[INDOLOGY] Kittel's list

George Hart glhart at berkeley.edu
Fri Jan 15 15:37:55 UTC 2016

I’d note that there are some important old words in Sanskrit and Tamil that seem to have no satisfactory etymology in either language. Two I have noticed are kāla / kālam and kāma / kāmam. Of course it is impossible to generalize from two words — we don’t have enough data — but it would be interesting to take the “niṣādic” words in Hindi and see if there are Dravidian correlates. 

I’d ask Suresh why Tamil, the southernmost Dravidian language, is the most conservative. If Dravidian speakers had entered India (from the east?) and moved through a huge territory of “Niṣādic” (and other?) speakers, one would expect Tamil to be far more changed from Proto-Dravidian than it is. George

> On Jan 15, 2016, at 6:27 AM, Suresh Kolichala <suresh.kolichala at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.
> Regards,
> Suresh.
> 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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