Origin of retroflexion in IA

Dominique.Thillaud thillaud at UNICE.FR
Sat Mar 28 00:18:46 UTC 1998

>By the same token, are those who try overly hard to deny
>"substratum"influences showing interest in language"purity"?
>Paul Kekai Manansala

        I don't have any interest in language "purity". As other ones, my
mother tongue is a marvellous mixing of an ancient evolution and of words
coming from everywhere in the world when their meanings were needed.
        I'm not racist, nor nationalist; on the contrary!
        I don't deny "substratum" influences nor borrowing of words.
        I just criticize those who use the notion without any proof, just
to mask their ignorance.
        Reading an etymological dictionnary, I prefer to read "unknown"
than "XXX loan word" without any serious analysis of the phonetical
ajustment and of the historical circumstances.

        I can give you a funny example (alas in the Greek domain, but I'm
sure you're able to find other ones in Indian domain):
        The Greek knows (Herodotos) a word "angaros" with the meaning
"official courier of the Achemenid empire". ALL the etym.dict., even the
betters, say: "Persian loan word". Alas, the word is strictly unknown in
any Persian text nor any near word, nor in any near language! How, in such
circumstances, can a scholar write seriously "Persian loan word"??
        In fact the word can be precisely dated by the institution itself,
the first great www established by Darios (Dariush). Remembering that Greek
peoples (Ionian) were in the Persian Empire and examining the Iranian
phonetism (no equivalent of the Greek "e", confusion between "l" and "r"),
it becomes evident that "angaros" is nothing but the Greek "angelos"
(messenger) pronounced with a strong Persian accent! The first word to say,
even not knowing the Greek, the only word to know to save himself in an
unexpected encounter!

        And that's not just a funny story! This pseudo-Persian "angaros"
had given for a long time a false track to study the Greek "angelos",
leading to reject the hypothesis of "h1" to explain the "e" despite the
frequency of the suffixation -h1lo- in Greek, hence to reject the link with
aGgiras ...
        I remember my Professor of Greek and Sanskrit saying about a
submitted work: "Votre hypothese est absurde, elle ne tient pas compte du
perse angaros!". I was young and impulsive, I threw the work in the trash
can, said few irreparable words, banged the door, and was never diplomed in

Dominique THILLAUD
Universite' de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France

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