[INDOLOGY] Lexical challenge for the OIT

Arnaud Fournet fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr
Thu Oct 18 08:05:38 UTC 2018

@ Koenraad Elst

I'd like to propose you a lexical challenge about your beloved OIT.

As an aside, we might discuss the exact nature of your "work". Is it 
really a scientific discourse or is it a kind of parasitic commentary on 
scientific discourse? I don't know if here is the right place for that 
kind of epistemological debate. My opinion is that your discourse is 
mostly a shit-and-muck sprinkling system that parades behind the mask of 
a pseudo-historiographical narrative, and that tries to sell a reductio 
ad Nazismus of Indo-European studies. But I'll let that to rest, as it 
might have been already discussed here.

Apparently, you do not seem to list in your bibliography the review I 
made of Talageri's book about "the final evidence", after you sent me a 
copy 10 years ago. To be frank, I belong to the category you mention of 
people who had never heard of the OIT. To put it simple, the OIT is so 
insane that I had not even imagined it existed.

Insane though the OIT may seem, it's not so easy to refute on purely 
lexical grounds and during the 10 years since you sent me Talageri's 
book, I've been thinking about regular linguistic arguments about how to 
handle the issue of the PIE homeland.

People usually consider that if a family originates in some homeland 
somewhere, then sister-families of said family should be located in the 
whereabouts of said homeland. I think this principle is universally 

So I will first provide a number of indications about sister-languages 
of PIE:

1. Basque contains words that have decidedly archaic PIE phonetics. For 
example, hartz "bear" which is strikingly similar to Hittite hartakka- 
(PIE *H2rt-k-). Another less well-known item is ulhe, ulle "wool" (PIE 
*wlH2-). These Basque words are all the more interesting as they contain 
laryngeals. There are quite a lot of such words, but not all with 

It seems unlikely that these words can be directly borrowed from PIE. 
Rather they are probably borrowed from some sister-language of PIE that 
was farther west than PIE and could get in contact with Basque at some 
point in the prehistory of Basque.

2. The existence of sister-languages of PIE in (Western) Europe is shown 
by a number of words in IEan languages (like Germanic, Italic or Celtic) 
that look like cognates but have un-IEan vocalism. For example, the word 
*pat-, *paut- "paw", or the word *kaput- "head". These words can be 
compared with PIE *ped- "foot" and PIE *ghebh-el- "head, top". They are 
dialectal with a limited geographic distribution, and logically they 
cannot be inherited from PIE properly said.

These words (*pat-, *paut- "paw", *kaput- "head") are structurally 
isomorphic with PIE as to consonants, but the vocalism a/u is aberrant. 
In other words, they are cognates belonging to sister-languages of PIE.

3. Another set of words can be derived from PIE roots thanks to un-IEan 
morphology. An example of that situation is Greek maskhalê "armpit" 
which shares the root of Germanic *skl-dr- "shoulder" and an extra 
prefix m(a)-. The root in maskhalê is not *maskh- but *skhal-. This 
prefix m- is in fact more frequent than people have been aware so far. 
For example, *manu- "man" can be compared with PIE *H4n-er "man". Again, 
we can see that a word like *manu- has the same aberrant vocalism a/u as 
*pat-, *paut- "paw", and *kaput- "head". Another better-known prefix is a-.

In my opinion, these words (and there are plenty of others) are highly 
suggestive that PIE must have been originally located not too far from 
Europe, where sister-languages of PIE seem to have been spoken, before 
their ultimate replacement by IEan languages. Otherwise, it becomes 
impossible to understand how sister-languages of PIE can provide 
borrowings in Basque with archaic phonetics or substratic words that 
look like cognates of PIE regular words.

So my lexical challenge for you and your OIT comrades is as follows: 
Considering that the OIT claims that PIE was originally a neighbor of 
Dravidian, Munda or Tibeto-Burmese,

1. Could you please provide a few words in Dravidian, Munda or 
Tibeto-Burmese, that have archaic PIE phonetics (like Basque hartz)? 
Laryngeals are especially welcome.

2. Could you please provide a few words in Dravidian, Munda or 
Tibeto-Burmese, that look like borrowings from a sister-language of PIE 
(like pat, paut, kaput, etc)? That is to say isomorphic with PIE words 
but with aberrant vocalism.

3. Could you please provide a few words in Dravidian, Munda or 
Tibeto-Burmese, that can be explained as PIE roots with abnormal 
morphology (like the pair Greek maskhalê "armpit" vs Germanic *skl-dr- 
"shoulder")? Of course, several words are necessary to make an affix a 
reasonable hypothesis.

Looking forward to your proposals.

Best regards

Arnaud Fournet

Le 16/10/2018 à 18:00, indology-request at list.indology.info a écrit :
> Message: 4
> Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2018 21:21:47 +0200 (CEST)
> From:koenraad.elst at telenet.be
> To: Shyam Ranganathan<shyamr at yorku.ca>
> Cc: Indology<indology at list.indology.info>
> Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Nazi-ism, India,
> Message-ID:
> 	<1870448034.285538446.1539631307453.JavaMail.zimbra at telenet.be>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> Dear Shyam, dear listfolk,
> " the development of ideas associated with National Socialism by those who took an interest in India"? That is the central thesis of Sheldon Pollock's paper Ex Oriente Nox, 1993, and this is my refutation:
> http://www.academia.edu/33837547/PurvaPaksha1607NaziIndology.docx  
> On " the racist reception of India in Europe (the friendliness to "Arya" or "Swastika" for instance) where India was treated as a kind of European prehistory": India was treated as a kind of prehistory of Europe during the first decades after the official annunciation of Indo-European unity in 1786. And even before, vide passing remarks in that sense by Voltaire, Kant and Herder. Details available in my (in other respects already dated) paper:
> http://www.academia.edu/14458226/Why_Linguistics_necessarily_holds_the_key_to_the_solution_of_the_Indo-European_Homeland_question  
> And in my book Asterisk in Bh?rop?yasth?n, of which the relevant chapters are available on-line:
> http://www.academia.edu/20084004/_The_politics_of_the_Aryan_invasion_debate_ch._3_of_K._Elst_Asterisk_in_Bh?rop?yasth?n_Delhi_2007  
> http://www.academia.edu/20084136/_Savarkar_Hinduness_and_the_Aryan_Homeland_ch._4_of_K._Elst_Asterisk_in_Bh?rop?yasth?n_Delhi_2007  
> As for the swastika: if Hitler, who repeatedly expressed his contempt for India and Hinduism (as opposed to Islam: martial and natalistic and thus an example to follow), would never have chosen the Swastika if he had associated it with India. In his view, Indians received the benefit of the Swastika from the invading Aryans from Europe. He was a Philhellene (Grecophile) and the Swastika was a common motif in Greece and Troy. It also existed marginally in the European Middle Ages, and especially, even till today, in the Baltic states. There, in 1919-20, German WW1-returned soldiers formed the Freikorps militias to fight off Soviet aggression, and they brought it home. Many of these combative nationalists flocked to the budding NSDAP. Hitler vaguely knew that the Swastika was popular in Asia, but he attributed that to importation by the invading "Aryans". The Nazis and all other Europeans at that time located the Homeland somewhere in Europe. Most favoured at that time was the Pripyet swamps in Belorus, but Germany, Scandinavia, the Balkans and also already the Pontic steppes were other candidates, and Heinrich Himmler's research instititute Ahnenerbe even thought of Atlantis; but at any rate not India. Nor Tibet, where the SS sent an expedition but found that the Tibetans had the broadest skulls of all, whereas Aryans were supposed to be dolichocephalic.
> In 1920, Hitler even explicitly formulated the Aryan Invasion Theory (references in one of the above papers), complete with upper-castes as mongrelized immigrants from Europe. Interestingly, some Indian AIT champions have recently revived this view, on the primitive assumption that the linguistic Homeland question can be solved by genetics, the more advanced form of the physical anthropology so dear to the Nazis.
> As for "Aryan", of course the substance of the word came from Sanskrit, but a century before Nazism started. The attributed meaning was already a reinterpretation. It never had a racial meaning (in the physical-anthropological sense), though it had a relative-ethnic meaning: "fellow tribesman", "us". Hindu apologists will tell you that it only means "noble", but that is already a derived meaning. See:
> http://koenraadelst.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-indo-european-vedic-and-post-vedic.html  (please ignore the garbled chapter numeration)
> and (you might be surprised by the title, as I was when discovering this hypothesis):
> http://koenraadelst.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-chinese-self-designation-hua-and.html  
> I have more stuff on this topic, all generated by debates with existing opposite viewpoints. There are many misconceptions and mystifications in this field (often deliberately kept alive for political reasons), yet you only need to read Hitler's brief but crystal-clear statements on Hindus and on Aryans to start pin-pricking them.
> Hope this helps.
> Dr. Koenraad Elst, non-affiliated Orientalist

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