Chapter

Linguistic Substrata in Sanskrit Texts

Edwin Bryant

in The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780195137774
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834044 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195137779.003.0006
 						Linguistic Substrata in Sanskrit Texts

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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

Chapter.  18134 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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