Re: Misra, Bryant and Indigenous-Nationalist Conflation

From: tgpedersen
Message: 13000
Date: 2002-04-03

> From: Dean_Anderson
> To: cybalist@...
> Sent: Monday, April 01, 2002 6:34 PM
> Subject: [tied] Re: Misra, Bryant and Indigenous-Nationalist
> Actually some Indologists are very sensitive about this because we
are in the midst of a major crisis now that almost all the South
Asian archaeologists (Indian and Western both) are abandoning the
Aryan Migration Theory (except maybe for Meadow) and emphasizing
indigenous origins.

--- In cybalist@..., "Piotr Gasiorowski" <gpiotr@...> wrote:
> Many things can have indigenous origins, but a language family
can't have originated in many far-flung places at the same time. We
would have a major crisis indeed if all the IE branches claimed
indigenousness :). It's so hard to please everybody ...
> The discussion of any homeland hypothesis ("PIE was spoken in X")
should begin with the question "why X?" rather than "why not X?". I
haven't yet seen a cogent argument pointing to India as the PIE
homeland. The discussion usually revolves round the question of the
Aryan migration and its archaeological documentation, as if the lack
(or rather weakness) of such documentation were tantamount to the
demonstration of the indigenousness of the Indo-Aryan _languages_
(beginning with Vedic).

One argument (cogent or otherwise) would be the Austric(?)-Sumerian-
AfroAsiatic-PIE extended Manansala list

but we are not many believers in that.

> Indologists naturally focus on India, but in a wider Indo-European
perspective, in which Indo-Iranian is just one of about a dozen
branches, the migration problem is by no means unique. Languages seem
to be able to migrate without leaving clear traces in the
archaeological record, as their speakers penetrate new areas and
become integrated into their cultural environments. Where, for
example, is the unambiguous evidence of a Hitto-Luwian conquest of
Anatolia? Or of a Tocharian migration to Xinjiang? Or of the
colonisation of Armenia by the Armenians? Or of a Goidelic conquest
of Ireland? In fact, most of the proposals connecting the various IE
languages with identifiable archaeological cultures are tentative and
highly insecure.
> Deriving PIE from India without turning PIE linguistics upside down
would require an acrobatic historical scenario. Since there's no
linguistic evidence of a primary split into Indo-Aryan and non-Indo-
Aryan (whereafter the latter would have moved to a "secondary
homeland" to split into more branches), the only solution that
respects the structure of the IE family tree (barring the possibility
of pre-Indo-Aryan first migrating out of India and then coming back
home to the subcontinent, which would satisfy neither the indigenists
nor the migrationists) is to have several successive IE migration
waves leave India and populate Europe and parts of Asia over the
millennia. That would require a number of really massive but
archaeologically unsubstantiated exoduses -- a high price to pay for
abandoning a model that requires a single movement in the opposite
A-hem. Didn't you just say that migrations rarely leave
archaeological traces? How high is the price then?

> Areal and substrate studies don't favour an Indian homeland.
Evidence of contact with the language families of South Asia is
(unsurprisingly) rich in Indo-Aryan but tapers out before it reaches
Central Asia. Even Iranian is different in this respect. One node
deeper, there are uniquely Indo-Iranian words that have not diffused
to the other branches. One would have to assume that after each split
and out-of-India migration a completely new substrate was absorbed by
the stay-at-home group. Then, there are several historical layers of
borrowings -- including those from pre-Proto-Indo-Iraniana and Proto-
Indo-Iranian proper -- in Finno-Ugric. What's also suspect is the
genetic homogeneity of the IE languages in India. All of them belong
to the same subbranch of IE, and there is no evidence of former
differentiation -- an unlikely situation for a homeland area.
The contact has always been assumed to be from west to east. How do
we know that the loaning (and of course there are clear west-to-east
examples) wasn't in the other direction? Eg. the snake-naga word?
As to heterogeneity in the supposed center of origin - yes, I believe
in that too, but where is the heterogeneity of dialects around the
city of Rome? Perhaps after the last non-IA migration some pre-proto-
As^oka came along and spread one language in India?

> Piotr