48 Comments - Posted on April 25, 2018April 25, 2018 by AnAnJaydeepsinh Rathod on the historocity of Sanskriti@Fraxinicus,1. But it can, however, be used to argue against an origin in India – the Indo-Gangetic plain is also a spread zone, but the demographic weight of agricultural populations mean that spread of a language is much more difficult here – which is why Scythian and Hunnic and Turkic conquerors haven’t left any linguistic descendants in the subcontinentHere is where you need to remember that there was already considerable demographic weight in the Bronze Age itself in the Indus civilization. This means that steppe nomads coming in from the North in the 2nd millenium BC quite simply could not have had the enormous success in changing the linguistic landscape going by what as you yourself indicate happened with the later migrants.If IE languages originated in India, we would expect at least one other basal branch of the family to be found in South Asia. That is, there should be some other IE subfamily in or around India that is about as different from Indo-Aryan as the European IE languages are.Almost all the books that give an overview on the Indo-European language family, pretend as if all Indo-Aryan languages descend from the Rgvedic Sanskrit. However the reality is far more complex.You must be aware of the canonical language of the Buddhists – Pali. Well,“Pali as a MIA language is different from Sanskrit not so much with regard to the time of its origin than as to its dialectal base, since a number of its morphonological and lexical features betray the fact that it is not a direct continuation of Rgvedic Sanskrit;rather it descends from a dialect (or a number of dialects) which was (/were), despite many similarities, different from Rgvedic. ”” Some examples may help to illustrate this point: (1) (ug-/pag)gharati ‘oozes’ points back to a form * °g^arati (from PII *y/gzhar, see Avestan Vyzar) which reflects the voiced cluster of PIE *Vdhg-her ‘to flow, move forcefully’ as against Vedic ksdrati and Greek (pdeipo)\ (2) we meet with the same difference of voiced and surd consonant in ljhayati ‘burns, is on fire’ (andjhana- ‘f\XQ\jhdpaka- ‘incendiary’, jhapana- ‘setting on firQ\jhdpeti ‘sets on f\xt\jhama- ‘on fire’) and xghdyati ‘is burnt, is tormented’, on the one hand, and OIA y/ksd on the other, continuations of PIE *y/dhg*heH; (3) (anupa/ano/uj)jagghati ‘laughs at’ – as well as the Rgvedic hapax jdjhjhati- ‘laughing’ (5.52.6).- is a dialectical variant from Indo-Iranian *fhlagzhati as against KV(+)jaksa ° (< */a-^s-a °)”“This base dialect (or dialects) of Pali was (/were) in several points more archaic than Rgvedic Sanskrit: (1) (i)dha ‘here’4 (see p. 91) directly continues – other than Rgvedic ihd – PIE * °dhe (see Greek evep0€)\ and (2) kinati ‘buys’ has preserved – other than Rgvedic krinati (with the -f- from kritd- < *krrih2t6~) – the original short -f- of the present stem *krrineh2-. One of the dialects on which Pali rests seems to have had affinities with the language of the holy texts of Zarathustrism, the Avesta: (1) nharu- ‘sinew’ (< *snarut- < *snaurt-) agrees with Avestan snauuard against Vedic (AV+) snavan-2; (2) (a)sata- ‘(tfiis)fortune, (un)pleasant’3 is a continuation of *sata-9 which belongs to PII *ciatd~ (< PIE *k~iehIt6- [see Latin quietus]). Since (OIA) *cyata~ and (Pali) *cata- are to be expected, Yaska’s and Patanjali’s records, that the Kambojas of eastern Iran had a word savati cto go’ (Nirukta II2, Mahabhasya 19,25-26) which answers to Avestan s(ii)auua(ite) and not to the OIA pendant cydva(ti), is of particular interest.”https://www.scribd.com/doc/184898474/113354272-Oberlies-Thomas-Pali-408pThere were several Prakrit languages besides Pali in ancient India like Magadhi, Sauraseni, Paisachi, Maharashtri, Gandhari etc. and none of them can be considered as a direct descendent of Rigvedic Sanskrit. So there was considerable linguistic diversity in ancient India in the Indo-European languages. However due to the dominant and outsized role of Sanskrit, most of these other lesser known languages got heavily influenced by Sanskrit and lost their individuality.Have you heard of the language Bangani spoken in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, North India ? It is a kentum language found in the foothills of the Himalayas deep within North India.“The language seems to have retained some very archaic structures, retaining PIE k-, -l~-, g- and -g-. Many. words in Bangani unlike other IA languages of the region have not witnessed palatalization defying RUKi Rule. It is difficult to prove at this point whether this is because of its affiliation to Kenturn language as claimed by Zoller. However, on the basis of the first-hand data acquired during these two field trips. ,it can be said without any prejudices and with some certainly that some Western Indo-European language (perhaps Tokharian) of which we have no knowledge so far. either had a significant role in substratumizing Bangani or, Bangani itself was genetically related to this unknown Western IE language. ,b>There are many other features in the language such as existence of O as against a of I.Ir., pre-verbal auxiliaries (without being a V2 language system), and post auxiliary negatives that may also be seen as retentions of archaic structure in Bangani of which traces are only in Indo-European languages”http://www-personal.umich.edu/~pehook/bangani.abbi2.htmlBesides, Tokharian was itself spoken not very far off from the Indian subcontinent. Rigvedic Sanskrit is also one of the earliest attested IE languages and that too within South Asia itself with its geographic vision already spread out from Afghanistan in the West to Western UP in the East.2.There are very early borrowings between Indo-European languages and Uralic, Caucasian, and Afro-Asiatic (perhaps specifically Semitic) languages. Many borrowings into Uralic are in fact specifically from the Indo-Iranian branch of IE. Of course, none of these other language families are natively found anywhere near India, except Semitic languages in eastern Arabia that are separated from India by hundreds of miles of water. The steppe hypothesis accounts well for Uralic and Caucasian borrowings, and the Afro-Asiatic borrowings fit plausibly into the narrative as well.You should know that the Indus civilization’s influence was quite substantial in the Eastern Iranian civilizations of Helmand (Shahr i Sokhta) and Jiroft as well as BMAC in Central Asia. The present genetic study supports this very well. Besides these civilizations were using Indian Zebu cattle and to this day, the dominant cattle in Eastern Iran and Central Asia is the Zebu cattle.Together with the Indus civilization, these Eastern Iranian & Central Asian civilizations combined were spread over an enormous expanse.These civilizations were from a very early period of time in contact with the Mesopotamian civilization. There were even colonies of Indus civilization migrants within the cities of ancient Mesopotamia. So a language contact with Semitic wouldn’t be all that difficult now would it ?The Uralic or Finno-Ugric languages according to more recent thinking is said to not date earlier than 2000 BC with its earliest contacts being with Indo-Iranian and only later with European IE languages. The contacts with the Indo-Iranian can be easily accounted for by the fact that during the Bronze Age the BMAC civilization was in contact with the steppe groups in the North and its influence is found at sites such as Sintashta. This could have been the time when the Indo-Iranian languages exerted their influence on Finno-Ugric. Or it could well have been just the later Scythian Iranians who definitely spread over a wide area of the steppe, who could have influence the Finno-Ugrics.As far as Caucasian is concerned, most of Caucasian language contacts are i believe with the European languages and certainly not with Indo-Aryan. The language contacts with the European IE dialects could be accounted for the migration of these languages from Central Asia to steppe via the Caucasus.3.Pervasive retroflection is an areal feature of South Asian languages, not a genetic feature of Indo-European languages, and its presence in Indo-Aryan languages suggests that they are originally intrusive to South Asia.Retroflexion is a pervasive areal feature of the entire South Asian region but it is not an argument against an Out of India movement of IE languages.There is no good reason why IE languages, if they spread from India, should preserve retroflexion while they traversed through linguistic zones which had no retroflexion. A case in point – the Romani languages have lost retroflexion inspite of them being clearly derived from India.4.We can see the spread of DNA from the steppe to India over time – the Swat Valley ADNA shows this, and studies of modern and ancient R1a show that the diversity of branches within India is relatively recent, and that virtually all Indian R1a belongs to a sister clade to Eastern European R1a, and diverged from the European lineages right when the steppe hypothesis would predict. Indian-like R1a is found on the steppe among Scythian nomads, who bear a lot of steppe DNA, and no Indian DNA. In fact, there is no spread of any distinctly Indian genetic markers throughout the rest of the Indo-European speaking world, while we do see R1a, R1b, and/or Yamnaya-like ancestry in virtually every IE-speaking population of Eurasia.First things first, we have aDNA from steppe from as early as 24000 YBP ( MA-1). We also have the EHG, the Steppe_EN, the steppe_EMBA and the steppe_MLBA samples in plenty. Contrast this with only aDNA from Swat in South Asia which is still younger than even the Steppe_MLBA. You find both these situations equitable ? Seriously ?The ANE (MA-1) type ancestry is not necessarily of steppe origin. It is usually associated with y-dna R, Q and their ancestor P. Y-dna P is deep rooted in SE Asia. While South Asia has deeply divergent clades of y-dna R & Q. South Asia has R2 lineages which are restricted to South Asia and its peripheries in Iran & Central Asia. There are some deeply divergent R1b clades in South & Central Asia. And if you are not already aware, the Underhill paper of 2014, found the greatest basal diversity of R1a in Iran and not on the steppe. Unfortunately, that Underhill paper took very few samples from South Asia so it was meaningless as far as South Asia is concerned. Indian geneticists, recently in an article in the Hindu newspaper, clearly stated that they have some unpublished data from India which shows R1a basal diversity in South Asians. So therefore there is little evidence to suggest that Indian R1a is derived from Steppe R1a.You cannot compare the R1a diversity from ancient steppe with modern R1a diversity in South Asia. You have to compare apples with apples. You cannot compare apples with oranges. Similarly, you have to have a good solid set of aDNA from different periods of history of South Asia, the same way we have for steppe. Only then can a meaningful comparison be made. Trying to forego this legitimate demand is quite frankly totally unfair and dishonest.And as far as Indian DNA is concerned, what the hell is ‘Indian DNA’ ? Does it mean that it should have ASI ancestry ? And that anything that does not have ASI ancestry cannot have ancestry from South Asia ? Well, that is a most puerile and pathetic argument. What evidence do we have that the hunter gatherers from South Asia were ASI-like and nothing else. Do we have aDNA from South Asian hunter-gatherers ? We surely do not. So why do we assume that ASI like ancestry is the only ancestry of South Asian hunter-gatherers and every other type of ancestry is intrusive to South Asia ? There is absolutely no basis for this naive assumption.And in case you’re wondering, there is indeed ASI ancestry in the steppe_MLBA samples. Look for those Turan -related outliers among the steppe_MLBA group. Read between pages 140-164 of the Supplementary text, especially the terminal portion and also have a look at the tables of qpAdm proximal models for these Turan related outliers. These steppe_mlba clearly had BMAC ancestry and BMAC people had in turn substantial South Asian ancestry.As for the steppe-related ancestry in South Asians. let me add this – there is already steppe related ancestry among the Copper Age samples from Central Asia from the current Narasimhan et al paper, which are several centuries older to the Yamnaya. Samples from the site of Sarazm dated to 3600 BCE infact have a very high proportion of steppe related ancestry estimated at 23 %. In contrast, the Swat Iron Age samples, who suppossedly had steppe_mlba admixture only had about 20 % steppe related ancestry.Hence, considering the very old ANE (ancestral steppe) related y-dna R & Q subclades in South Asia and considering the early presence of steppe_related ancestry in Central Asia, there is no good reason to believe that some additional steppe ancestry came to South Asia in the 2nd millennium BC unless of course we have good no of samples from the Indus civilization that prove that they had significantly less steppe-related ancestry than the later Iron Age samples.Might try to clean up mangled quoted text later.