Comparative linguistics

Venkatraman Iyer venkatraman_iyer at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 16 00:23:15 UTC 2000

Contrary views on Linguistics by distinguished Professors.

Prof. Witzel:
>In spite of the aversion/hatred by some on the list, evident again just a
>few days ago, historical linguistics is as close as its gets in language
>study to natural science (after all, we can move our mouth, tongue, lips,
>teeth etc., in only so many ways...) Lack of knowledge or dismissal of this
>aspect of linguistics by the very natural scientists who like to take the
>high road on the list is indeed surprising.

Prof. Kalyanaraman 5 years ago:
>I believe, that it is not necessary to establish 'ancestry' for a word. If
>it is found across scores of languages spread across vast
>distances, and authenticated in very, very ancient literary texts and
>epigraphs, it does not really matter which phonetic variant came
>first, despite Mayrhoffer and Burrow/Emeneau disagreeing. What is more
>important are the 'images'

Prof. Fosse in a reply to Prof. B. Gupt:
>I have noticed that teaching religions in school can be a problem even
>here, although it does not lead to riots. The fact that you do not have
>religious studies is of course deplorable. Nor do you have comparative
>linguistics, which is a pity too.

Prof. Gupt earlier:
>'Aryan' or 'Indo-Europeans' as 'people', 'tribes', 'races' or 'linguistic
>gropus' may very well be a construction by the Europeans to reclaim their
>original self as the dynamism behind the flowering of 'classical' Greece,
>Persia and India. If it is being put to question in India today, should it
>suppresed as 'ethnocentric rant' obstructive of good work. Aryan construct
>served not only the colonial regime, it still serves the current
>north-south divide.

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