[INDOLOGY] new article: EJVS 26

Caley Smith smith.caley at gmail.com
Sun Aug 21 19:12:32 UTC 2022

Dear Geoffrey,

A typological approach seems valid to me, although it could require the
same semantic change to happen independently.
It is not an inevitable change, of course, cognates Greek allos, Latin
alius/alter, English else never became semantically specialized in the way
ari- eventually does. I don't think we can chalk it up to having a backup
like anya- as another "other" since English has another "other" too: other
< *antero-. I have always seen the shift of ari- as occurring in a specific
political context where the other clan is not exactly an enemy but a rival
for position within the coalition of the clans (thus ari > ārya "the
political ceremony you do with the ari"), ārya of course is never pejorized
like later ari-. Btw, I am happy to send you pdfs of Mayrhofer's EWA.


On Sun, Aug 21, 2022 at 2:24 PM Geoffrey Caveney <geoffreycaveney at gmail.com>

> Dear Caley,
> Thank you very much for your critical feedback; I appreciate it very much.
> Regarding the semantic development of ari-, I appreciate and I am grateful
> for Caley's observations about the etymology and historical semantic
> development of this form in Indo-Aryan. I am curious, does this mean that
> you claim that Monier-Williams was mistaken in his definition of *2.
> a-rí-* as "'not liberal,' envious, hostile, RV.; (*ís*), m. an enemy,
> RV." (M-W p. 87, bottom of 3rd column, long final entry in the column)? My
> interpretation of this entry would be that according to Monier-Williams,
> this word appears in the Rigveda (RV) with the meaning "an enemy".
> Does this mean that MW's interpretation of the relevant passage of the
> Rigveda was incorrect? Changing the meaning of a word from "enemy" to
> "guest" seems to be a significantly major alteration that would drastically
> change the meaning of the passage of RV in which it appears.
> But if we accept that MW is indeed mistaken on this semantic point, as
> Caley suggests that Mayrhofer indicates, then we may still return to the
> presumably original meaning "other" or "other person". It still seems
> plausible to me that there may well possibly have been an independent
> semantic development in the Mediterranean in the Bronze Age that could have
> been parallel to the later post-Vedic in situ semantic development: "other
> (person)" > "enemy" seems to be a natural enough semantic development that
> could have occurred independently in different times and places from the
> same Indo-Aryan root word.
> As a typological comparison, we may consider the semantic development of
> Proto-Indo-European *gʰóstis, which developed to mean *hostis* 'enemy' in
> Latin, but which developed to mean *gasts* 'guest' in Gothic, *gestr* 'guest'
> in Old Norse (from which indeed English "guest" is derived), гость 'guest'
> in Old Church Slavic, etc. Likewise we may consider the semantic
> development of Polish *obcy* 'foreign; stranger' and dialectal Ukrainian
> *ві́бчий* 'foreign', both from Proto-Slavic *obьťь 'common', a meaning
> retained in Old Church Slavic and other Slavic daughter languages. Another
> example is Proto-Slavic *ťȗďь 'foreign, alien, strange' (e.g., OCS щоуждь,
> Russian чужой, чуждый) from PIE *tewtéh₂ 'people, tribe'; Baltic cognates
> largely retain the original PIE meaning or develop it to mean 'land,
> country', but one extended meaning of Latvian *tauta* is 'people from
> another region'. (The PIE root is the ancestor of German *Deutsch*,
> Proto-Italic *toutā, Irish *tuath*, Welsh *tud*, etc.)
> The point is that numerous typological examples demonstrate that the
> meaning 'enemy', 'hostile', 'foreign', etc., can frequently arise
> independently from a process of historical semantic development from roots
> with more neutral original meanings. Thus it seems plausible to me to
> suggest that the semantic development 'other (person)' > 'enemy' and/or
> 'other (person)' > 'guest' > 'enemy' could have occurred independently in
> Minoan Indo-Aryan at an early stage and in post-Vedic Sanskrit at a later
> stage.
> Best,
> Geoffrey
> On Sat, Aug 20, 2022 at 10:14 AM Caley Smith <smith.caley at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Dear Michael,
>> A minor point, as I have not yet read the paper in detail---but I am
>> curious as to why Monier-Williams is used as the semantic base instead of
>> Mayrhofer's EWA. For instance, based on MW the author renders ari- as
>> "enemy," when it really could not be so as that is a post-Vedic in situ
>> semantic development. At the hypothesized phase of the language, it should
>> mean something like "other" (following Thieme "other (person)" > RV
>> "guest") and any local semantic developments in the Mediterranean would
>> proceed from that sense.
>> Best,
>> Caley
>> On Fri, Aug 19, 2022 at 11:13 PM Witzel, Michael <witzel at fas.harvard.edu>
>> wrote:
>>> We are happy to announce another installment of the Electronical Journal
>>> of Vedic Studies, Vol. 26 (2022):
>>> Geoffrey Caveney, Evidence of Indo-Aryan dialect in 10 Minoan Linear A
>>> inscriptions …
>>> Please critically read this exploratory paper!
>>> It will now be uploaded at Heidelberg (
>>> https://hasp.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/journals/ejvs/).
>>> M.WItzel
>>> ============
>>> Michael Witzel
>>> witzel at fas.harvard.edu
>>> <www.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/mwpage.htm
>>> <http://www.fas.harvard.edu/%7Ewitzel/mwpage.htm>>
>>> Wales Prof. of Sanskrit
>>> Dept. of South Asian Studies, Harvard University
>>> 1 Bow Street,
>>> Cambridge MA 02138, USA
>>> phone: 1- 617 - 495 3295, fax 617 - 496 8571;
>>> my direct line:  617- 496 2990
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> INDOLOGY mailing list
>>> INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
>>> https://list.indology.info/mailman/listinfo/indology
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