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The Quest for the Origins of Vedic CultureThe Indo-Aryan Migration Debate$
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Edwin Bryant

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195137774

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195137779.001.0001

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Linguistic Substrata in Sanskrit Texts

Linguistic Substrata in Sanskrit Texts

(p.76) 5 Linguistic Substrata in Sanskrit Texts
The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture

Edwin Bryant (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

An analysis is made of the evidence for a non-Indo-Aryan linguistic substratum in Sanskrit texts, which has remained perhaps the principal and (in the author’s view) the most persuasive reason brought forward in support of the Aryan invasions and migrations. The issue here is: Do the Vedic texts preserve linguistic evidence of languages preceding the Indo-Aryan presence on the Indian subcontinent? This is an essential aspect of the debate, but one that has been mostly ignored by Indigenous Aryanists. The different sections of the chapter look at linguistic (syntactical) innovations in Sanskrit, the existence of “loanwords” ascribed to either Dravidian, Munda, and/or unknown origins, terms for flora in Indic languages, and place names and river names. Finally the possibility (first raised by Bloch) is explored that it was Dravidian that intruded into an Indo-Aryan speaking area and not vice versa.

Keywords:   Aryan invasions, Aryan migrations, Dravidian, history, India, Indic languages, Indigenous Aryanism, Indo-Aryan origins, linguistic innovations, loanwords, Munda, Sanskrit, syntactical innovations, Vedic texts

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