Asko Parpola on Todas, any comments ?

Raveen Satkurunathan tawady at YAHOO.COM
Mon Mar 20 22:23:00 UTC 2000

>In my article on Toda, I suggest that this language descends from
>that form of early South Dravidian which was later to become Old Tamil. It
>branched off from this "pre-Tamil" mother language when the ancestors of
>the Toda and Kota speakers moved to the Nilagiris from the plains and lost
>contact with other pre-Tamil speakers. This "proto-Toda-Kota" then
>developed on its own, until it branched into two, Toda and Kota, when
>Iranian horsemen belonging to the Sakas who ruled western India entered
>the Nilagiris around 400 AD. The newcomers, probably just men,  married
>local "pre-Toda" speakers, and started speaking their language, but
>the Dravidian speech of these Iranians was modified by the influence of
>their own native Saka language, and this strange way of speaking was
>inherited by their children. Evidence for this is the similarity of Toda
>phonology with Iranian phonology, while it differs very much from other
>Dravidian languages including the neighbouring and closely related
>Kota; archaeological evidence points to the coming of Sakas to Nilagiris
>c. 400 AD, and the physical features of the Todas as well as their
>polyandric marriage system also point to Iranians. It remains to search
>the Toda vocabulary carefully for possible Iranian loanwords, which could
>provide really clinching evidence.
With best regards, Yours, Asko Parpola.

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