Retroflexion in IA (was Re: Indo-Aryan invasion)

Vidhyanath Rao vidynath at MATH.OHIO-STATE.EDU
Sun Mar 1 18:25:16 UTC 1998

George Thompson <thompson at JLC.NET> wrote:
>[...]  would anyone like to talk about the origins of
> retroflexion in Sanskrit? I'm especially interested in an "Indigenous
> Aryan" view of retroflexion.

Let me begin with the disclaimer that I do not claim to represent
the `Indigenous proto-IE speakers' theories [Let us not continue to
confuse proto-IE speakers and Aryans.], as well as that I can write may
be one post a week. the slow pace may not be a bad idea :-)

But before we embark on any such discussion, I have two requests:

(1) Could the Dravidianologists in this list give a brief summary
and pointers to fuller discussions of the evolution of dental/alveolar
and retroflex sounds in the various branches of Dravidian? I find the
picture that comes out of DEDR to be rather confusing, with no clue as
to the intermediate stages.

(2) Given that Sinhalese and dialects of Marathi spoken in Kerala and TN
show loss of phonemic aspiration, how do people explain the persistence
of aspiration in northern IA languages if the retroflexion there was
due to `substratum influences'? [Faulty pronunciation of aspirates
was not unknown to the praati"saakhyas. So how did they manage to
stem that tide?]

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