Indo-Aryan migration vs Indigenous origin - scholarly debate

Dominique.Thillaud thillaud at UNICE.FR
Thu Mar 19 14:37:29 UTC 1998

Krishna writes:

>  OF course, lower down, they mention the samskrt word for "8" as
>"ashtau"..this is something absurd, since the "-au" ending comes about
>only in dvivacanam. (just as it is meaningless to have words like
>ekai:, or ekAbhyAm, the word "aSTau" for 8 is also nonsensical.)

"the "-au" ending comes about only in dvivacanam" ?
No: nominative aSTau (RV, &c.) being a counter-example.

        There was tentatives to explain aSTau by a dual, but without any
good result. The simpler was to consider *qet(w)r- (4), to cut the last "r"
(without understand it!), to suppose a zero degree with "qt" > "kt" and to
prefix by a dubious particle "O" (near) suggested by few Greek words and
Skr. A-gam- (shortened before two consonants?); finally: "two 4s brought

        In fact, it seems we have a "vanishing" "w" at the end of the
Eurindian root, suggested by the ordinals Lat. octAuos, Gr. ogdo(w)os and
by Got. ahtau.
        The Indian variants aSTa, aSTA, aSTau find a parallel in Greek
where the two forms oktO- and okta- coexist early (Homer) in compounds;
okta- was explained by the analogy with hepta- and hexa- but nothing is
sure with this mysterious number and the "a" could be genuine (see the Osq.
form Uhtavis of the Lat. name Octavius).

        Nevertheless, I agree with Krishna's comment. Regards,

Dominique THILLAUD
Universite' de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France

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