Indo-Aryan invasion

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Wed Mar 4 22:54:01 UTC 1998

Edwin Bryant wrote:

, I propose that for
>discussion's sake it would be useful and appropriate if we trimmed
>the migration theory of all superfluous details, unwarranted assumptions,
>speculations that may be reasonable but not decisive, interpretations that
>can be reversed to support an opposing viewpoint, etc, and establish the
>basic, compelling, and irrefutable arguments that support or necessitate
>the claim of an external origin for the Indo-Aryans into the
>Indian subcontinent.

The question is, Edwin, what these superfluous details etc. are. Apparently,
people disagree....

>Can we discuss other irrefutable linguistic evidence?
>Lars: regarding the gypsies--I was not aware that their vocab contained
>items of this nature.  I would be eager to see lists of words referring to
>exclusively Indian items of material culture such as fauna and flora in
>their lexicon if you can give me a good reference in this regard.

Edwin, I did not say that gypsy languages (or dialects) contain the sort of
words you mention (in fact, I am not an expert on such languages, although I
know one who is). But they contain a large number of words that can easily
be related to North Indian languages. An example: the Norwegian Tater
language (which can be regarded as an Indian language in its absolutely last
stage - only the words (or some of them) are Indic - the grammar is
Norwegian) has the word "pu" which means "earth". The phonology shows that
"pu" must come from bhuumi or bhuu. *bh > p is a regular feature of the
Indic words in this language. Another example is the English word "pal"
(borrowed from Gypsy!), which comes from bhraatar. The phonetic development
is regular. There are other examples, but I can't remember them, and I don't
have the material here. As for Indo-European, my point was that they would
have been in contact with other non-Indo-European languages, and that we
should expect to find words in Western languages that could be related to
non-IE languages in India. Those words could relate to anything, not
necessarily flowers etc. I would for instance expect Persian to show traces
of non-IE languages if it had come from India.

>one would have to factor in variables such as the difference in time
>period between their departure from India and that of our hypothetical
>case scenario, as well as the difference in linguistic conservatism
>between itinerant groups and sedentary groups, no?

Relevant point. My impression is that gypsy languages borrow to some extent
(an expert would have to say how much). In Norway, there is a gypsy dialect
called "lovari". This word comes from the Hungarian word "lo", possessive
"lova", which means "horse". Lovari is then the language of the
horse-traders! Guess where this group of gypsies had been.

Best regards,

Lars Martin Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo

Tel: +47 22 32 12 19
Fax: +47 22 32 12 19
Email: lmfosse at
Mobile phone: 90 91 91 45

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