Language name, people's name, and place name (was Re: Vital Statistics)

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Mon Jan 10 18:57:47 UTC 2000

In a message dated 1/9/00 3:41:19 PM Central Standard Time,
abhinav at DEL3.VSNL.NET.IN writes:

> > In the case of Tamil, the language name is primary and the place
>  > name and the people's name are derived names.
>  Can we be really sure, this seems more like, who came first chicken or the
> egg.

Yes, we can be sure. Dravidian linguistic principles make it very clear there
is no chicken and egg problem with respect to the language name Tamil.

This leads me to a general question. How common is the primacy of language
name vis-a-vis people's name or even place names in IA, IE, Munda, Semitic
traditions or across the globe?

I think at a time when movements of people result in diverse people coming
together, an identity based on language use may lead to easier assimilation
than race-oriented or geography-oriented labels? Has this been studied? In
that respect, I would like to know if there are other situations where other
groups came together in pre-historic periods using a language-based identity
such as the Tamil identity.

S. Palaniappan

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list