Sarasvati (texts & arch.III)

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at WXS.NL
Tue May 26 09:34:55 UTC 1998

Erik Seldeslachts <erik.seldeslachts at RUG.AC.BE> wrote:

>I think it is not only wrong to consider the language preserved in the
>Near-Eastern documents as IIr in stead of IA, but also there is no
>conclusive evidence to state it is pre-Vedic. One could as well argue that
>this language conserves some archaic features but on the whole presents a
>transitional phase between Old-Indo-Aryan and Middle-Indo-Aryan: e.g.
>satta(-vartanna) : MIA satta- 'seven', with assimilation of the consonant
>cluster in OIA sapta-; Indara, with typical MIA vowel-epenthesis to resolve
>the consonant cluster in OIA Indra-; Bardashva : Skt VRdhAZva-, with
>evolution of initial v- to b-; etc.

Don't forget that these words have come to us in cuneiform (syllabic)
writing.  Indra or Indara would both have been written indifferently
as IN-DA-RA, so we can infer nothing from that.  *sapta > satta is so
trivial and common a change, that not much can be concluded from it
either.  I'm not familiar with the name (?) Bardashva, but Kikkuli's
treatise contains the forms -wartanna "turn" and wasanna "horse
training area, stadium", with v- rendered as w-.  Gamq'relidze and
Ivanov in their "Indoevropejskij jazyk i indoevropejcy" conclude,
based i.a. on that word wasanna (Iranian *wazana "road") that the
Aryan layer in Mitanni is closer to Iranian than Indo-Aryan.  A
somewhat provocative conclusion, to be sure, but I'd say the
linguistical basis for considering it specifically Indo-Aryan (aika-)
is equally shaky.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

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