Indo-Aryan invasion

Edwin Bryant ebryant at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Sun Mar 1 15:20:27 UTC 1998

George: do you really want to do this?  I know I'm going to be provoked
into jumping in. Don't you think the folks from RISA on this list have had
enough already?  Or is this our karma for not having provided
them with the debate that was anticipated at the AAR?  Anyway, if this is
to be a *serious* discussion perhaps it will be useful for some of us,
although God knows I don't have the time for it.

On Sat, 28 Feb 1998, George Thompson wrote:

> Just to show that I am prepared to hold myself to the standards that I
> recommended a few days ago: I am prepared to discuss a relevant article:
> H.H. Hock: "Pre-Rgvedic Convergence Between Indo-Aryan (Sanskrit) and
> Dravidian? A Survey of the Issues and Controversies", in _Ideology and
> Status of Sanskrit: Contributions to the History of the Sanskrit Language_,
> ed. by J. Houben, Leiden 1996.

I'm surprised that you have selected Hock given your position on the IA
debate.  Hock has consistently argued, for two decades now, that many of
the non-IE syntacticaL innovations visible in IA that are SA areal
features could quite reasonably have been internal developments.  The
article above summarizes his position.  He mostly argues that there are
alternative ways of accounting for such features apart from insisting on a
Dravidian substratum.

> Anyone else? Or other recommendations?

Oh, lots.  But I'll let you come up with them.

> To be even more specific, would anyone like to talk about the origins of
> retroflexion in Sanskrit? I'm especially interested in an "Indigenous
> Aryan" view of retroflexion.

Well, the origin of retroflexion has been debated for over a century and
is still not settled. Hock, in his articles notes that internal
development is a possibility, as have other linguists before him since
the time of Buhler in 1864. So I would imagine an Indig-A view (if there
were such a consistent thing) would argue along the same lines.  In other
words, internal development does not require the existence of a
pre-existing non IA linguistic substratum as the originator of
retroflexion or of other syntactical features.  Of course a
linguistic substratum (which would suggest intruder status for the I-A's)
remains a perfectly good way of accounting for these phenomena. But it is
not the only model.  My paper in the forthcoming Michigan volume on Arya
and non-Arya is specifically on these issues.

I'd also like to know how the "out of India"
> model deals with the relationship between Old Indic and Old Iranian.

You've brought this up several times.  What would prevent an
"out-of-India" model arguing that PIE developed into the various languages
which departed from the far NW of the South Asian subcontinent, and that
Iranian was the last to go?  The Avesta does refer to an external ' Aryana
vaejam' (unlike the Veda which retains no mention of a foreign origin at
all).  Gnoli finds reason to suppose this is in the Hindu Kush, since the
geographical horizons of the Avest are all Eastern (there is no ref. to
the West).  Boyce differs, deferring to the standard Caspian sea origin.
but there is precious little in the Avesta to help us determine where this
place was except that the climate seems to have been severe.

Over to you, George......But let's just keep it one small point at a
time so this does not end up becoming too time consumming.  Tik?  Best,

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list