The Language of the Harappans: From Akkadian to Sanskrit

Malati J. Shendge, Abhinav, 1997, xix, 314 p, ISBN : 8170173256, $46.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Contents: I. Introductory. II. The background: 1. The problem of the Harappan language and the script. 2. The ethnic identity of the Harappans. III. The formative elements of the Harappan culture: 1. Current hypothesis. 2. Current evidence. 3. Discussion. 4. An alternative hypothesis and evidence for it. IV. The Harappan and the Akkadian chronology: 1. The arrival of the Harappans in the Indus valley. 2. The antecedents of the Harappans in West Asia. V. The language of the Harappan script: 1. The Harappan script and the present hypothesis. 2. The proto-Dravidian hypothesis examined. 3. The problem of retroflex consonants. 4. The checks on the hypothesis. 5. The invalidity of the formation of proto-Aryan in West Asia. VI. The emergence of the Rgvedic language: 1. The authorship of the Rgveda. 2. Did the Asura language survive? 3. The name of the Asura language. 4. The nature of linguistic change. 5. Why are these words not considered loans? VII. The present material and its relevance to Indo-European studies: 1. The Indo-European linguistics. 2. The influence on the dialects. 3. The comparison with Greek and Akkadian words. 4. The biblical tradition. 5. Observations on comparisons. VIII. Patterns of phonological change: 1. The identifiable phonological and semantic features of Rgvedic lexemes. 2. The change from Akkadian to Sanskrit. 3. The basis for a genetic relationship. 4. Sumerian, Akkadian and Sanskrit phonologies. 5. Phonological changes. 6. Phonological analysis. IX. The list of Sanskrit and Akkadian correspondences: 1. Names of deities. 2. Names of Asuras killed by Indra. 3. Names of the Rgvedic poets, grammarians, and clans. 4. Names (or titles) of the Asura functionaries. 5. General words. X. Some additional words: 1. Kinship terms. 2. Names of body parts. 3. Names of animals. 4. Food items. 5. Miscellaneous. 6. Some Marathi words with Akkadian and Sumerian correspondences. XI. Conclusion. Appendix: The decree of thong, spur and whip: Horse domestication in proto-historic times. List of words. Index.

"Since the formulation of Indo-European theory in the 19th c., Sanskrit has been considered the language brought over by the Aryas. This raised the question after the discovery of the Harappan culture: what was the language of the Harappans? This book tries to answer this question.

"The Rigveda and the Vedic literature have also been considered the Aryan cultural heritage because in Rigveda clan name of the Aryas occurs. But the adversaries of the Aryas remained little known. Having shown that the Asuras and their allies fought with the Aryan migrants and that the Asuras were the Harappans, the author goes on to identify the language spoken and written by them. With ample language data, analysed with comparative method, the process of linguistic change from the languaged of Asuras viz Akkadian to Sanskrit is traced in detail. This work, along with her other works, completes the picture and generates a fresh understanding of the complex pattern of prehistory of Indian languages and Indian culture on rational and logical basis. It throws light on many unanswered questions." (jacket)

[Malati J. Shendge's books include The Civilised Demons, The Harappans in Rigveda and The Aryas.]

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