Early Sources for South Asian Substrate Languages

Witzel, Michael

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The recent articles in Mother Tongue on the isolated South Asian languages Burushaski, Nahali, and Kusunda offer a welcome peep into the complicated linguistic prehistory of the subcontinent. South Asia is, also in its genetics (L. Cavalli-Sforza 1994), a text book case for the continuing coexistence of many subsequent levels of immigrants. In fact, the subcontinent offers a virtual laboratory of linguistic, cultural and social systems. To echo H.C. Fleming, MT II 74: "... given India's role as cultural diffusion cul-de-sac of Asia, ... we may have missed the lower strata of prehistory after all!" Such items have kept me occupied, on and off, over the past few years. I offer some additional data here, and I will draw attention to some other remnants of ancient South Asian languages, most of which have come down to us only as substrates.

Document type: Preprint
Date: 1999
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 11 March 2008
DDC-classification: Other languages
Controlled Subjects: Südasien, Kontrastive Linguistik
Uncontrolled Keywords: Südasien , Linguistik , Etymologie , Sprachvergleich, South Asia , Linguistic , Etymology , comparative Linguistic, substrate Languages
Series: People > Kleine Schriften von Michael Witzel
Volume: 11
Additional Information: Erschienen in: Mother Tongue, Special Issue, October 1999