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Altyn-Depe and Meluhha interaction area in Middle Asia -- Decoding Indus
script seals of Altyn-Depe
What Possehl calls the Middle Asian Interaction sphere (Expedition, Vol. 49, Number 1, UPenn Museum), extended upto Altyn Depe in Turkmenistan. “Cuneiform documents also inform us that some people in Mesopotamia called themselves ‘Son of Meluhha’, and there are references to Meluhhan villages and granaries. We even have the personal cylinder seal of Shuilishu, a translator of the Meluhhan language (Expedition 48 (1): 42-43)…First, beginning in the 4th millennium BCE, the people of southern Central Asia shared a pottery style called ‘Quetta ware’ with the people of Baluchistan far to the south. Along with female figurines and occasional compartmented seals, this style of pottery persisted until the early centuries of the 2nd millennium BCE, suggesting long-term interaction north and wouth…at Altyn Depe in Turkmenistan, the Soviets found two provincial style Indus seals, along with much ivory (presumably from elephants), which was also apparently from India. Their discoveries were all found in correct chronological sequence dating to the second half of the 3rd millennium BCE, indicating that Altyn Depe was contemporary with the Indus cities. Furthermore, this also provided evidence for Middle Asian interaction stretching north to the Oxus civilization which, in a second phase beginning about 2200 BCE, occupied inland river delta oases such as Margiana…Since the 1960s excavations on the Iranian Plateau at such places as Tepe Yahya, Shahr-i-Sokhta, Shahdad, and Jiroft have also added to the corpus of finds linking the Indus civilization with the BMAC (Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex) and Mesopotamia.” Namazga V and Altyndepe were in contact with the Late Harappanculture (ca. 20001600 BC) Altyndepe (Алтын-Депе, the Turkmen for "Golden Hill") is a Bronze Age(BMAC) site in Turkmenistan, near Aşgabat, inhabited in the 3rd to 2nd millennia BC, abandoned around 1600 BC. Interaction area of Sarasvati (Indus) civilization in Central Asia
Altyn Depe, Turkmenistan 60.43E, 36.85N “Altyn Depe is a major Bronze Age centre (third and second millennia BC) in Turkmenistan, overlooking the Tedzen delta. It lies at the foot of the Köpet Dag, a range of mountains marking the northern border of Iran. The site itself is watered, not by the major river (the Harirud) which feeds the Tedzen delta, but by smaller rivers descending from the mountains. For its general location and context, its position is marked on the far right of image. “The site occupied a pivotal position at the junction of routes: along the foot of the Köpet Dag, southward to Afghanistan, and eastward via the oasis stepping-stones along what was to become the Silk Road. “Altyn Depe ('Gold hill') is the largest of a small cluster of settlements in an embayment in from of the mountains, where several streams emerge.”
Relative locations of Shahr-i Sokhte and Mundigak (near Kandahar, Afghanistan), along the Helmand river. Settlement clusters either along the edges of the mountains, or in the river-delta which forms an oasis of settled life. Landsat image, 30m resolution, circa 1990, with Band 7 displayed as red, Band 4 as green and Band 2 as blue. Landsat TM imagery provided by NASA. http://www.archatlas.dept.shef.ac.uk/SitesFromSatellites/sites.php?name=sha-isok&view=c&ge=no
“The rich mineral resources of the highland rim of the Fertile Crescent were a latent precondition for the formation of a complex trading system: a "periphery" waiting for a "core". The growth of temple-centres in the unusual conditions of lowland Mesopotamia and southwest Iran, with their relatively dense concentrations of farming population supported by irrigation agriculture, created an organised body of potential consumers in the middle of a network of contacts reaching into the
surrounding highlands. The Tigris and Euphrates provided arteries of transport as well as water for irrigation. During the fourth millennium the combination of a powerful ideology with a labour-force capable of manufacturing textiles, milkproducts and alcoholic drinks from their domesticated plants and livestock, provided the basis for a process of expansion which mobilised the products of surrounding areas and initiated an explosive process of urban growth in the later fourth millennium BC. In the second half of the millennium, colonial settlements were founded at nodal points in upper Mesopotamia, giving access to Anatolia, the Caucasus, and the Levant. Coastal connections brought this growing network into contact with Egypt, stimulating a period of accelerated changes and the formation of a second "alluvial civilisation" along the Nile. “After 3200 BC there was a notable expansion on the Persian plateau, and an extension of contacts down the Gulf. The "colonial" enterprise in the north was replaced by an expansion of indigenous trading networks, which reached beyond Anatolia to the steppes and the Aegean. Egyptians founded their own colonial settlements in the southern Levant. Then, towards the end of the third millennium, the Indus valley joined the trio of "alluvial civilisations", and much of the traffic formerly crossing the Persian plateau was carried down the Indus and along the Gulf (including lazurite from new sources in Badakhshan, initially tapped by Indus colonies.) After 2000 BC there was a major expansion of population and trading activity on the steppes and the Danube corridor, partly stimulated by the spread of new metalworking technologies in the outer hinterlands of the urban core region. After 1700 BC, the Indus valley and the Gulf network collapsed, while expansion in the east Mediterranean continued. Between 1600 and 1400 BC a major maritime trading network developed, integrating the coastlands from Egypt and the Levant to Anatolia and the Aegean, where large sailing-ships plied a circular route. Links to Italy stimulated the formation of contacts across the Alps, and the formation of a new Amber route which replaced the earlier Danube axis. Latitudinal routes across the steppes continued to extend, bringing wheeled vehicles to China (hitherto ignorant of the wheel) in the late Shang period. “This brief summary ends with the climax of Bronze Age development, before the radical changes which took place at the end of the second millennium, leading to widespread retraction and reorganisation, and also to the development and spread of ironworking. The larger scale of demographic growth and urban development in the first millennium BC, which saw expansion both in the Mediterranean basin and the Ganges valley and in the intervening area where the first large land-empires developed, demands a larger scale of treatment which is impossible here. Nevertheless the systematic mapping of urban centres and trade networks is as illuminating for this larger world as it is for the early stages of urban expansion represented here.” Sherratt, Andrew (2004), 'Trade Routes: the Growth of Global Trade', ArchAtlas, January 2008, Edition 3, http://www.archatlas.org/Trade/Trade.php, Accessed: 10 December 2009
What language did the settlers of Altyn-Depe speak? It is hypothesized that the settlers of Altyn-Depe spoke mleccha (Meluhhan). Alexander Lubotsky argues for a pre-indo-european substratum. “Study of loanwords can be a powerful tool for determining prehistoric cultural contacts and migrations, but this instrument is used very differently in various disciplines. For instance, loanword studies are fully accepted in Uralic linguistics, whereas Indo-Europeanists are often reluctant to acknowledge foreign origin for words attested in Indo-European languages. The reason is obvious: in Uralic, we know the source of borrowings (Indo-Iranian, Germanic, Baltic), but the source of possible Indo-European loans is usually unknown. And still, it is a matter of great importance to distinguish between inherited lexicon and borrowings, even if the donor language cannot be determined…In my paper, I shall apply this methodology to the Indo-Iranian lexicon in search of loanwords which have entered Proto-IndoIranian before its split into two branches. As a basis for my study I use the list, gleaned from Mayrhofer's EWAia, of all Sanskrit etyma which have Iranian correspondences, but lack clear cognates outside Indo-Iranian…I use the term “substratum” for any donor language, without implying sociological differences in its status, so that “substratum” may refer to an adstratum or even superstratum. It is possible that Proto-Indo-Iranian borrowed words from more than one language and had thusmore than one substratum…Proto-Indo-Iranian for a long time remained a dialectal unity, possibly even up to the moment when the Indo-Aryans crossed the Hindukush mountain range and lost contact with the Iranians…The phonological and morphological features of Indo-Iranian loanwords are strikingly similar to those which are characteristic of Sanskrit loanwords, i.e. words which are only attested in Sanskrit and which must have entered the language after the Indo-Aryans had crossed Hindukush. The structure of Sanskrit loanwords has been discussed by Kuiper 1991…The phonological and morphological similarity of loanwords in ProtoIndo-Iranian and in Sanskrit has important consequences. First of all, it indicates that, to put it carefully, a substratum of Indo-Iranian and a substratum of IndoAryan represent the same language, or, at any rate, two dialects of the same language. In order to account for this fact, we are bound to assume that the language of the original population of the towns of Central Asia, where Indo-Iranians must have arrived in the second millennium BCE, on the one hand, and the language spoken in Punjab, the homeland of the Indo-Aryans, on the other, were intimately related…Another consequence is that the Indo-Iranians must still have formed a kind of unity during their stay in Central Asia, albeit perhaps dialectally diversified. Judging by the later spread of the Indo-Aryans – to the south-west in the case of the Mitanni kingdom and to the south-east during their move to Punjab –, they were situated to the south of the Iranians, forming the vanguard, so to speak, of the IndoIranian movement. Accordingly, the Indo-Aryans were presumably the first who came in contact with foreign tribes and sometimes “passed on” loanwords to the Iranians…The urban civilization of Central Asia has enriched the Indo-Iranian lexicon with building and irrigation terminology, with terms for clothing and hair-do, and for some artifacts. It is tempting to suggest that the word *gadA- `club, mace' refers to the characteristic mace-heads of stone and bronze abundantly found in the towns of the so-called “Bactria-Margian Archaeological Complex”. Also *uAcI- `axe, pointed knife' may be identified with shaft-hole axes and axe-adzes of this culture.” (Lubotsky, A., 1999, Early Contacts between Uralic and Indo-European: Linguistic and Archaeological Considerations. Papers presented at an international symposium held at the Tvärminne Research Station of the University of Helsinki 8-10 January
1999. (Mémoires de la Société Finno-ougrienne 242.) Chr. Carpelan,A. Parpola, P. Koskikallio (eds.). Helsinki 2001, 301-317). http://www.ieed.nl/lubotsky/pdf/IndoIranian%20substratum.pdf (Copy annexed). From the list of some 120 Indo-Iranian isolates appended by Lubotsky, it is clear that most words do NOT have IE cognates but have Sanskrit, Old Avestan, Middle and Modern Persian cognates. These substratum words of proto-Indo-Iranian point to the settlement of speakers from Sarasvati civilization area in the Middle Asian Interaction Sphere, extending upto Altyn-Depe on the southern banks of the Caspian Sea. This substantiates BB Lal’s view that Baudhayana Shrauta Sutra reference to migrations out of (Sarasvati) civilization area were westwards to Gandhara, Parshu and Aratta. http://sites.google.com/site/kalyan97/vedic-people Did some vedic people emigrate westwards, out of India?) Archaeological evidence of Altyn-Depe Altyn-Depe is a Neolithic settlement extending into the bronze age in south Turkmenistan near village Miana. The settlement covered an area of 25 hectares and with a total stratification thickness of 30 m. (including 8m. deep stratum with human habitation). Strata of the Neolithic period (5th millennium BCE) have yielded bone and copper artifacts. Settlements of 4th millennium BCE show female figures with painted necklaces and ornaments. Early 3rd millennium BCE, the settlement had an unbaked brick wall 1.5 to 2m. thick, with brick kilns and an oval hearth sanctuary in the center of a house. Mid-34d millennium BCE shows a complex of Namazga IV type, with small temple buildings with rectangular hearths (podia). By end 3rd millennium and early 2nd millennium BCE (Namazga V type), the urban Altyn-Depe has artisans’ quarters with 62 two-tiered kilns, beads and seals, four-stepped ziggurats, storerooms and a priest’s tomb with gold heads of a wolf and a bull and other tombs with silver ornaments, precious stones, seals, female terracotta statuettes with plaited hair. Stone vessels, hafted bronze and copper daggers with flat blades, tabbed silver and bronze seals with pictographs of animals (goats, eagles, panthers, a three-headed composite animal) were discovered. One quarter of a ‘nobility’ had a seal with two signs of Indus script. It is possible that the underlying speech of the writings on seals refer to the bronze-age settlers of Altyn-Depe. Exhaustion of the soil and climatic changes might have led to the abandonment of the settlement and consequent migrations to Mugrab, Southern Uzbekistan (Sappali) and northern Afghanistan (Dashli). (cf. Encyclopaedia Iranica). Namazga III-V periods are dated ca. 3200-. 2000 BCE.
Golden bull's head (H7.5cm), horns made of silver wire covered with gold foil. On the forehead and in the eyes are turquoise inlays (excavation #7, priest's tomb, room #7) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bactria–Margiana_Archaeological_Complex From the publishers’ blurb of Altyn-Depe (University Museum Monographs, No. 55) by V. M. Masson and Henry N. Michael (1988) : “The excavations at the Bronze Age site of Altyn-Depe in southwest Soviet Central Asia (Turkmenistan) have revealed an urban community dating to the Middle Bronze Age. The region of Turkmenistan forms a natural crossroads between Eastern Iran and Central Asia, and between Siberia and southern Russia and the Indus Valley. Altyn-Depe was important not only for its development as a cultural center in its own right but as a link between the various Bronze Age cultures of Eurasia.” From the Foreword by Gregory Possehl: “Altyn-Depe, and the discovery of the Turkmenian Bronze Age civilization, filled the remaining blank in the ancient ‘Middle Asian’ interaction sphere. The urbanization of Turkmenia, best exemplified by AltynDepe, brought to closure the third millennium system that had been hinted at with
Harappan seals in Mesopotamia and other ‘stray’ finds of uncertain origin on the Iranian plateau…” (p.xiii)
Bronze artefacts found in Parkhai cemetery II: double-edged knives, small fragments and spiral-headed pins; the pins of different sizes had spirals no fewer than four lops; six spiral-headed pins are known from the northern foothills of Kopet Dagh; one came from Kysyl Arvant and dated to Namazga IV period; all identical to the Parkhai examples and considered an import from the Sumbar Valley; the remainder--two from the southern mound at Anau, two from Namazga-depe and one from Shor-depe -- had small loops twisted only 1.5-2 times. They were found in Namazga V levels from cemeteries in northern Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Slightly twisted spiral-head pins from Mundigat (periods IV, I-IV, 3) and multi-looped spiral-headed pins from Tepe Hissar (period IIB), which are identical to those from Parkhai II, are also related to this period; the dates of Parkhai finds are ca. middle of the third millennium B.C. V.M. Masson, Seals of a Proto-Indian Type from Altyn-depe, pp. 149-162; V.M. Masson, Urban Centers of Early Class Society, pp. 135-148; I.N. Khlopin, The Early bronze age cemetery in Parkhai II: The first two seasons of excavations, 1977-78, pp. 3-34 in: Philip L. Kohl (ed.), 1981, The Bronze Age Civilization in Central Asia, Armonk, NY, ME Sharpe, Inc. Bactria; cosmetic flacon, fig. 1.2 and fig. 1.6 (V.Sarianidi, p. 646); there is an exact replica of the flacon with a chequered body and distinctive base, fig. 1.6 at Chanhudaro (Mackay 1943: pl. LXXIII 39). Similar falcons have been found in Luristan. "It transpired that in the 2nd millennium BC there existed in the territory of ancient Bactria a highlydeveloped, largely original culture of the ancientoriental type. A close, or rather identical culture spread at that time through the southern regions of central Asia, particularly in Margiana, which gave grounds for singlign out a special Bactrian-Margian Archaeological Complex (BMAC). The basic features of this complex are: the coexistence of non-fortified settlements and of rectangular fortresses with round corner turrets. The latter belonged to individual families or clans... Occurring in sufficient quantities, along with stone and flint tools and wapons, are copper and bronze ones. These are sickles, knives, adzes, awls, razors, daggers, massive spearheads, battle axes; of the ornaments there are mirrors, toilet pins, cosmetic falcons, bracelets, ear-rings, rings... At present we may regard as an established fact the existence of an IranianTurkmenian metallurgical province where, beginning from the turn of the 5th and 4th millennia BC, uni-typical wares take shape and exist for a long time. There is every ground to assume the dissemination from it of metal-works (celts, daggers, pins) and specific forms of earthenware (stemmed vases, saucers, etc.) in the eastern direction down to the vally of the Indus, by way of exchange, trade and cultural contacts. This period embraces the existence of the Harappan civilization and does not presuppose the arrival of any new tribes. This is strikingly proved by the Harappa culture itself, which demonstrates a continuous line of development without any invasions from outside... We shall merely remark that southwestern Iran and possibly Caucasus emerge as a zone where numerous metal articles come to be produced (mid- 2nd millennium BC), while Iranian Khorassan is doubtlessly the main venue for their penetration into the souther areas of central Asia, Bactria and possibly the valley of the Indus river."(Viktor I. Sarianidi, 1979, New Finds in Bactria
and Indo-Iranian Connections, pp. 643-659, in: South Asian Archaeology 1977, Naples). “The Southern Complex…The centrally located room 48 was fairly large, contained a platform hearth, and was probably a living room. The equally large room 49 had a hearth next to a wall; in the hearth copper slag and a maul for breaking up the ore were found. Aside from these, the excavations yielded a piece of fused copper ore in a sort of clay crucible, and an unfinished stone seal. Similar assemblages of finds elsewhere indicate that this unit was a place of manufacture for various craftsmen and not of potters only…The major burial, 60, was that of an adult, apparently a woman…The unique find in this burial was a silver seal (Plate XVII, item 12). It represented a fantastic, three-heade being, with a torso of a feline beast of prey; the three heads were that of a bird of prey and two reptiles (snakes or lizards). The other burial (59) was of a male adolescent. The complex magical symbolism (the two statuettes held in the hand, and the seal representing a fantastic being), leads to the preliminary conclusion that burial 60 is that of a priestess…An important component of the Altyn-Depe assemblages are artifacts which have been called seals. It is possible that at the same time they were kept as amulets or other sacred objects. These artifacts have a flat surface worked with a pattern of high rlief, and evidently they were meant to provide impressions since on the obverse side they are provided with a looped handle for that purpose and also for suspension. In a number of burials the seals were positioned about the hip bones; apparently they were carried on a belt. Impressions of seals are rare at Altyn-Depe and, generally speaking, they are represented only on fragments of fired clay (Plate XVI, item 13). At other sites of this period, particularly at Shahr-I Sokhta, the impressions are very numerous and varied (Tosi 1969: figs. 277-292). The seals could have been used to stamp various things under the jurisdiction of a community or family. As an ethnographic parallel we mention the case of a wooden seal from Afghanistan representing a six-rayed rosette in an oval, which was used to stamp produce (Vavilov and Bukinich 1959: p. 188, fig. 89). Technically, the seals are made in two ways. Seals of bronze mixed with low quality silver are the most widespread; they have high relief and were cast with the lost wax process. Stone seals with ornamentation made by drilling small holes close together to form lines (Plate XVI, item 17; Plate XVII, items 1 and 4) are more rare. There are rare instances of terracotta seals (Plate XVII, item 5). In form and character all seals may be divided into two large groups: zoomorphic (or representing zoomorphic motifs) and geometric…From Altyn-Depe we have seals representing a goat (Plate XVII, item 14); a hooved anikal, probably a ram (Plate XXIV, item 9); a feline beast of prey (Plate XVII, item 10); and a fantastic threehded dragon with the body of a feline beast of prey, one head of a bird of prey, and two heads of a reptile, perhaps of a snake (Plate XVII, item 12). Another syncretic form is seen on a seal representing a four-legged animal with a beak and with talons on its paws (Plate XVII, item 8). A seal representing an eagle with outspread wings was found at Namazga-Depe (Masson and Sarianidi 1972: pl. 47), and a seal with a goat was found at the small site of Shor-Depe (Massimov 1978b). At Altyn-Depe a seal with a bird with spread wings was also found, but its head was heavily corroded (Plate XVII, item 13). Examples of the second subgroup contain images in the form of a snake coiled inside a half-moon. One such seal was a terracotta seal (Plate XVII, item 3), and another was metallic and had an appendage incorporating a cross (Plate XVII, item 15). The geometric seals…Those in the form of a cross are most frequent and comprise about half of the metallic seals at Altyn-Depe (Plate XVI, items 1-8, 10, and 14)…In the center of the crosslike seals we often find a supplementary figure: an oval, square or small cross…On one large oval seal four double circles surround a griangle. In two other similar seals a triangle (Plate XXIX, item 8) and a
multi-rayed star respectively ((Plate XXIX, item 10) were incorporated.Employing an oval as the compositional centre, four-rayed and five-rayed (Plate XVI, item 9) seals were formed…Two seals have the form of a stepped pyramid (Plate XXIX, item 5), and the third had pyramids united at their apices (Plate XVI, item 12). As already implied, the majority of the seals are semantically linked to the symbols of the Eneolithic painted ceramics of southern Turkmenistan (Fig. 26) (Masson 1967d, 1970d)…it is particularly important that at Altyn-Depe objects were found which undoubtedly were carried there from the Indus valley. For instance, artifacts of elephant ivory were found at three points…This is emphasized by the finds of nearly rectangular seals of the Harappan type one with a swastika in the already-mentioned priest’s burial…and the other with two symbols of prto-Indic writing… (Plate XXII, items 1a and 1b).” (pp.35-36, p.40, pp. 89-90, p.93).
Finds at Atlyn-depe: ivory sticks and gaming pieces (?) obtained from Sarasvati Sindhu civilization; similar objects with dotted circles found in Mohenjodaro and Harappa. (Masson, VM, 1988, Altyn-depe, UPenn museum, p. 90)
Altyn-depe. Silver seal. Pictograph of ligatured animal with three heads.
Two seals found at Altyn-depe (Excavation 9 and 7) found in the
shrine and in the 'elite quarter'. The script on some of the Altyn-Depe seals and artifacts may be decoded in mleccha (Meluhhan), the substratum of proto-Indo-Iranian (cf. Lubotsky). Silver seal with three heads of animals. The metal seal is difficult to interpret. But a parallel can be seen on many Indus script epigraphs showing such composite animals with three heads. m1171 Bet Dwaraka 1 S’ankha seal. One-horned bull, short-horned bull looking down and an antelope looking backward. Huntington notes: “There is a continuity of composite creatures demonstrable in Indic culture since Kot Diji ca. 4000 BCE”
http://huntingtonarchive.osu.edu/Makara%20Site/makara/index.html Generally, the three animal heads relate to: bull, heifer and antelope (looking back). The silver seal of Altyn-Depe shows an animal head turned back. Metalsmith guild working with ore, iron, copper: krammara ‘turn back’ (Te.); rebus: kamar ‘smith’ (Santali) me~d.ha ‘antelope’ (Santali); rebus: meD ‘iron’ (Mu.) damra = heifer, young bull, steer (G.); rebus:tambra = copper (Skt.) bail ‘bull, ox’; bali ‘iron sand ore’ (Santali) angra ‘bull’ (H.); adar angra ‘zebu’ (Santali) d.hagara_m pl. the buttocks; the hips (G.lex.) ā gar ‘blacksmith’ (H.); d.ha~_gar., dha~_gar blacksmith; digger of wells (H.) san:ga i = joined animals (M.) Rebus: (Interpreted as guild, family) sanghara ‘one's own house’ J v.222 (Pali). CDIAL 12858 Pa. sa ghara -- with one's own family (?); L. sagghrā accompanied by one's own family; H. sãghar m. wife's son by former husband. sanghā o (G.) = cutting stone, gilding; san:gatarāśū = stone cutter (Te.) Thus, san:gha_ta is a composite product. Thus, when a standard device is shown in front of, say, a one-horned bull, the device, i.e. san:gad.a connotes a composite product, created or alloyed with cut stones (or minerals). The inscription on an inscribed object depicting such a device can, thus be interpreted as a list of 'composed (alloyed)' products. san:gha_r.iba_ to mix many materials, stir boiling curry, tie two cattle together and leave to graze (Or.) (CDIAL 12859,12860). to mix many materials, stir boiling curry, tie two cattle together and leave to graze (Or.) (CDIAL 12859,12860). Persian word seng meaning stone
a ar ‘harrow’; rebus: aduru ‘native metal’ (Ka.) ayir = iron dust, any ore (Ma.) aduru = gan.iyinda tegadu karagade iruva aduru = ore taken from the mine and not subjected to melting in a furnace (Ka. Siddha_nti Subrahman.ya’ S’astri’s new interpretation
There are over 50 epigraphs showing the svastika glyph which can be read rebus: svastika pewter (Kannada); sattva ‘zinc’ (Ka.) jasta = zinc (Hindi) yasada (Jaina Pkt.) Old Persian Qxida? Zargun "‘ "زر نgold-like’? Kashmiri. Grierson lex. zasath or zasuth ] m. (sg. dat. zastas ), zinc, spelter, pewter (cf. Hindī jast). jasti jasti pewter. jasth &below; ] &above; &below; ] [ adj. c.g. made of zinc or ] m. (sg. dat. jastas adj. (f. jastüvü ), zinc, spelter; pewter. jastuvu
&above; &below;), made of zinc or
pewter. satavu, satuvu, sattu = pewter, zinc (Ka.) dosta = zinc (Santali) jasada, yasada, yasadyaka, yasatva = zinc (Jaina Pali) ruhi-tutiya (Urdu) tuttha (Arthas'a_stra) totamu, tutenag (Te.) oriechalkos (Gk.)
Sign 171 through breadth.
One side of m1225 cube seal with perforation
Dotted circle shown on ivory sticks of Altyn-Depe can be compared with similar glyphs on Indus script artifacts.
After Vats, Pl.CXIX,.No.6 An ivory comb fragment with one preserved tooth and ornamented with double incised circles (3.8 in. long). Kalibangan, Ivory comb with three dotted circles; Kalibangan, Period II; Thapar 1979, Pl.XXVII, in: Ancient Cities of the Indus. Ivory rod, ivory plaque with dotted circles. Mohenjodaro. [Musee National De Arts Asiatiques Guimet, 1988-1989, Les cites oubliees de l’Indus Archeologie du Pakistan.] h1017ivorystick Orthographically, the dotted circle is also a fish-eye or eye of an antelope. The eye is ‘ka_n.’; rebus: ka_n.d. ‘iron’ as in ayaska_n.d.a ‘excellent iron’ (Pan.). It may also be rebus for kan.d. ‘fire-altar’. Khand also denotes ‘ivory’.
The gloss related to the dotted circle is thus, decoded rebus as ka_n. kandhi = a lump, a piece (Santali.lex.) [The dotted circle thus connotes an ingot taken out of a ka , furnace]. kāndavika = a baker; kandu = an iron plate or pan for baking cakes etc. (Ka.lex.) ka = altar, furnace (Santali) Û f. a blacksmith's smelting furnace (Grierson Kashmiri lex.) payen-kõda Û f. a kiln (a potter's, a lime-kiln, and brick-kiln, or the like); a furnace (for smelting) This yajn~a ku am can be denoted rebus, by perforated beads (kandi) or on ivory (kha ): kandi (pl. -l) beads, necklace (Pa.); kanti (pl. -l) bead, (pl.) necklace; kandit. bead (Ga.)(DEDR 1215). The three stringed beads depicted on the pictograph may perhaps be treated as a phonetic determinant of the substantive, the rimmed jar, the kha a kanka. kha a, xanro, sword or large sacrificial knife. kandil, kandi_l = a globe of glass, a lantern (Ka.lex.) ja kha = ivory (Jat.ki) kha i_ = ivory in rough (Jat.ki_); ga ī = piece of elephant's tusk (S.) [This semant. may explain why the dotted circle -- i.e., kandi, 'beads' -- is often depicted on ivory objects, such as ivory combs]. See also: kha iyo [cf. kha a ī a tribute] tributary; paying a tribute to a superior king (G.lex.) [Note glyph of a kneeling adorant]
S. Kalyanaraman email@example.com 11 Dec. 2009
Originally appeared in: Early Contacts between Uralic and Indo-European: Linguistic and Archaeological Considerations. Papers presented at an international symposium held at the Tvärminne Research Station of the University of Helsinki 8-10 January 1999. (Mémoires de la Société Finno-ougrienne 242.) Chr. Carpelan, A. Parpola, P. Koskikallio (eds.). Helsinki 2001, 301-317.
The Indo-Iranian substratum
ALEXANDER LUBOTSKY 1. Study of loanwords can be a powerful tool for determining prehistoric cultural contacts and migrations, but this instrument is used very differently in various disciplines. For instance, loanword studies are fully accepted in Uralic linguistics, whereas Indo-Europeanists are often reluctant to acknowledge foreign origin for words attested in Indo-European languages. The reason is obvious: in Uralic, we know the source of borrowings (Indo-Iranian, Germanic, Baltic), but the source of possible Indo-European loans is usually unknown. And still, it is a matter of great importance to distinguish between inherited lexicon and borrowings, even if the donor language cannot be determined. In recent years, the methodology of dealing with borrowings from an unknown source has been developed by Kuiper (1991 and 1995), Beekes (1996), and Schrijver (1997). As these scholars have pointed out, an etymon is likely to be a loanword if it is characterized by some of the following features: 1) limited geographical distribution; 2) phonological or morphonological irregularity; 3) unusual phonology; 4) unusual word formation; 5) specific semantics, i.e. a word belongs to a semantic category which is particularly liable to borrowing. 2. In my paper, I shall apply this methodology to the Indo-Iranian lexicon in search of loanwords which have entered Proto-Indo-Iranian before its split into two branches. As a basis for my study I use the list, gleaned from Mayrhofer's EWAia, of all Sanskrit etyma which have Iranian correspondences, but lack clear cognates outside Indo-Iranian. The complete list of some 120 IndoIranian isolates is presented in the Appendix. The words of this list are by default characterized by the first of the above-mentioned criteria, viz. limited geographical distribution, but this in itself is not very significant because the lack of an Indo-European etymology can be accidental: either all other branches have lost the etymon preserved in Indo-Iranian, or we have not yet found the correct etymology. Only if a word has other features of a borrowing, must we seriously consider its being of foreign origin. The analysis of phonological, morphological and semantic peculiarities of our corpus will be presented in the following sections, but first I would like to make two remarks. I use the term “substratum” for any donor language, without implying sociological differences in its status, so that “substratum” may refer to an adstratum or even superstratum. It
is possible that Proto-Indo-Iranian borrowed words from more than one language and had thus more than one substratum. Another point concerns dialect differentiation. In general, we can speak of language unity as long as the language is capable of carrying out common innovations, but this does not preclude profound differences among the dialects. In the case of Indo-Iranian, there may have been early differentiation between the Indo-Aryan and Iranian branches, especially if we assume that the Iranian loss of aspiration in voiced aspirated stops was a dialectal feature which Iranian shared with Balto-Slavic and Germanic (cf. Kortlandt 1978: 115). Nevertheless, Proto-IndoIranian for a long time remained a dialectal unity, possibly even up to the moment when the Indo-Aryans crossed the Hindukush mountain range and lost contact with the Iranians. 3. Let us now look at the peculiar features displayed by some of the words from the corpus.1 3.1. Irregular correspondences In anlaut: Skt. s- : PIr. *s- (Skt. sikat- : OP ik- `sand'; Skt. sc- : LAv. sk- `needle'); Skt. k- : PIr. *g- (Skt. kesa- `hair' : LAv. gasa- `curly hair'); Skt. ph- : PIr. *sp- (Skt. phla- : MoP supr `ploughshare'); Skt. s- : PIr. *xu- (Skt. sepa-, but Prkrit chepp- : LAv. xuuap- `tail'). In inlaut: Skt. -a- : PIr. *-u- (Skt. jahak- : LAv. duuka-, Bal. jajuk, duux, MoP a `hedgehog'); Skt. -- : PIr. *-a- (Skt. chga- : Oss. sg / sg `billy-goat'); Skt. -v- : PIr. *-b- (Skt. gandharva- : LAv. gandərəa- `a mythical being'); Skt. -dh- : PIr. *-t- (Skt. gandha- `smell' : LAv. gainti- `bad smell'); Skt. -ar- : PIr. *-ra- (Skt. atharvan- : Av. rauuan-/aaurun- `priest'); Skt. -ar- : PIr. *-r- (Skt. gandharva- : LAv. gandərəa- `a mythical being'); Skt. -r- : PIr. *-r- (Skt. drsa- `coarse garment' : Wakhi ərs `wool of a goat or a yak'). 3.2. Impossible root structure for an Indo-European word There is a well-known root structure constraint in Proto-Indo-European, which does not permit two unaspirated voiced stops within a root. This means that *gad- `club' and *grda- `penis' could not have been formed in the Indo-European proto-language.
We should not be discouraged by the often “normal” looks of a word: the early date of borrowing may be responsible for the fact that the loan-words were adjusted to the phonemic system of that moment and went through the whole historical development of the Indo-Iranian languages. Note that I did not use the laryngeals in the reconstructions because for the time being we do not know at which stage and in which form the words were adjusted to the Indo-Iranian phonemic system.
The Indo-Iranian substratum
3.3. Unusual structure (trisyllabic nouns with long middle syllable) *pia- `biestings', *maikha- `wooden peg', *iavi- `canal', *uarjha- `wild boar', *kapauta`pigeon', *kapra- `vessel, dish'. The structure of these words is such that it is very difficult to explain them on the basis of IE morphology. For instance, Mayrhofer (EWAia II: 138) writes about Skt. pysa- `biestings': “Gewi zu PAYI1 [`to swell'], payas- [`milk, fluid'] gehrig” with a reference to Wackernagel 1954: 500. Wackernagel assumes in this word a suffix -sa-, which is further only found in the late Sanskrit words gandsa- `water for rinsing the mouth' and man~js- `box, chest' (to which we may add RV ngsa- `hymn', Kuiper 1991: 19, 23), all of them being evident loanwords. Furthermore, even postulating a suffix -sa- in pysa- does not solve all the problems, since we are still left with an unexplained long . The foreign origin of pysa- was already suggested by Kuiper 1968: 80, 1991: 46. 3.4. Phonetic peculiarities Voiceless aspirates: *(s)phra- `ploughshare', *atharuan- `priest', *kapha- `mucus, phlegm', *kh`well, source', *khara- `donkey', *maikha- `wooden peg'. Extremely frequent palatal stops: *ancu- m. `Soma plant', *c-/acas- `region, space', *caruam. name of a deity, *dac- f. `hem, thread', *drca-/drca- `coarse garment', *jharmiia- `firm structure', *kaciapa- m. `tortoise', *kaica-/gaica- m. `head hair', *kuci- m. `side of the body, flank', *maljha- (?) `belly', *naij(s)- `spit', *ucig- m. `sacrificing priest', *uarjham. `wild boar', etc. Frequent clusters with -s-: *kuci- `side of the body, flank', *urca- `tree', *matsia- m. `fish', *naij(s)- `spit', *kra- `milk', *pusca- `tail', *scga-/scaga- `billy-goat'. The sequence -ru-: *atharuan- m. `priest', *carua- m. name of a deity, *g(h)andh(a)ru/b(h)a- m. `a mythical being'. 3.5. Peculiar word formation “Suffix” -ka- (normally only denominal): *atka- `cloak', *stuka- `tuft of hair', *urtka- `kidney', *jajha/uk- `hedgehog'; “Suffix” -sa- (rare in the inherited lexicon): *pia- `biestings', *urca- `tree'; “Suffix” -pa-: *kaciapa- `tortoise', *ppa- `bad', *stpa- `tuft of hair', *uaipa- `tail'; Other unusual suffixation: *stu-ka- vs. *st-pa- `tuft of hair', *nagna(jhu)- (Skt. nagnahu- m. `yeast', Iran. *nagna- `bread'), *karu- `damaged (teeth)', *jharm(i)ia- `firm structure, permanent house', *matsia- `fish', *naij(s)- `spit', *ucig- `sacrificing priest', *bhiaj- (Skt. bhisaj- m. `physician'; LAv. biaziia- `to cure'), *pauast- `cloth'. 3.6. Semantic categories We can suspect that some words have been borrowed because they belong to a specific semantic field, even if they display no phonological or morphological anomalies. For instance, I assume that the religious terms *ancu- `Soma plant', *carua- name of a god, *magha- `gift, offering,
sacrifice' are likely to be loanwords. These words belong to the cult of Soma-drinking Aryans and thus form a semantically closely related group. The other members of the group do show anomalies: *atharuan- `priest' and *g(h)andharu/b(h)a- `a mythical being' have irregular correspondences, and *indra- shows irregular vocalization, *ri- `seer' has irregular accentuation in Sanskrit, while *ucig- `sacrificing priest' has unusual morphological structure. Also for semantic reasons, I assume foreign origin for words like *dac- f. `hem, thread', *it(i)a- `brick', *uc- f. `axe, pointed knife', etc. 3.7. In general, we can state that although the foreign origin of some of the words is open to doubt, there is a small, but undisputable body of loanwords in Indo-Iranian2. Our next task is to scrutinize the structure of the Indo-Iranian substratum. 4.1. The phonological and morphological features of Indo-Iranian loanwords are strikingly similar to those which are characteristic of Sanskrit loanwords, i.e. words which are only attested in Sanskrit and which must have entered the language after the Indo-Aryans had crossed Hindukush. The structure of Sanskrit loanwords has been discussed by Kuiper 1991, so that a few examples will suffice. The maikha-type (trisyllabic words with long middle syllable) is abundantly attested in the foreign vocabulary of Sanskrit, cf. urvr- f. `cucumber', ulka- m. `owl', usnsa- m.n. `turban', rbsa- n. `oven', kapola- m. `cheek', karsa- n. `dung', kilsa- adj. `of variegated color', kisora- `foal', mayra- m. `peacock', masra- m. `lentil', srdla- m. `tiger', srgla- m. `jackal', etc.3 Voiceless aspirates are represented e.g. in ulkhala- n. `mortar', khila- m. `uncultivated land', khr- f. `measure of grain', kharva- adj. `mutilated', phala- n. `fruit', mukha- n. `mouth, face', sikh- f. `tuft of hair, crest'. Palatal stops are very frequent. For instance, in Kuiper's list of 383 foreign words in the RV I counted more than 90 words containing palatal s, j, ch, and h. Clusters with -s- are: ksauma- adj. `linen' (cf. also um- f. `flax'), chubuka- n. `chin', muksj- `?' (V), iksvku- NPr. (RV), kutsa- NPr. (RV), ksumpa- `?' (RV 1.84.8), etc. For the “suffix” -pa- cf. alpa- adj. `small', turpa- n. `seminal fluid', puspa- n. `flower', saspa- n. `young grass', silpa- adj. `variegated' (also silpa- n. `ornament'), srpa- n. `winnowing basket', etc.
During the discussion of my paper in Tvrminne, Professor E. Helimski stressed the point that the number of IndoIranian loan-words is relatively small, so that the homeland of the Indo-Iranians is likely to be not so far from the Urheimat of the Indo-Europeans. 3 Cf. also ulkhala- n. `mortar' with four syllables. In my opinion, also karmra- m. `blacksmith' is a loanword and is not derived from the root kr- `to make', as is usually assumed. Also Skt. prdku- `panther; kind of snake' seems to be borrowed from the same language (the eventual origin of the word must be sought in the Near East, cf. the Iranian words like Sogd. pwrnk-, MiP palang, etc., Gr. `leopard').
The Indo-Iranian substratum
For the “suffix” -h- cf. malha- adj. `with hanging belly/udder' (siad of goats and ewes) vs. barjaha- `udder', barjahya- `nipple'. For the “suffix” -ig- cf. rtvij- `priest', vanij- `merchant', bhurij- `?'. For the sequence -ru- cf. urvr- f. `cucumber', kharva- adj. `mutilated', turvasa- NPr., patharvan- NPr. (RV 1.112.17), pharvara- `?' (RV 10.106.2), probably sarvar- `night'. 4.2. The phonological and morphological similarity of loanwords in Proto-Indo-Iranian and in Sanskrit has important consequences. First of all, it indicates that, to put it carefully, a substratum of Indo-Iranian and a substratum of Indo-Aryan represent the same language, or, at any rate, two dialects of the same language. In order to account for this fact, we are bound to assume that the language of the original population of the towns of Central Asia, where IndoIranians must have arrived in the second millennium BCE, on the one hand, and the language spoken in Punjab, the homeland of the Indo-Aryans, on the other, were intimately related.4 At the present stage, it is useless to speculate about the possible identity of these languages, but this does not affect the argument. Another consequence is that the Indo-Iranians must still have formed a kind of unity during their stay in Central Asia, albeit perhaps dialectally diversified. Judging by the later spread of the Indo-Aryans – to the south-west in the case of the Mitanni kingdom and to the south-east during their move to Punjab –, they were situated to the south of the Iranians, forming the vanguard, so to speak, of the Indo-Iranian movement. Accordingly, the Indo-Aryans were presumably the first who came in contact with foreign tribes and sometimes “passed on” loanwords to the Iranians. In this way, we may account for the difference between Skt. sikatand Iranian *sikat- `sand, gravel' or Skt. sc- and Iranian *s‰- `needle', which cannot reflect a single proto-form. At the stage when words with Skt. s- arrived at the Iranian territory, PIIr. *s had already become Iranian *h, and PIIr. *c had turned into PIr. *s, so that these words entered Iranian with PIr. *s-. This direction of borrowing (rather than from Iranian to Sanskrit, as is usually assumed) also explains the irregular correspondences within Iranian. For instance, the word for `sand, gravel' has no less than four different formations in Iranian, viz. *sik- (OP ik-, Bel. six, Pashto əga), *sikaia- (Median Sikayauvati- `made of gravel', the name of a fortress, Munji səgya, Ik. seɣio, sigioh), *sikat- (Pahlavi sygd = sikat, Sogd. ykth, Khot. siyat), *sikit- (Kurdish sigit `earth', Oss. sygyt/sigit `id.', etc.; the word for needle has two forms, viz. *sk- (LAv. sk-) and *sau‰ania- (MiP sozan, Khot. saujsan~a-, Oss. sʒn/soʒn, etc.) (Abaev 1958-95 III: 164-165, 187-188). 5.1. We can now turn to the culture with which the Indo-Iranians came in contact. Let us look at the semantic categories which are represented among the Indo-Iranian substratum words. I have
The links between the culture of Central Asia and that of the Indus Valley are also repeatedly reported by the archaeologists (cf. Parpola 1988: 204, Hiebert 1995 with ref.).
arranged them in accordance with their frequency. One of the largest categories is “body parts, hair” (9 items: *kapha- `mucus, phlegm', *kaica-/gaica- `head hair', *kuci- `side of the body, flank', *grda- `penis', *maljha- `belly', *pusca- `tail', *stuka- `tuft of hair', *uaipa- `tail', *urtka- `kidney'), but this category, as well as “pejorative adjectives” (*aka- `bad', *karu`damaged (teeth)', *ppa- `bad'), is not particularly telling for the identification of the culture. “Religion, cult” (8) is shortly discussed above. “Wild animals” (8): *(H)utra- `camel', *khara- `donkey', *kaciapa- `tortoise', *kapauta`pigeon', *jajha/uk- `hedgehog', *matsia- `fish', *mrga- `game', *uarjha- `wild boar'. “Clothing” (5): *atka- `cloak', *dac- `hem, thread', *drca-/drca- `coarse garment', *pauast- `cloth', *s‰-/c‰- `needle'. “Building technology” (4): *it(i)a- `brick', *jharmiia- `firm structure, permanent house', *maikha- `wooden peg', *sikat-/cikat- `sand, gravel'. “Artifacts” (3): *kapra- `dish, bowl', *naij(s)- `spit', *uc- `axe, pointed knife'. “Water economy and irrigation” (3): *kh- `well, source', *‰t- `pit, well', *iavi`canal'. “Cattle breeding” (3): *kra- `milk', *pia- `biestings', *scga-/scaga- `billy-goat'. “Agriculture” (2): *nagna- `yeast, bread', *(s)phra- `ploughshare'. 5.2. Starting with the assumption that loanwords reflect changes in environment and way of life, we get the following picture about the new country of the Indo-Iranians. The landscape must have been quite similar to that of their original homeland, as there are no new terms for plants or landscape. The new animals like camel, donkey, and tortoise show that the new land was situated more to the south. There was irrigation (canals and dug wells) and elaborate architecture (permanent houses with walls of brick and gravel). Agriculture still did not play an important role in the life of Indo-Iranians: presumably, they did not change their life-style and only used the products (`bread'!) of the farmers, hardly tilling the land themselves. The paucity of terms for military technology (only *gad- f. `club') can be seen as an indication of Aryan military supremacy. It seems further obvious to me that the Soma cult was borrowed by the Indo-Iranians. This picture, which is drawn on exclusively linguistic arguments, is a strong confirmation of the traditional theory that the Indo-Iranians come from the north. Most probably, the IndoIranians moved from the Eurasian steppes in the third millennium BCE (Pit-Grave culture, 35002500 BCE) in eastern direction, first to the region of the lower Volga (Potapovo, etc., 2500-1900 BCE) and then to Central Asia (Andronovo culture, from 2200 BCE onwards). As we have seen above, there are reasons to believe that the Indo-Aryans formed the vanguard of the Indo-Iranian movement and were the first to come into contact with the original inhabitants of the Central Asian towns. Then, presumably under pressure of the Iranians, who were pushing from behind, the Indo-Aryans moved further to the south-east and south-west, whereas the Iranians remained in Central Asia and later spread over the Iranian plateau. The
The Indo-Iranian substratum
urban civilization of Central Asia has enriched the Indo-Iranian lexicon with building and irrigation terminology, with terms for clothing and hair-do, and for some artifacts. It is tempting to suggest that the word *gad- `club, mace' refers to the characteristic mace-heads of stone and bronze abundantly found in the towns of the so-called “Bactria-Margian Archaeological Complex”. Also *uc- `axe, pointed knife' may be identified with shaft-hole axes and axe-adzes of this culture. 6. Finally, I would like to shortly discuss the implications for the contacts between Indo-Iranian and Uralian speakers, which is the actual theme of this conference. As is well known, Uralic has heavily borrowed from Indo-Iranian, but I agree with those scholars who believe that many of the apparent early borrowings rather reflect an etymological relationship between Uralic and Indo-European, and I doubt that there are Proto-Uralic borrowings from Indo-European. At any rate, borrowings from Indo-Iranian start with the Finno-Ugrian period. It is remarkable that the oldest layer of borrowings often concerns words which are only attested in Sanskrit and not in Iranian (e.g. FU *ora- `awl' : Skt. r- `awl'; FV *resm `rope' : Skt. rasmi- m. `rein', rasmanm. `id.'; FV *onke `hook' : Skt. anka- `hook'; FP *antз `young grass' : Skt. andhas- `grass', etc.). This fact can be explained by the vanguard position of the Indo-Aryans, who were the first to come into contact with the Uralic population on their move to the east. The Iranians, who came slightly later, lived in the neighboorhood of the Uralians for a very long time and continuously contributed to the enrichment of the Uralian vocabulary. Another problem is how to account for Indo-Iranian isolates which have been borrowed into Uralic. It is hard to believe that the new vocabulary, which was acquired by the IndoIranians in Central Asia, could reach the Uralians in time, so that we only have two options: either the Indo-Iranian isolates are of Indo-European origin, or the Uralians borrowed these words from an Iranian source at a later stage. To the first group may belong PIIr. *racm- `rope, rein' : FV *resm `rope' (the -m- is only attested in Sanskrit); PIIr. *mak- `fly, bee' : FU *meke `bee' (the fact that the word can be reconstructed for FU precludes a late date for borrowing); PIIr. *sur- `alcohol' : PP *sur `beer' (the PP word cannot be a late borrowing from Iranian because of its *s-) and PIIr. *dasiu- `foreigner' : Vog. tas `stranger' (the Uralic word cannot be due to late borrowing from Iranian because of the preserved *s-). On the other hand, I assume that FV *orase `(castrated) boar' was borrowed from Iranian (PIIr. *uarjha- `wild boar' can hardly be an IE word). The same probably holds for FP *suka `chaff, awn' because this form is only found in Iranian (LAv. sk- `needle') and further for PP vork `kidney' (PIIr. *urtka-), FP/FV *saka `goat' (PIIr. *scga-/scaga-), PP *nan `bread' (PIIr. *nagna-), PP *majk / majg `stake' (PIIr. *maikha-).
8 Appendix: A list of Indo-Iranian isolates
The list presented below is based on Mayrhofer's EWAia. I have collected those Sanskrit etyma which have Iranian correspondences, but lack other IE cognates. In general, I follow the etymological analysis of Mayrhofer, and whenever I disagree with his judgement, this is expressly mentioned. Since it is often difficult to decide whether a particular word is a borrowing or not (the most important criteria have been discussed in the main body of the article), I have decided to present the evidence in full. The list is divided into the following sections: A. Loanwords; B. Inherited words; C. Verbs; D. Wanderwrter; E. Words with uncertain IIr. etymology. The verbs are given separately, as at this stage it appears impossible to distinguish between inherited verbs and borrowings. The section “Wanderwrter” contains words which are attested both in Sanskrit and Iranian, but their Proto-Indo-Iranian age cannot be ascertained. Every lemma begins with a Proto-Indo-Iranian reconstruction, followed by grammatical information (in the case of agreement between Sanskrit and Iranian) and the meaning. In square brackets I have added words from other language families (mostly, Uralic) which are borrowed from Indo-Iranian or from where an Indo-Iranian word might have been borrowed. A. Loanwords
*aka- adj. `bad': Skt. aka- n. `pain', akam adv. `in a bad way'; Av. aka- `bad, evil'. *ancu- m. `Soma plant' (probably ephedra): Skt. amsu- `Soma plant'; Av. asu- `Haoma plant'. *atka- m. `cloak': Skt. atka-; LAv. aka-, a.ka-. *atharuan- m. `priest': Skt. atharvan-; Av. rauuan-/aaurun-. *c-/acas- `region, space': Skt. s- f.; LAv. asah- n. *bhi- `medicine, medicinal herb': Skt. bhisaj- m. `physician'; Av. bi- `medicine', LAv. biaziia- `to cure'. *carua- m. name of a deity: Skt. sarva- name of a god; LAv. sauruua- name of a dava. *‰t- `pit, well': Skt. ctvla- (Br.+) m.n. `pit (dug in order to get ground for the northern altar)'; LAv. ct- f. `(dug) well', Buddh. Sogd. ‰'t, Bactrian `well'. *dac- f. `hem, thread': Skt. das- `hem'; Khot. dasa, Bal. dasag `thread'. *drca-/drca- (?) `coarse garment': Skt. drsa- n. `coarse garment'; Wakhi irs (Grjunberg & SteblinKamenskij 1976: dərs) `wool of a goat or a yak', Shughni oxc `id.; body hair; coarse cloth' (cf. Karamoev 1991 s.v.). *gad- f. `club': Skt. (S+) gad-; LAv. ga-, MiP gad. *gandh/t- `smell': Skt. gandha- m. `smell'; LAv. gainti- `bad smell'. *g(h)andh(a)ru/b(h)a- m. `a mythical being': Skt. gandharva-; LAv. gandərəa-. *grda- `penis': Skt. grda- m.; LAv. gərə.kərəta- adj. `cutting off the genitals'. *indra- m. name of a deity: Skt. indra- name of a god; LAv. indra- name of a dava. Mayrhofer (EWAia s.v.) offers several etymologies, none of which is convincing, however. From a semantic point of view, the most plausible etymology is Slavic *jedrъ `strong, fresh', but the primary meaning in
The Indo-Iranian substratum
Slavic is clearly `pit, kernel'. Note the “wrong” vocalization, if this were an IE formation (form *(H)indro- we expect IIr. **iadra-). *it(i)a- `brick': Skt. istak- f. (VS+); LAv. itiia- n., OP iti- f., MiP xit (cf. on this word Witzel 1995: 103). *iavi- f. `canal': Skt. yavy- /yavy/ `stream, canal'; OP yauviy- `canal'. *jharmiia- `firm structure, permanent house': Skt. harmiya- n. `firm structure', later `palace' (for the meaning see Elizarenkova 1995: 28f.); LAv. zairimiiuuant- adj. `with a permanent house' (said of the moon), zairimiiaura- m. `tortoise' = `with toes in a house'. h *jaj a/uk- `hedgehog': Skt. (YV+) jahak- f.; LAv. duaka-, Bal. jajuk, duux, MoP a. [Brahui jajak, Santali jhik are most probably late borrowings from Indo-Iranian languages.] *kaciapa- m. `tortoise': Skt. kasyapa-; LAv. kasiiapa-. *kadru- `reddish-brown': Skt. (TS+) kadru- `reddish-brown'; Av. kadruua.aspa- name of a mountain, MoP kahar `light brown'. *kaica-/gaica- m. `head hair': Skt. kesa-; LAv. gasa- `curly hair', gasu- `with curly hair'. Connection with Skt. kesara- n. (YV+) `mane' and Lat. caesaris `head hair' is uncertain. *kapauta- m. `pigeon': Skt. kapota- `pigeon'; OP kapautaka- adj. `blue', MiP kabd `grey-blue, pigeon'. *kapra- `dish, bowl': Skt. kapla- n.; MiP kabrag, MoP kabra. *kapha- m. `mucus, phlegm': Skt. kapha- (Up.+) `phlegm'; LAv. kafa- `foam, mucus'. *karu- adj. `damaged (teeth)': Skt. kardatin- `with bad teeth'; Sogd. krw nt'k `id.'. *kuci- m. `side of the body, flank': Skt. kuksi-; Sogd. qwy-. The often proposed connection with Skt. kosa- m. `coop, cask' is unconvincing. *kra- `milk': Skt. ksra- n.; MiP r, Yidgha-Munji xra. *khara- m. `donkey': Skt. khara- (AVP+); LAv. xara-. [Akkadian (Mari) ḫa^rum, ajarum `donkey'; Tam. kar_ utai `id.' ?] h *k - f. `well, source': Skt. kh-; LAv. x-. *magha- n. `gift, offering, sacrifice': Skt. magha-; OAv. maga-. Connection with Gothic mag `can, may' and its family is uncertain. h *maik a- m. `wooden peg': Skt. maykha- `peg for stretching the woof'; OP <myux> = mayxa`doorknob', Sogd. myɣk `peg', MiP and MoP mx `peg, nail', Oss. mx/mex `stake'. The current etymology derives the word from the root mi- `to build, erect', which explains neither its morphology (suffix *-kha-?), nor semantics (the verbal root only means `to fix in the ground'). The meaning `stake' is only attested in Ossetic and is clearly secondary. [In view of its meaning, PP *majk / majg `stake' (Redei 72) is probably borrowed from Pre-Ossetic.] h *malj a- (?) `belly': Skt. malha- adj. `with hanging belly/udder' (said of goats and ewes)5; LAv. mərəzna- n. `belly', maruii gen.sg. (the stem maruu- ?) `paunch'. Probably, also Skt. barjaha- `udder', barjahya- `nipple' belong here. The current IE etymology, connecting Lith. miltis, Latvian mil~zt `to swell up', is phonetically impossible, since the Baltic acute points to IE *g (Winter's Law).
The word always refers to a female, usually pregnant, animal, cf. TS 18.104.22.168 ditym malhm garbhi_nm labhate `he offers a malha pregnant female animal, dedicated to Aditya' (similarly, MS 4.4.9, KS 13.1, TB 22.214.171.124), so that the meaning `dewlap', given in the dictionaries, is improbable.
*matsia- m. `fish': Skt. matsya-; LAv. masiia-. The current IE etymology, which connects Germanic words like Gothic mats `food' < PGm. *mati-, explains neither the meaning nor the morphology of the IIr. word. *mrga- m. `game': Skt. mrga- `forest animal, bird'; LAv. mərəɣa- `bird'. *nagna- `yeast, bread': Skt. nagnahu- (AVP+) m. `yeast, ferment'; PIr. *nagna- `bread' (Sogd. nɣny, Pashto naɣan, MiP nn with an irregular development, etc.). The old theory, according to which the Skt. word was borrowed from Iranian *nagnaxvd- `bread seasoning', seems improbable to me. [ PP *nan `bread' from Iranian, Redei 73] *naij(s)- `spit': Skt. niks- `to pierce', nksana-, neksana- n. `spit, fork'; LAv. naza- n. `sharp point (of the needle)', MiP nzag `lance', MoP n `sharp point', ntar `lancet'. The Sanskrit verbal forms (present niksati with its accented zero-grade) do not look old. *pauast- `cloth': Skt. pavasta- n. `cover, garment'; OP pavast- f. `thin clay envelope used to protect clay tablets'. *ppa- adj. `bad': Skt. ppa-; LAv. ppa . *pia- `biestings': Skt. pysa- m.n.; Wakhi pyix, Munji fəy. *pusca- `tail': Skt. puccha- m.n.; LAv. pusa- m. *rci- `heap': Skt. rsi- m. `heap, mass'; Pashto rya `heap (of grain)' < *rsii. A connection with *racm- `rope' cannot be excluded, however. *ri- m. `seer': Skt. rsi-; OAv. ərəi-. The initial accentuation in Sanskrit is aberrant (Lubotsky 1988: 29, 54). *scga-/scaga- `billy-goat': Skt. chga- m.; Oss. sg / sg `goat', Wakhi ‰əɣ `kid'. [ FP, FV *saka / sawa `goat', Redei 59] *sikat-/cikat- `sand, gravel': Skt. sikat- f. `sand, gravel'; OP ik- f. `gravel', Khot. siyat- `sand', Buddh. Sogd. ykth `gravel'. [Kannada usiku, usigu `sand' ?] h *(s)p ra- `ploughshare': Skt. phla- m.; MoP supr, Ik. uspir, Wakhi spndr (Grjunberg & SteblinKamenskij 1976: spundr `plough'). It cannot be excluded that this is a migratory term and belongs to category D (Wanderwrter). *stuk- `tuft of hair': Skt. stuk- f. `tuft of hair (esp. of a bull) or wool'; Oss. styg/stug `lock, tuft of hair'. Cf. also Skt. stpa-, stupa- m. `tuft of hair'. *s‰-/c‰- `needle': Skt. sc-; LAv. sk-, MiP sozan, Oss. sʒn/soʒn. [ FP *suka `chaff, awn', Redei 59; probably, from Iranian, cf. 6.] *uaipa- (?) `tail': Skt. sepa- m. (with irregular anlaut), Prkrit chepp- f.; LAv. xuuap- f. (for the etymology see Lubotsky 2000: 260, fn. 20). *ucig- m. `sacrificing priest': Skt. usij-; Av. usig-. *uarjha- m. `wild boar': Skt. varha-; LAv. varza-. [ FV *orase `(castrated) boar', Redei 54; probably, borrowed from Iranian, cf. 6.] *uc- f. `axe, pointed knife': Skt. vs- f. `axe, adze, chisel'; LAv. (Yasna 42.4) vs- `pointed knife (?)', Oss. ws (better was ?)6 `axe, wood-chopper'. *urca- m. `tree': Skt. vrksa-; LAv. varəa-.
As Johnny Cheung points out to me, this word is undocumented in Ossetic. Both Abaev and Miller & Frejman s.v. ws refer to Miller 1903: 10, but there this word is spelled as vas, i.e. was.
The Indo-Iranian substratum
*urtka- m. du. `kidney': Skt. vrkka- (TS+ vrkyau); LAv. vərəka-. The usual etymology derives this word from the root vrt- `to turn', which can hardly be correct because the suffix -ka- is only denominal in Indo-Iranian. [ PP vork `kidney', Redei 79] *(H)utra- m. `camel': Skt. ustra-; Av. utra-, OP ua-bri- adj. `camel-borne' (the laryngeal may be responsible for -- in zarautra-).
B. Inherited words
*(H)agra- `top': Skt. agra- n. `tip, summit'; LAv. aɣra- adj. `first, topmost'. The word has a clear IE appearance, although there are no plausible cognates. Note that the connection with Latvian agrs `early' (Mayrhofer, EWAia s.v.) is impossible because of Winter's Law. *(H)ainas- n. `crime, mistake': Skt. enas-; Av. anah-. *(H)andha- adj. `blind': Skt. andha-; LAv. anda-. IE if Gallo-Latin andabata `gladiator fighting in a helmet without openings' (*`blind-fighter') belongs here. *(H)aruna- `red-brown': Skt. aruna-; Av. auruna-. *(H)arua- `reddish': Skt. arusa- `reddish'; Av. aurua- `white'. *(H)asra- adj. `painful': Skt. asra-; OAv. angra-, LAv. ara- `evil'. *(H)atHtHi- (?) m. `guest': Skt. atithi-; Av. asti-. The laryngeal in the Proto-Indo-Iranian form makes a non-IE origin improbable. *(H)audhr/n- `cold': Skt. dhani, OAv. aodərə-‰. *(H)auasa- n. `provision': Skt. avasa- (cf. also denom. vayati `eats'); LAv. auuaha-. *carad- f. `autumn, year': Skt. sarad- `autumn, year'; LAv. sarəd-, OP <rd-> `year' (cf. Toch. A srme `autumn' < *kerdmn-?, Pinault 1998: 362). *dasiu- m. `foreigner', *dasiu- f. `country (of the foreigners)': Skt. dasyu- m. `enemy'; Av. daxiiu- f. `country'. [ Vog. tas `stranger'.] See the next word. *dsa- `(hostile) people': Skt. dsa-, dsa- m.; LAv. dh- `belonging to the Dha-people'. There are several suggestions for an IE etymology, but they are all doubtful (Gr. `slave'; Gr. `people', for the latter see Lubotsky 1995: 231, fn. 18). *drapsa- m. `streak, banner': Skt. drapsa-, LAv. drafa- (for the connection with Gr. , German Treber, etc. see Oberlies 1990: 153ff.). *dhr- f. `blade of the sword': Skt. dhr-; LAv. dr-. IE, if identical with Skt. dhr- `stream, pouring' ( `casting'). h *d rigu- adj. `poor, needy': Skt. adhrigu- `exalted'; OAv. drigu- `needy', LAv. superlative drajit.təma-. *iacas- `fame': Skt. yasas- n. `fame'; OAv. yas.xiiən `to attain fame', LAv. yas.bərəta- `brought with dignity'. *iacti- f. `stick, branch': Skt. yasti- (RVKh, SB+) f. `staff, pole'; LAv. yaxti- `branch'. *iajhu- `youthful': Skt. yahu- `youthful'; OAv. yazu- `young'. *itu- `(black) magic': Skt. ytu- m.; LAv. ytu- f. (m. `sorcerer'). In spite of its IE appearance, no convincing etymology for this word has been suggested. *jraias- n. `wide expanse, sea': Skt. jrayas- n. `wide expanse'; Av. zraiiah- n., OP drayah- n. `sea'. Cf. also Skt. upa jrayati `extends'. [ PP *sariʒ < *ʒaris < *ʒarjзs `sea' from Iranian, Redei 81.] *karna- m. `ear': Skt. karna-; LAv. karəna-.
*mak- f. `fly, bee': Skt. maks()- `fly, bee'; LAv. max- f. `fly'. [ FU *meke `bee', Redei 45.] *mi- f. `magic power': Skt. my-; OAv. mii-, LAv. maii-. There are various etymological proposals, but they are all rather improbable. The word looks fairly IE though, and its IE origin is conceivable. *muti- `fist': Skt. musti- m.f.; LAv. muti . Connection with the word for `mouse' (e.g. Mayrhofer, EWAia s.v.) is impossible, because the latter contains a laryngeal (*muHs-). The best chance for an IE etymology is the connection with Lith. muti `to beat', Toch B masce `fist'. *naima- adj.: Skt. nema- `some, half'; LAv. nama- `half'. *pacman- `eyelash': Skt. paksman- (YV+) n. `eyelash'; LAv. pana- n. `eyelash or eyelid', MiP and MoP pam, Khot. pe'ma-, Oss. fsm/fans `wool'. If the original meaning is `fluff', then a connection with Gr. `to comb' is plausible. *pman- `itch, scabies': Skt. pman- m.; LAv. pman- m. Probably connected with Gr. n. `evil, harm'. *prt- f. `battle': Skt. prt-; Av. pərət-. *rac-m- `rope, rein': Skt. rasan- f. `rope', rasmi- m. `rein', rasman- m. `id.'; MiP, MoP rasan `rope' (Skt. rasan-, MiP rasan < *racmn-?). [ FV *resm `rope', Redei 57.] *rca- adj. `raw': Skt. rksa- (YV+) `raw, dry'; OAv. urua- `needy, poor'. The connection with OHG rh, etc. < PGm. *rhwa- is possible. *sain- f. `army': Skt. sen-; LAv. han-, OP hain-. *srakti- f. `corner': Skt. srakti- `corner'; LAv. sraxti, raxti- `corner, side'. Here probably also srka`sharp point'. The variants like srkyin- (Kth+) : srgyin- (MS+) : srkvin- (TS), etc. `spearbearer' (see Kuiper 1991: 35) may point to foreign origin, though. *striH- f. `woman, wife': Skt. str-; LAv. str-. *sur- `alcohol': Skt. sur- f.; LAv. hur- f. Probably, connected with the root *su- `to press'. [ PP *sur `beer', Redei 77.] *taukman- n. `germ, germed seed': Skt. tokman-; Av. tauxman-. Cf. also the root-noun Skt. tuc- f. `posterity, children'. *uanca- `roof-beam': Skt. vamsa- m.; Wakhi was, Shughn ws. Most probably, related to MIr. feice `ridge-pole, top' < *u(e)nkio-. *urata- n. `rule, command': Skt. vrata- `commandment'; OAv. uruuata- `rule'.
*bharu- `to chew': Skt. bharv-; LAv. a.baouruua- `place where there is much to eat', baoiriia- `to be chewed'. *can- `to ascend': Skt. sanaih `gradually, quietly'; LAv. san-, Khot. san- / sata- `to rise'. *ci- `to coagulate, congeal': Skt. sy-; Oss. syjyn/sujun. *dhuaj- `to flutter': Skt. dhvaja- m. `banner', krta-dhvaj- `with streaming flags'; LAv. duua- `to flutter'. *ghas- `to devour': Skt. ghas-; LAv. gah-. *ghas- `to laugh': Skt. has-; LAv. jah-, jahik- f. `prostitute'. 315 *ghau- `to make sound, hear': Skt. ghos-, Av. gao-. v *(H)at- `to wander': Skt. at- `to wander'; Av. x ra- n. `well-being'.
The Indo-Iranian substratum
*Huiadh- `to wound, hurt': Skt. vyadh-; LAv. v- `wounding'. *jhi- `to incite': Skt. hi-; LAv. frazaiiaiimi `ich lasse hindringen'. *ku‰- `to crook, bend': Skt. kuc-; MiP n-gwc-. *nard-: Skt. nrd- `to hum, growl'; Buddh. Sogd. nr- `to complain'. *rajh-: Skt. rah- `to be abandoned'; MiP rz `mystery'. *sagh- `to be able to bear': Skt. sagh-; LAv. azgat `unbearable'. *srans- `to fall apart': Skt. srams-; LAv. rhaiiən `they make fall away'. *suag- `to embrace': Skt. svaj-; LAv. pairi.xvaxta- `surrounded'. *uand(H)- `to praise': Skt. vandi-; LAv. vand-. *uap- `to scatter': Skt. vap-; OAv. vuupa `scatters, robs, devastates'. *uap- `to shave': Skt. vap-; Khot. patvutta- `shaven'. *uik- `to separate, sift': Skt. vic-; LAv. vic-, MiP wxtan/wz-. *uiak- `to encompass': Skt. vyac-; MoP gunjidan. *uiatH- `to be unsteady': Skt. vyath-; LAv. aiiura- (< *auiura-) `unshakable'. *uriH- `to oppress, collapse': Skt. vl-; LAv. uruunait (acc.pl.f.) `pressing together'.
Skt. um- f. `flax'; Yidgha imoɣ, moɣ, Munji yimaga `linseed' (cf. also Skt. lex. ksum- `id.'). Skt. msa- m. `bean'; MiP m `legume', Shughni max `bean'. Skt. muska- m. `testicle'; MiP muk `musk' (probably, a loanword from Indo-Aryan). Skt. sarsapa- m. `mustard seed'; Khot. ssasvna- `mustard', Sogd. ywp-n, MiP span-dn `mustard seed' (cf. also Gr. n. `mustard').
E. Words with uncertain IIr. etymology
Skt. avani- f. `river bed, stream'; LAv. aoniia- n. `Heizvorrichtung'. Skt. asi- `to eat'; Iranian cognates, mentioned by Mayrhofer, are uncertain. LAv. sit (Yasna 10.14) rather means `lying', cf. Humbach 1960: 27f., Oberlies 1990: 159 and 166, fn. 55. At any rate, this form cannot be derived from PIIr. *acHta- because laryngeal disappears in this position in Iranian. The explanation of LAv. kahrksa- m. `vulture' as `chicken-eater' has a strong flavour of folk etymology and is almost certainly false. Sogd. ‰rks, Oss. crgs `eagle' show initial *‰- and short -a- in the second syllable, which are incompatible with the Avestan word. I suspect that this is a borrowing, which may have been interpreted in some of the Iranian languages as if containing the word for `chicken'. The best candidates for Iranian cognates to Skt. asi- are MoP `food, soup' < PIr. *sia-, Oss. bas / basж `soup' < *upa-sia-, etc. Skt. prasalavi `to the right'; OP frhrvm /fraharavam?/ `all round'. Skt. hir- f. `vein'; LAv. zira-an- (Aogəmadac 57) `striking the veins' (?, cf. Humbach 1983: 120). The meaning of the Avestan compound remains hypothetical. Skt. valka- m.n. `bark', LAv. varəka- (Farhang-i-m 8 = Kling. 395) m./n. `leaf'.
Av. AVP Bal. Br. FP FU FV Gr. IE Ik. Khot. KS LAv. Lith. MiP MoP MS OAv. OHG Avestan (i.e. both OAv. and LAv.) Atharva-Veda Paippalda Balu‰i Brhmanas Finno-Permian Finno-Ugrian Finno-Volgaic Greek Indo-European Ikaimi Khotanese Kthaka-Samhit Late Avestan Lithuanian Middle Persian Modern Persian Maitryan-Samhit Old Avestan Old High German OP Oss. PGm. PIIr. PIr. PP RVKh SB SCr. Skt. Sogd. S. Toch. TB TS Up. Vog. VS YV
316 Old Persian Ossetic Proto-Germanic Proto-Indo-Iranian Proto-Iranian Proto-Permian Rig-Veda-Khilni Satapatha-Brhmana Serbo-Croatian Sanskrit Sogdian Stras Tocharian Taittirya-Brhmana Taittirya-Samhit Upanishads Vogulian Vajasaney-Samhit Yajurveda
Abaev, V.I.: Istoriko-etimologi‰eskij slovar' osetinskogo jazyka. Moskva – Leningrad, 1958 – 1995. Beekes, R.S.P. 1996: Ancient European loanwords. Historische Sprachforschung 109, 215-236. Elizarenkova, T.Y. 1995: “Words and things” in the Rgveda. Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (Post-Graduate and Research Department Series No. 39; “Professor P.D. Gune Memorial Lectures”, sixth series), Pune. Grjunberg A.L. & I.M. Steblin-Kamenskij 1976: Vaxanskij jazyk: teksty, slovar', grammati‰eskij o‰erk. Moskva. Hiebert, Fredrik T. 1995: South Asia from a Central Asian perspective. The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia. Language, Material culture and ethnicity. George Erdosy (ed.), Berlin – New York, 192-205. Humbach, H. 1960: Die Kanika-Inschrift von Surkh-Kotal. Wiesbaden. Humbach, H. 1983: Review of: Kaikusroo M. JamaspAsa, Aogəmadac. Gttingische gelehrte Anzeigen 235, 116-125. Karamoev, D. 1991: Sugnansko-russkij slovar' v trex tomax. 1, 2. Moskva. Kortlandt, F. 1978: Proto-Indo-European obstruents. Indogermanische Forschungen 83, 107-118. Kuiper, F.B.J. 1968: Sailsa- and Kuslava-. Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft und Kulturkunde (Gs. Brandenstein), M. Mayrhofer et al. (ed.), Innsbruck, 77-84. Kuiper, F.B.J. 1991: Aryans in the Rigveda. Amsterdam – Atlanta.
The Indo-Iranian substratum
Kuiper, F.B.J. 1995: Gothic bagms and Old Icelandic ylgr. NOWELE 25, 63-88. Lubotsky, A. 1988: The system of nominal accentuation in Sanskrit and Proto-Indo-European. Leiden. Lubotsky, A. 1995: Reflexes of intervocalic laryngeals in Sanskrit. Kuryɫowicz Memorial Volume. Part One, W. Smoczynski (ed.). Cracow, 213-33. Lubotsky, A. 2000: Indo-Aryan `six', M. Ofitsch, C. Zinko (eds.) 125 Jahre Indogermanistik in Graz. (Arbeiten aus der Abteilung “Vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft Graz”), 255-261. Mayrhofer, M. EWAia: Etymologisches Wrterbuch des Altindoarischen. Heidelberg, 1986-1996. Miller, Wsewolod (= Vs.F. Miller) 1903: Die Sprache der Osseten. Strassburg. Miller, Vs.F. – A.A. Frejman. Osetinsko-russko-nemeckij slovar'. Leningrad, 1927-1929-1934. Oberlies, Th. 1990: Zur Wortkunde des Kthaka – I. Mnchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft 51, 147166. Parpola, A. 1988: The coming of the Aryans to Iran and India and the cultural and ethnic identity of the Dsas. Studia Orientalia 64, 195-302. Pinault, G.-J. 1998: Tocharian languages and pre-Buddhist culture. The Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Peoples of Eastern Central Asia, Victor H. Mair (ed.), Washington D.C., 358-371. Redei, K.: Zu den indogermanisch-uralischen Sprachkontakten. Wien, 1986. Schrijver, P. 1997: Animal, vegetable and mineral: some Western European substratum words. Sound Law and Analogy (FS Beekes), A. Lubotsky (ed.). Amsterdam – Atlanta, 293-316. Wackernagel, J. 1954: Altindische Grammatik II/2. Nominalsuffixe, herausg. von A. Debrunner. Gttingen. Witzel, M. 1995: Early Indian history: linguistic and textual parametres. The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia. Language, Material culture and ethnicity. George Erdosy (ed.), Berlin – New York, 192-205.