Re: [pieml] (unknown)

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 12358
Date: 2002-02-14

No surviving IE language is so close to the common ancestor of the family as to justify ignoring the evidence obtained from other descendants of PIE. The job of reconstructing the "IE core" in Sanskrit, Greek, Albanian, Lithuanian, Welsh or Hittite involves, among other things, isolating the areal influences that have affected the lineages in question during their separate existence. No need to argue that it's "more appropriate" (than what?), since everybody knows that it should be done. But why "first"? The first logical step in studying linguistic relationships is the search for systematic sound correspondences in lexicon and morphology. The identification of external influences is a by-product of rigorous comparison.
Example: you have recently suggested that <> could have something to do with OTam. ukam. This is the purest guess, unsupported by anything apart from a certain vague resemblance (which means nothing by itself). By contrast, there is a formally satisfactory explanation of Skt. (plus its whole paradigm and derivatives) as related to Gk. kHtHo:n, Hitt. tekan, Toch.A tkaM, Lith. z^eme., etc. (plus, less directly, to Lat. homo/homin-, Lith. z^mon-, OE guman- 'man') via independently reconstructed sound changes and morphological processes (_not_ because of mere phonetic similarity).
Of course Sanskrit (or any other language) can be studied on its own, or only in a local context. But if you chose to do that, you can't say anything meaningful about its prehistory and external relationships. I teach selected elements of IE linguistics and PIE grammar to students of English as part of a "History of English" course because PIE _is_ part of the history of English (indeed, its starting point as far as we can reconstruct with confidence). Why would you like to deprive students of Sanskrit of this wider context?
----- Original Message -----
From: kalyan97
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2002 3:46 AM
Subject: [pieml] (unknown)

How essential is knowledge of Vedic Sanskrit for PIE studies?

If Vedic Sanskrit is very distant from PIE because of adstratum,
substratum influences of languages such as Munda, Dravidian, and even
the so-called Pra_kr.ts (however, loosely defined) isn't it more
appropriate first to isolate such influences to arrive at the core
PIE in Vedic Sanskrit?

It appears that study of PIE is not essential to study Sanskrit
linguistics. Sanskrit may have to be evaluated in reference to the
languages of India. PIE studies may help evaluate the extent to which
Sanskrit is related to IE languages. If so, why should Sanskrit
scholars be asked to study PIE linguistics?