in skr. "ta-d", lat.
"istud", got. "that-a" (engl. "that"), gr. "ho" (< *yod, attested before
enclitic by homeric hotti < *yod-ti)
        and where i- is an affirmation particle (probably linked with the
suffix -i) we can see in ved. "id" (= "eva") and in skr. "iti". (Remark:
the existence of vedic "id" justify the necessity of the casual redondance
"id-am" to avoid ambiguities)

        This reconstruction is well sustained by
        the vocabulary: lat. "id", got. "it-a" (engl. "it"), old Irish "ed".
        the flexion: lat. neutral "id", masc. "is" ; got. neutral "it-a",
masc. "is".

        (Remark: lat. "idem" (= same) is not skr. "idam", but *i(s)-dem
where *dem is an other particle (identity), as in "ibidem" and many others.)

        From all that, "idam" seems to be a good Eurindian word.
        About Dravidian forms "itu", "idi" or "idu", I don't know anything
but I'm dubious a link exists with skr. "idam" for two reasons:
        1) borrowing grammatical (tool) words is very rare (in fact, I
don't remember any example of it).
        2) with short words, the probability of a simple coincidence is
very high (we have examples all over the world).

        Hoping to help,

Dominique THILLAUD
Universite' de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France

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