Indo-Aryan Invasion (focussed discussion)

Mon Mar 2 21:57:34 UTC 1998

In this posting, my second and last this week, I will briefly react on some
reactions to George's proposal for a focussed discussion.

Sun, 1 Mar, Vaidix wrote:
>The study of migrations of people is Anthropology.  Ideas from various other
disciplines such as linguistics, geology, history, archaelogy may be used in
the discussion, but the last opinion (if not a decision) at any point of time
must always be reserved for academic anthropologists.  Are there any on this

Anthropology is certainly an important discipline for the topic, but I am
afraid that no final decision can be expected from someone only informed by
anthropological data and theories. Since some of our most extensive and
suggestive data consist of languages, the disciplines of sociolinguistics and
anthropological linguistics would seem to be of crucial importance. In other
words: do we really know how language shifts work, what bilingualism implies
and what its effects on the development of languages may be, under what
circumstances convergence, diversification occur, or creolisation?
Understanding some universal aspects of the relevant sociolinguistic processes
may be of crucial importance to reconstruct what happened thousands of years
ago on and around the Indian subcontinent.

On Sun, 1 Mar 1998  Edwin Bryant wrote:
> 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. 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.

With these comments, Hock's article has been drawn towards an Indigenous-Aryan
view. In fact, Hock summarizes the major arguments of those thinking that Indo-
Aryan is "subversively" influenced by Dravidian (in matters of retroflexion,
for instance) and those (especially Hock himself) who argue for alternative
accounts, such as a joint development and convergence. There is no indication
that Hock wants to defend an Indogenous Aryan model. Rather, Hock's model can
be called a "harmony model" of the relation between speakers of Indo-Aryan
languages and speakers of Dravidian languages.

Jan E.M. Houben
Department of Languages and Cultures of South- and
Central Asia ("Kern Institute")
P.O. Box 9515
2300 RA   Leiden

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