Indo-Aryan invasion

Erik Seldeslachts erik.seldeslachts at RUG.AC.BE
Mon Mar 2 14:58:18 UTC 1998

Lars Martin Fosse wrote:
> Erik Seldeslachts wrote:
> >The relative lack of linguistic diversity in Indo-Aryan is due to a
> >great extent to the unifying action of standard languages in combination
> >with political and cultural configurations, which for a very long period
> >have counteracted all disintegrating factors there may have been. This
> >happened not only for a much longer period than was the case in Europe
> >but also on a larger geographical scale.
> I assume that when you talk about Indo-Aryan here, you include PIE and its
> development (because this is what Jacob and I were discussing).
> If you do, the statement above is very interesting. Considering that we are
> talking about a period that probably stretches from 4500 BCE till 1000 BCE,
> I would like to see some concrete evidence. Furthermore: How is it that such
> forces ceased to function in the period 1000 BCE until today? Because in
> this period, we have seen a strong diversification of North Indian
> languages, with various royal courts supporting different languages through
> the ages for literary purposes. Why should it be different in the period
> 4500 - 1000 BCE?

When I say Indo-Aryan I mean Indo-Aryan which already had developed out of PIE at least by 3000
BCE. In that period we see developing a culture in North-Western India which alone can have caused
the observed linguistic uniformity: the Sindhu-Sarasvati-culture. Also in many aspects of material
culture it shows an extraordinary internal uniformity and standardisation. After the collapse of
this culture India has seldom seen a comparable period of unity, but strong unifying and converging
forces stayed at work till today. After all, the modern Indo-Aryan languages are not that much
diverse and have with the partial exception of the Dardic group developed together along similar

Erik Seldeslachts
Universiteit Gent
Gent, Belgium

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