SV: Comparative linguistics

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Sat Mar 18 12:32:00 UTC 2000

RM.Krishnan [SMTP:poo at GIASMD01.VSNL.NET.IN] skrev 18. mars 2000 12:59:
> I just want to add one remark.
> In this honoured list itself, with many scholars around, the word 'Indology'
> is almost always interpreted as
> 'Sanskritology' i.e. matters relevant to north India.
> Where is South India and related matters? Once in a while a few scholars
> about Tamil and others are apparently
> dismissive about it. In two of my postings, I mentioned that indology does
> get benefitted by restricting like this.

I believe this has to do with historical reasons. Traditionally, "Indology"
referred primarily to the study of India's *classical* languages as this term
was understood in the last century. In other words: Sanskrit, Prakrit, Pali.
(There is in other words an element of habit here). In the US, I believe one
has tried to give the child a new name: South Asian studies. The problem with
this term, however, is that it covers too much, so that when we want to refer
to India's classical culture(s) and languages, we revert to the older term.  In
fact, Indology is not a good term, try to coin the term "Europology", and you
will immediately see what I mean, particularly if you restrict its meaning to
the study of classical antiquity. More differentiated and less clunky terms
would have been an advantage, but if we don't want to use "South Asian"
studies, Indology is what we've got.

I believe that I am now pushing my quota for this month, so this will be the
last email from me in March.

Best regards,

Lars Martin Fosse

Dr. art. Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo
Phone/Fax: +47 22 32 12 19
Email: lmfosse at

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