Indo-Aryan invasion

George Thompson thompson at JLC.NET
Mon Mar 2 00:47:50 UTC 1998

To Edwin Bryant and to the list in general:

I am not interested in re-hashing the arguments [largely political] that
occurred on the RISA list some time ago, nor in entertaining people with
another public performance of our disagreements. Like Edwin, I have
reservations about entering into this discussion, because I too am much too
busy already.

But [unlike Edwin, apparently] I am not satisfied with what I learned from
the RISA debate, nor from the AAR panel. I am not satisfied that I
understand the processes which early Vedic Sanskrit underwent as it evolved
from an Indo-Iranian language into an Indic one. The problem of
retroflexion remains an interesting one for me, and, I am happy to see, for
Hock too, after all these years. If Edwin on the other hand is satisfied
that retroflexion is no problem, he shouldn't bother himself with this

The point of Hock's recent resume of his views is to counterpose two models
of the early relationship between Indo-Aryan and Dravidian: one model he
characterizes as 'the subversion [or substratum] hypothesis'; the other as
'the convergence hypothesis'. In spite of Edwin's surprise, I am actually
sympathetic with this second view, and I am interested in discussions of
bilingualism as a factor *in either scenario*.

In any case, it is quite clear that in Hock's view *neither* hypothesis has
been established. The 'convergence theory' is understood as a brake on the
over-confidence of the substratum theory. Fair enough. Let me quote his
closing remark:

"One of the most exciting -- and potentially fruitful -- avenues for
further research therefore would seem to lie in further pursuing this
'convergence hypthesis' regarding the origination of Indo-Aryan and
Dravidian retroflexion (and alveolarization)."

Would any of the list's ziSTas care to pursue this?

George Thompson

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list