Dravidian origins

Bjarte Kaldhol bjartekal at AH.TELIA.NO
Mon Dec 18 11:31:34 UTC 2000

But my problem is that I have no time for such studies. I would have liked
to see one or two arguments in favour of an immigration theory and a
reference to the "striking affinities" with Ural-Altaic languages (which
may not have existed in any known form in the fourth millennium!). Anyhow,
affinities with other languages cannot prove an immigration into India.
Best wishes,
Bjarte Kaldhol

From: hans henrich hock <hhhock at UX1.CSO.UIUC.EDU>
Subject: Re: Dravidian origins
Date: 18. desember 2000 00:22

For a starter, you might look at my paper "Pre-¡Rgvedic convergence
between Indo-Aryan (Sanskrit) and Dravidian?  A survey of the issues
and controversies." In:  Ideology and status of Sanskrit:
Contributions to the history of the Sanskrit language, ed. by J. E.
M. Houben, 17-58.  Leiden: Brill.  1996.  In the paper I give a brief
and, I hope, fair overview of various pertinent theories and their
problems.  The bibliographical references should open the way to
further, more in-depth presentations of the various views.

Best wishes,

Hans Henrich Hock

>Dear listmembers,
>Since I wanted to know something about the Dravidian languages without
>going so far as to read a grammar of Tamil, I sat down to read Zvelebil's
>article in Encyclopaedia Britannica (Vol. 22, 15th edition). In the third
>paragraph, he states: "Nothing definite is known about the origin of the
>Dravidian family."
>        Well, let us see what this professed ignorance leads to:
>1. There are vague indigenous traditions about an ancient migration from
>the south.
>2. According to some scholars, Dravidian languages are indigenous to
>3. A hypothesis has been gaining ground that posits a movement of
>speakers from the northwest to the south and east of the peninsula, a
>movement originating possibly from Central Asia. (This hypothesis is not
>substantiated, and Zvelebil later confesses that "nothing definite is
>about the ancient domain of the Dravidian parent speech".)
>4. Another theory connects the Dravidian speakers with the peoples of the
>Indus Valley civilization.
>5. The circumstances of the advent of Dravidian speakers in India are
>shrouded in mystery. (An "advent" is now taken for granted.)
>6. It is possible that a Dravidian-speaking people that can be described
>dolichocephalic Mediterraneans mixed with brachycephalic Armenoids and
>established themselves in northwest India during the 4th millennium BC.
>Along their route, they may have possibly come into an intimate, prolonged
>contact with Ural-Altaic speakers, thus explaining the striking affinities
>between the Dravidian and Ural-Altaic language groups. (No such affinities
>are mentioned.)
>7. It is possible that Proto-Brahui was the first language to split off
>from Proto-Dravidian, probably during the immigration movement into India
>some time in the 4th millennium BC...
>Now, if nothing definite is known about the origin of the Dravidian
>or about the ancient domain of the Dravidian parent speech, why speculate
>about an immigration movement? And why must this immigration have happened
>in the fourth millennium BC?
>One sentence (p. 698) is completely unintelligible to me: "Several
>have demonstrated that pre-Indo-Aryan and pre-Dravidian bilingualism in
>India provided conditions for the far-reaching influence of Dravidian on
>the Indo-Aryan tongues..." What pre-IA and pre-Dravidian languages were
>involved here? (No other languages are mentioned.) The conclusion is also
>enigmatic: "Thus a form of Proto-Dravidian... must have been extensive in
>north India before the advent of the Aryans."
>Perhaps somebody on this list with some insight into the matter would care
>to explain what is meant by pre-(not proto-)Indo-Aryan and pre-Dravidian
>Best wishes,
>Bjarte Kaldhol

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