3. Linguistic aspects
of the Indo-European Urheimat question
just studied the pro and contra of some prima facie indications
for language contacts which would imply an ancient IE and even PIE presence
in Harappan and pre-Harappan India. In my opinion, none of these
can presently be considered decisive evidence for an Indian Urheimat theory,
though some of them are indeed suggestive in that direction.
to put the strengths and weaknesses of our findings in the proper perspective,
we should not forget to also evaluate the evidence from language contacts
for the rivalling European Urheimat theory, which should be put to the
same tests as the Indian Urheimat theory. The fact is that such evidence
is very scarce, if not non-existent. The Old-European Basque language
has no ancient links with IE. For the rest, all Old-European languages
have disappeared and most have not even survived as dead inscriptional
languages providing us with material for linguistic comparison. Evidence
of the type tentatively provided by isoglosses between IE and Semitic,
Austronesian or Uralic, all Asian language families, is simply not available
for the westerly branches of IE or for a hypothetical Europe-based PIE.
On balance, the evidence from contact with once-neighbouring languages
does not provide compelling evidence for an Indian Urheimat (unless the
Austronesian connection is valid), but even less evidence for a European
too early to say that linguistics has proven an Indian origin for the IE
family. But we can assert with confidence that the oft-invoked linguistic
evidence for a European Urheimat and for an Aryan invasion of India is
completely wanting. One after another, the classical proofs of the
European Urheimat theory have been discredited, usually by scholars who
had no knowledge of or interest in an alternative Indian Urheimat theory.
In the absence of a final judgment by linguistics, other approaches deserve
to be taken seriously, unhindered and uninhibited by fear of that large-looming
but in fact elusive “linguistic evidence”.
Back to Contents Page Back
to VOD Books Back to Home