[INDOLOGY] Lexical challenge for the OIT

Arnaud Fournet fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr
Fri Oct 19 07:54:49 UTC 2018

@ Koenrad Elst scripsit:
"The OIT is just a theory, but one that happens to tally better with the 
evidence. The day you have counter-evidence, I'll listen to it 
attentively, and more politely than is the custom in your circles. "

Of course, I disagree that the OIT tallies better with the evidence we 
have. But let's proceed.

@ Koenrad Elst scripsit:
This is the kind of challenge I welcome, far preferable to the 
stonewalling that has so far characterized the stand taken by most AIT 
champions. Now at last we are going to compare notes. But being serious 
business, it will take time.

yes, I agree that you need some time to address such the fairly complex 
challenge I propose. I myself did not assemble the data listed in the 
previous post in just a day.

@ Koenrad Elst scripsit:
One important element that is already being addressed, is the PIE 
exchange with Tibetan, viz. by a young scholar from St-Petersburg, Igor 
Tonoyan-Belyayev, another convert to the OIT. Thus, Tib. pyugs, "cow", 
is said to be related to PIE > Latin pecus, "cattle", rather than to 
Sanskrit paSu. Of course it has its limitations, PIE being at the least 
3000 year older than the oldest attested Tibetan, and still some 1500 
years before the oldest cognate Chinese. But then Carpelan & Parpola 
dare to reconstruct both the Uralic and PIE genesis on the basis of 
languages separated from PIE by 5000 years. So this is a serious job, 
but logical: obviously the location of a language can partly be deduced 
from which other language has exchanged with it and which have not.

I have read some papers by Igor Tonoyan-Belyayev. I would emit very 
serious reservations about his competences on Indo-European issues.
As for Tibetan, the word is indeed interesting, but the correct form is 
phyugs (not **pyugs) "cow", with aspirated ph. It's always a problem if 
people can't even cite data correctly.
The word looks Tocharian, though not listed in Adams' dictionary. 
Compare *Hekw- > yuk, *pekw- > (unattested) pyuk > Tibetan.
So it's not a surprise that Tibetan contains borrowings from the 
easternmost branch of PIE.
Chinese *myet "honey" < Tocharian does not support the OIT either.

@ Koenrad Elst scripsit:
 > I have never applied the Reductio ad Hitlerum to Indo-European studies.

Good joke. It's all what your shit-and-muck sprinkling system is about. 
I quote one of your papers: "The AIT defenders are in the same camp as 
Adolf Hitler, the OIT is the opposite camp."
It's difficult to be clearer... If it's not a Reductio ad Hitlerum, I 
wonder what a Reductio ad Hitlerum amounts to.
Besides, you're entirely mistaken here, because what you call the OIT is 
clearly extracted from the same intellectual mold as Nazism. This mold 
is about contriving a mythical past that can be used to legitimize 
political, social and foremost territorial claims. Both Nazism and the 
OIT share the same obsession with autochthonicity, and they need a 
mythical past to support their claims.
So reality is crystal clear: the one who sides with Hitler is you, not 
me. I don't care about autochthonicity and both the Pontico-Caspian 
homeland or the Anatolian homeland are ok with me, though scientifically 
I prefer Anatolia and an early Neolithic dating for PIE breakup.

@ Koenrad Elst scripsit:
The opposite counts for many in India, who do see the whole issue in 
modern political terms and demonize the discipline itself as 
intrinsically imperialist and racist. They are so busy attributing 
colonial conspiracies to Max M?ller that they never get around to 
studying what actually happened 5000 years ago. But it so happens that 
all you AIT champions are, on this, in the same camp as Hitler. From a 
scholarly angle, this is no big deal, as even Hitler can be right once 
in a while; that at least is what all AIT believers implicitly claim.

ok, so you repeat your erroneous claim. I could have not quoted one of 
your papers.
The OIT and Nazism share the same intellectual mold and obsession with 
autochthonicity and a mythical past.
Migrations being the cause of IEan expansions, both (1) the 
Pontico-Caspian homeland of late Neolithic dating or (2) the Anatolian 
homeland of early Neolithic dating are anti-autochthonist theories. As a 
consequence, contrary to your claim, they do not side with Hitler, but 
the OIT sides with Hitler. Same mold, same intrinsic logic.

@ Koenrad Elst scripsit:
I only mention it because AIT defenders invariably justify their 
stonewalling of Shrikant Talageri's or Michel Danino's work by alleging 
associations with politics, viz. with Hindu Nationalism. Well, if you 
really insist on bringing in politics,

LOL. I appreciate your sense of humour.
I definitely object to bringing in politics... and making a mess of IEan 

@ Koenrad Elst scripsit:
it is well worth reminding everyone that there never was a scholarly 
theory more abused for politics than precisely their own AIT. It was 
central in the ideological superstructure of British colonialism (but 
also played a role in the budding Freedom Movement, as proving a common 
origin with the Brits), it was the illustration par excellence of the 
Nazi worldview, and it is still used till today by several political 
movements in India, notably neo-Ambedkarism (though BR Ambedkar himself 
rejected the AIT, unlike Hindutva founder VD Savarkar), Dravidian 
chauvinism and, less well-known, also by a last hold-out of Brahmin 
supremacism. So if you don't like politics, you should stay away from 
the AIT.

Anyway, the "AIT" does not exist. It's a strawman.
What exists is (1) the Pontico-Caspian homeland of late Neolithic dating 
or (2) the Anatolian homeland of early Neolithic dating.

@ Koenrad Elst scripsit:
Or more constructively: if Indo-Europeanists were serious about the 
Homeland question (and during the still-recent controversy about Colin 
Renfrew's Anatolian Homeland theory, they were), they would resolutely 
study the OIT, starting with Danino's work on the Saraswati (not a 
"Hindutva concoction" but documented by Western scholars since the 
1850s), some of Nicholas Kazanas' work on the Sanskrit roots, and esp. 
Talageri's work on the Vedic evidence for the "Aryan" emigration from 
India. For those who never heard about this yet: Talageri has also done 
interesting work on the linguistic aspect (do read his argument of a 
rare case of successful linguistic paleontology, viz. on the elephant), 
but his major claim to fame is the discovery that there actually exists 
literary evidence for the IE expansion. For those not willing to part 
with a penny for purchasing his books: much of his work is available on 
the net in the form of webinars and blogs.

Who would pay to read that stuff ??

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