Indo-Aryan invasion

Dominique.Thillaud thillaud at UNICE.FR
Sat Feb 28 07:41:22 UTC 1998

>Erik Seldeslachts wrote:
>I agree, but then there is an even more conspicious difference between de
>Roman and the
>Sarasvati case. In the Roman world, despite centuries of invasions and a
>final collapse
>Latin survived and developed further after the collapse into the Romanic
>languages. The
>languages of the invaders did participate to a certain extent in the
>formation of the
>Romanic languages, but - some peripheral areas excepted - failed to get a
>foothold in the ares formerly occupied by the Romans (except for Arabic
>and Turkish later
>on). In the Sarasvati case, if one accepts the view that Dravidian was the
>spoken in North-Western India at that time, how to explain the fact that
>this language
>has been wiped out from that area by intruders, who certainly could have
>formed only a
>minority in a culturally superior environment? How to explain the absence
>of Dravidian
>elements in the oldest forms of Indo-Aryan (the few such elements proposed
>are all
>heavily disputed). Finally, how is it possible that there is no trace of a
>substratum in placenames and rivernames in most of North-Western India and
>even in most
>of Nortern India as a whole. The Dravidian hypothesis has to be abandoned.
>Of course, in
>the course of time Indo-Aryan became very much structurally influenced by
>Dravidian while
>Dravidian became very much Aryanised lexically, but these are later

        There are many ways for an "invasion" and History gives us many
various examples of moving populations, peaceful or violent. About the
linguistical problem there is an useful question: who comes? just few
warriors (eventually first used as mercenaries)? or whole families?
        In the first case, they find wifes in situ and the babies, breeded
by the women, learn the mother language. A good example is the coming of
Norsemen in the part of France still called Normandie: in very few
generations they completely loose Norse and all speak French.
        But, in the other case, even in a "culturally superior
environment", the political power is able to give a preference to the
newcomers language: an example is found in France where the Gallic is fully
replaced by the Latin. And the religion can be an other powerful vector: in
the Mediterranean aera, the islamization gives the way to the arabization.

        On an other way, we must remember that, even scientifically
conducted, archeology is just able to show us what remains: very few!
stones don't talk! Worse, archeological facts are rarely pure facts but
interpretations via a reading grid based on an unconscient theory. Despite
the Dr Subrahmania point of view, that's not sure that archeology is more
"scientific" than linguistic!

        In my opinion, it's highly probable that Aryans were coming IN,
even if we don't know today how, when and why. Other points of view are
nothing but nationalist ones, respectable only in a political scope.

Dominique THILLAUD
Universite' de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France

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