[INDOLOGY] Kittel's list

Suresh Kolichala suresh.kolichala at gmail.com
Fri Jan 15 14:27:45 UTC 2016

On Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 3:37 AM, patrick mccartney
<psdmccartney at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear Friends,
> Is the list of 420 possible Dravidian loan words in Sanskrit that begins on page XVII of Kittel's preface considered correct/reliable?

Dear Patrick,

There have been a lot of discussion since  the time Kittel wrote that
preface in 1894, and I must say there is still no consensus among the
linguists on how many Dravidian loan words (if any) can be found in
early Sanskrit. Burrow's Dravidian Studies VII (1948) includes a list
of 315 items from Sanskrit which he traces to Dravidian sources. Among
these he identifies 26 words as attested in Rigveda. Emeneau examined
in his "Linguistic prehistory of India" (1954) and submits a list of
13 early Sanskrit loan words with a detailed etymological discussion.

Kuiper identified about 383 words in RV as non-IE (1955, 1991) and
pointed out that these loans have certain typical prefixes and
suffixes unusual for Sanskrit. He also argued that the large number of
words have no Dravidian explanation and the substrate language may
have been Para-Munda, a western form of ancient Austro-Asiatic. Witzel
continues Kuiper's argument (1999a, 1999b) and carried out a detailed
study to argue that the Dravidian loan words started to enter the
Sanskrit language only in the middle and late Rigvedic periods.

In addition to Dravidian and Munda, work by Masica (1979) showed that
30% of Hindi agricultural vocabulary is neither Dravidian nor nor
Munda and attributed them to an unknown substrate language, dubbed as
"language X". Several volumes of "Aryan and Non-Aryan in India" edited
by Madhav Deshpande and others (1979, 1999) contain detailed
discussions on this topic, which so far proven to be intractable. As
you may discern, the answers to the linguistic prehistory of South
Asia are intricately tied to the riddle of the Indus script and
language which is still unresolved and hotly contested.

I have come to believe that the Dravidian languages are recent
entrants to the peninsular India (~3000 BCE cf. Southern Neolithic),
and many features and words currently considered Dravidian may perhaps
belong to a set of pre-Dravidian substratum languages (I call them
Niṣādic languages) of ancient India. However, I believe a detailed
study on the common features of Indian linguistic area, along with a
multidisciplinary study involving data from linguistics, archaeology
and genetics can only solve this enigmatic riddle satisfactorily.

Atlanta, GA.

Burrow, Th. Some Dravidian words in Sanskrit. Transactions of the
Philological Society, 1945, 79-120
---, Loanwords in Sanskrit. Transactions of the Philological Society, 1946, 1-30
---, Dravidian Studies VII: Further Dravidian Words in Sanskrit.
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and
African Studies 12, 1947-48, 365-396
---, The Sanskrit language. London: Faber and Faber 1955
Kuiper, F.B. J., Proto-Munda words in Sanskrit. Amsterdam:
Noord-Hollandsche Uitgevers Maatschappij 1948
Kuiper, F.B. J., Rigvedic loan-words. In: O. Spies (ed.) Studia
Indologica. Festschrift für Willibald Kirfel zur Vollendung seines 70.
Lebensjahres. Bonn: Orientalisches Seminar 1955.
---, Aryans in the Rigveda, Amsterdam-Atlanta: Rodopi 1991
---, On a Hunt for 'Possible' Objections. IIJ 38, 1995, 239-247
Emeneau, M. B. India as a linguistic area. Language 32, 1956, 3-16
Witzel, Michael 1999a Substrate languages in Old Indo-Aryan.
Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies 5: 1–67.
Witzel, Michael 1999b Early sources for South Asian substrate
languages. Mother Tongue Special Issue October 1999: 1–70.

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