Paired Horse and PIE breakup

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at WXS.NL
Fri Nov 6 09:57:34 UTC 1998

Paul Kekai Manansala <kekai at JPS.NET> wrote:

>Miguel Carrasquer Vidal wrote:
>> We know that before the first documented Turkic presence in Central
>> Asia (8th. century Orkhon inscriptions, and before that a 6th century
>> Turkic document in Sogdian script found in Mongolia), most of the
>> languages spoken in Central Asia ("Russian" and "Chinese" Turkestan)
>> were Iranian.  There is a large number of Sogdian, Saka-Khotanese and
>> Old Khwarezmian documents that testify to this.
>No, you can't tell what people spoke by a few recovered documents.
>For example, there are many old tombstones in insular Southeast Asia
>with Arabic inscriptions.  Yet these do not indicate the language spoken
>by the people.  Likewise you can find plenty of evidence of Arabic
>right after the Arab invasion of Central Asia. The Sakas who invaded
>India quickly adopted Indic languages; the Parthians adopted Persian;
>the Mongols of Samarkand adopted Turkish, etc., etc.

Indeed.  But you can't dismiss Sogdian that way.  First, we're not
talking about a few inscriptions or documents here, but about a whole
literature, written down in three distinct scripts (native Sogdian
script [from which the Uighur and Mongolian scripts are derived],
Manichean Syriac script, and Christian Nestorian script).  Second,
unlike Arabic, Sogdian documents are found in Central Asia only,
nowhere else.  They can't be foreign imports.  Third, a language
demonstrably descended from Sogdian, Yaghnobi, is spoken today in
Central Asia. Fourth, the Turkic languages spoken in Central Asia
today (Uighur and Uzbek, among others), show plenty of borrowings
from old Sogdian.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

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