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Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis

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  • Razna
    [Mod. note. Maybe enough on this well-worn topic unless someone has something new to add to it? The main reason it still gets raised at all these days has more
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 23, 2011
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      [Mod. note. Maybe enough on this well-worn topic unless someone has something new to add to it? The main reason it still gets raised at all these days has more to do with Dravidian nationalistic and not linguistic issues, as many on this List realize. - SF.]

      In his "Introduction" to _The Dravidian Languages_ (1998 and 2006, Routledge), Sanford Steever says this concerning the Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis:

      "The Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis seems dubious for several reasons: systematic correspondences between Elamite and Dravidian are few; the ratio of rules to forms that is needed to justify the proposed cognates is high; those rules tend to be ad hoc and cumbersome, lacking transparency; and comparisons are often made directly with the modern Dravidian languages rather than with older languages or reconstructions [of Proto-Dravidian]" (p. 37).

      Diana Gainer
    • Michael Witzel
      Even then, Steve: it is curious that the extensive, quite devastating discussion --- for McAlpin-- of 1975 (!) has not yet been mentioned: McAlpin, David W.,
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 23, 2011
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        Even then, Steve: it is curious that the extensive, quite devastating discussion --- for McAlpin-- of 1975 (!) has not yet been mentioned:

        McAlpin, David W., Elamite and Dravidian: Further evidence of relationship. (With discussion by M.B. Emeneau, W.H. Jacobsen, F.B.J. Kuiper, H.H. Paper, E. Reiner, R. Stopa, F. Vallat, R.W. Wescott, and a reply by McAlpin). Current Anthropology 16, 1975, 105-115

        Cf. also:

        McAlpin, David W. Proto-Elamian-Dravidian: the evidence and its implications. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 71, Philadelphia 1981

        Michael


        On Aug 23, 2011, at 10:59 AM, Razna wrote:

        > [Mod. note. Maybe enough on this well-worn topic unless someone has something new to add to it? The main reason it still gets raised at all these days has more to do with Dravidian nationalistic and not linguistic issues, as many on this List realize. - SF.]
        >
        > In his "Introduction" to _The Dravidian Languages_ (1998 and 2006, Routledge), Sanford Steever says this concerning the Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis:
        >
        > "The Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis seems dubious for several reasons: systematic correspondences between Elamite and Dravidian are few; the ratio of rules to forms that is needed to justify the proposed cognates is high; those rules tend to be ad hoc and cumbersome, lacking transparency; and comparisons are often made directly with the modern Dravidian languages rather than with older languages or reconstructions [of Proto-Dravidian]" (p. 37).
        >
        > Diana Gainer
        >
        > ============

        > Michael Witzel
        > witzel@...
        > <www.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/mwpage.htm>
        > Wales Prof. of Sanskrit &
        > Director of Graduate Studies,
        > Dept. of South Asian Studies, Harvard University
        > 1 Bow Street,
        > Cambridge MA 02138, USA
        >
        > phone: 1- 617 - 495 3295, 496 8570, fax 617 - 496 8571;
        > my direct line: 617- 496 2990











        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Michael Witzel
        Sorry, All: I forgot this one related to the Elamo-Drav. question: David McAlpin. “Velars, Uvulars, and the North Dravidian hypothesis” (JAOS 123.3, 2003).
        Message 3 of 6 , Aug 23, 2011
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          Sorry, All:
          I forgot this one related to the Elamo-Drav. question:

          David McAlpin. �Velars, Uvulars, and the North Dravidian hypothesis� (JAOS 123.3, 2003).

          He had virtually disappeared from published scholarship after he did not get tenure around 1980, and went into computers, but has recently re-surfaced (see above).

          I hear from a friend that he has continued to work on the Elamo-Dravidian relationship, and that he is now being quoted by Elamicists. He is working on a major article, which will be followed by a book, on Proto-Zagrosian, the parent language of Elamitic (which according to him, includes Brahui) and Dravidian.

          Michael

          On Aug 23, 2011, at 11:38 AM, Michael Witzel wrote:

          > Even then, Steve: it is curious that the extensive, quite devastating discussion --- for McAlpin-- of 1975 (!) has not yet been mentioned:
          >
          > McAlpin, David W., Elamite and Dravidian: Further evidence of relationship. (With discussion by M.B. Emeneau, W.H. Jacobsen, F.B.J. Kuiper, H.H. Paper, E. Reiner, R. Stopa, F. Vallat, R.W. Wescott, and a reply by McAlpin). Current Anthropology 16, 1975, 105-115
          >
          > Cf. also:
          >
          > McAlpin, David W. Proto-Elamian-Dravidian: the evidence and its implications. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 71, Philadelphia 1981
        • Trudy Kawami
          The skeptic raises her head again: We (actually scholars like Jacob Dahl & Matt Stolper) can t actually read written Proto-Elamite; they just know some of the
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 23, 2011
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            The skeptic raises her head again:

            We (actually scholars like Jacob Dahl & Matt Stolper) can't actually read written Proto-Elamite; they just know some of the items the lists enumerate. Since the signs are pictographs & numbers, there is no grammar, no syntax, etc. just lists. It is not even clear what language later Old Elamite (the "writing" system) records since that is equally hard to read. (We are in the third mill BCE here). So how can one possibly jump back to something "Proto-Zagrosian" of which there is no scrap of evidence? All of this assumes that the landscape is empty (until the Neolithic?), some people move in, multiply, take over, then spread outward taking their undocumented language with them bifurcating as they go. Isn't this really a simplistic 19th century paradigm, not a 21st century understanding of how humanity "makes itself" - and its languages?
            Trudy (in NYC where the earth shakes :-))

            Trudy S. Kawami, PhD
            Director of Research
            Arthur M. Sackler Foundation
            461 East 57th Street
            New York, NY 10022
            212-980-5400 X25
            www.arthurmsacklerfdn.org


            -----Original Message-----
            From: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Michael Witzel
            Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 4:13 PM
            To: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com
            Cc: Michael Witzel
            Subject: Re: [Indo-Eurasia] Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis

            Sorry, All:
            I forgot this one related to the Elamo-Drav. question:

            David McAlpin. "Velars, Uvulars, and the North Dravidian hypothesis" (JAOS 123.3, 2003).

            He had virtually disappeared from published scholarship after he did not get tenure around 1980, and went into computers, but has recently re-surfaced (see above).

            I hear from a friend that he has continued to work on the Elamo-Dravidian relationship, and that he is now being quoted by Elamicists. He is working on a major article, which will be followed by a book, on Proto-Zagrosian, the parent language of Elamitic (which according to him, includes Brahui) and Dravidian.

            Michael

            On Aug 23, 2011, at 11:38 AM, Michael Witzel wrote:

            > Even then, Steve: it is curious that the extensive, quite devastating discussion --- for McAlpin-- of 1975 (!) has not yet been mentioned:
            >
            > McAlpin, David W., Elamite and Dravidian: Further evidence of relationship. (With discussion by M.B. Emeneau, W.H. Jacobsen, F.B.J. Kuiper, H.H. Paper, E. Reiner, R. Stopa, F. Vallat, R.W. Wescott, and a reply by McAlpin). Current Anthropology 16, 1975, 105-115
            >
            > Cf. also:
            >
            > McAlpin, David W. Proto-Elamian-Dravidian: the evidence and its implications. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 71, Philadelphia 1981


            ------------------------------------

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          • Richard Wordingham
            [Mod. note. Just to clarify, Richard: Nothing is off-topic on list if there is novel evidence to discuss on the topic. It s just that in this case (as Michael
            Message 5 of 6 , Aug 27, 2011
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              [Mod. note. Just to clarify, Richard: Nothing is off-topic on list if there is
              novel evidence to discuss on the topic. It's just that in this case (as
              Michael points out) no new evidence has really been introduced since the
              1970s, and the old evidence has been discussed endlessly. Best, Steve.]

              -- In Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com, Trudy Kawami <tkawami@...> wrote:

              > So how can one possibly jump back to something "Proto-Zagrosian" of which
              > there is no scrap of evidence?

              Proto-Zagrosian is only a meaningful term if there is evidence, and the evidence for it is only ever likely to be correspondences between Dravidian and Elamite. McAlpin thinks there is such evidence (and the discussion of its merits has been ruled off-topic). If Proto-Elamite and Old Elamite are uninterpretable, then they are irrelevant. If Old Elamite is not a form of Middle Elamite, then it is irrelevant except in so far as it happens to incorporate words from a dialect related to Middle Elamite.

              > All of this assumes that the landscape is empty (until the Neolithic?), some people
              > move in, multiply, take over, then spread outward taking their undocumented
              > language with them bifurcating as they go. Isn't this really a simplistic 19th
              > century paradigm, not a 21st century understanding of how humanity "makes itself"
              > - and its languages?

              It's still a reasonable first approximation for languages - except that disintegration is often not a bifurcation in any useful sense.

              Richard.
            • Trudy Kawami
              I use the terms Proto-Elamite & Old Elamite (aka Linear Elamite) to refer to the writing systems in use in SW Iran (& a few other places on the plateau) in the
              Message 6 of 6 , Aug 28, 2011
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                I use the terms Proto-Elamite & Old Elamite (aka Linear Elamite) to refer to the writing systems in use in SW Iran (& a few other places on the plateau) in the late 4th & earlier 3rd mill BCE. The language they encode is not known/understood. By the end of the 3rd mill a very different writing system heavily influenced by Mesopotamia is used. There are also Sumerian inscriptions from this time. The Susiana region has always had one foot in the Mesopotamian sphere & one in the highland of Iran culturally, and this "duality" continues past the Achaemenid period. It is a complicated region that does not conform to our simple ideas like center & periphery. That's why we have to be so careful about projecting ideas back into the 4th mill BCE without solid evidence.


                Trudy Kawami (whose basement is a bit damp from Hurricane Irene but whose roof is fine)

                ________________________________
                From: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com [Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com] on behalf of Richard Wordingham [richard.wordingham@...]
                Sent: Saturday, August 27, 2011 1:48 PM
                To: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [Indo-Eurasia] Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis



                [Mod. note. Just to clarify, Richard: Nothing is off-topic on list if there is
                novel evidence to discuss on the topic. It's just that in this case (as
                Michael points out) no new evidence has really been introduced since the
                1970s, and the old evidence has been discussed endlessly. Best, Steve.]

                -- In Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com<mailto:Indo-Eurasian_research%40yahoogroups.com>, Trudy Kawami <tkawami@...> wrote:

                > So how can one possibly jump back to something "Proto-Zagrosian" of which
                > there is no scrap of evidence?

                Proto-Zagrosian is only a meaningful term if there is evidence, and the evidence for it is only ever likely to be correspondences between Dravidian and Elamite. McAlpin thinks there is such evidence (and the discussion of its merits has been ruled off-topic). If Proto-Elamite and Old Elamite are uninterpretable, then they are irrelevant. If Old Elamite is not a form of Middle Elamite, then it is irrelevant except in so far as it happens to incorporate words from a dialect related to Middle Elamite.

                > All of this assumes that the landscape is empty (until the Neolithic?), some people
                > move in, multiply, take over, then spread outward taking their undocumented
                > language with them bifurcating as they go. Isn't this really a simplistic 19th
                > century paradigm, not a 21st century understanding of how humanity "makes itself"
                > - and its languages?

                It's still a reasonable first approximation for languages - except that disintegration is often not a bifurcation in any useful sense.

                Richard.





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