Indo-Aryan languages


Indo-Aryan languages
Indo-Aryan
Indic
Geographic
distribution:
South Asia
Linguistic classification: Indo-European
Subdivisions:
North-Western Zone
Northern Zone (incl. some Hindi)
Central Zone (incl. some Hindi)
Eastern Zone (incl. some Hindi)
Southern Zone
Insular Indo-Aryan
ISO 639-2 and 639-5: inc
Indoarische Sprachen Gruppen.png
Geographical distribution of the major Indo-Aryan languages (Urdu is not shown because it is mainly a lingua franca with no prevalence as a first language. Outside of the scope of the map is the migratory Romani language).

The Indo-Aryan languages (within the context of Indo-European studies also Indic[1]) constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family. Indo-Aryan speakers form about one half (approx 1.5 billion) of all Indo-European speakers (approx 3 billion), also Indo-Aryan has more than half of all recognized Indo-European languages, according to Ethnologue. The largest in terms of native speakers being Hindustani (Standard Hindi and Urdu, about 240 million), Bengali (about 230 million), Punjabi (about 90 million), Marathi (about 70 million), Gujarati (about 45 million), Oriya (about 30 million), Sindhi (about 20 million), Nepali (about 14 million), Sinhala (about 16 million), Saraiki (about 14 million) and Assamese (about 13 million) with a total number of native speakers of more than 900 million. They form a subgroup of the Indo-Iranian languages, which consists of two other language groups: the Iranian and Nuristani.

Contents

History

Indian subcontinent

Old Indo-Aryan

The earliest evidence of the group is from Vedic Sanskrit, the language used in the ancient preserved texts of the Indian subcontinent, the foundational canon of Hinduism known as the Vedas. The Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni is of similar age as the Rigveda (and almost identical to it), but the only evidence is a number of loanwords.

In about the 4th century BCE, the Sanskrit language was codified and standardized by the grammarian Panini, called "Classical Sanskrit" by convention.

Middle Indo-Aryan

Outside the learned sphere of Sanskrit, vernacular dialects (Prakrits) continued to evolve. The oldest attested prakrits (i.e., middle Indic languages) are the Buddhist and Jain canonical languages Pali and Ardha Magadhi, respectively. By medieval times, the prakrits had diversified into various Middle Indic dialects. "Apabhramsa" is the conventional cover term for transitional dialects connecting late Middle Indic with early Modern Indic, spanning roughly the 6th to 13th centuries. Some of these dialects showed considerable literary production; the Sravakachar of Devasena (dated to the 930s) is now considered to be the first Hindi book.

The next major milestone occurred with the Muslim invasions of India in the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. Under the flourishing Mughal empire, Persian became very influential as the language of prestige of the Islamic courts. However, Persian was soon displaced by Urdu. This Indo-Aryan language is a combination with Persian elements in its vocabulary, with the grammar of the local dialects.

The two largest languages that formed from Apabhramsa were Bengali and Hindi; others include Gujarati, Oriya, Marathi, and Punjabi.

New Indo-Aryan

Dialect continuum

The Indic languages of Northern India (that includes Assam Valley as for the language Assamese) and Pakistan form a dialect continuum. What is called "Hindi" in India is frequently Standard Hindi, the Sanskrit-ized version of the colloquial Hindustani spoken in the Delhi area since the Mughals. However, the term Hindi is also used for most of the central Indic dialects from Bihar to Rajasthan. The Indo-Aryan prakrits also gave rise to languages like Gujarati, Assamese, Bengali, Oriya, Nepali, Marathi, and Punjabi, which are not considered to be Hindi despite being part of the same dialect continuum.

Standard forms of Hindi-Urdu

In the Hindi-speaking areas, the prestige dialect was long Braj Bhasha, but this was replaced in the 19th century by Khari Boli–based Hindustani, commonly known as Urdu. This state of affairs continued until the Partition of India in 1947, when Hindustani/Urdu continued as an official language of India and Pakistan but renamed Hindi in India and Urdu in Pakistan. Persian-Arabian vocabulary began to be excised from the official Standard Hindi corpus of India in a bid to make the language more "Indian". A return to Hindi poets such as Tulsidas resulted in what is known as a Sanskritisation of the language. Persian words in common parlance were slowly replaced by Sanskrit words, sometimes borrowed wholesale, or in new compounds. In contemporary times, there is a continuum of Hindi–Urdu, with heavily-Persianised Urdu at one end and Sanskritised Hindi at the other, although the basic grammar remains identical. Most people speak something in the middle, and this is what the term Hindustani is frequently used to mean today.

Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni

Some theonyms, proper names and other terminology of the Mitanni exhibit an Indo-Aryan superstrate, suggesting that an Indo-Aryan elite imposed itself over the Hurrian population in the course of the Indo-Aryan expansion. In a treaty between the Hittites and the Mitanni, the deities Mitra, Varuna, Indra, and Nasatya (Ashvins) are invoked. Kikkuli's horse training text includes technical terms such as aika (eka, one), tera (tri, three), panza (pancha, five), satta (sapta, seven), na (nava, nine), vartana (vartana, turn, round in the horse race). The numeral aika "one" is of particular importance because it places the superstrate in the vicinity of Indo-Aryan proper as opposed to Indo-Iranian or early Iranian (which has "aiva") in general [2]

Another text has babru (babhru, brown), parita (palita, grey), and pinkara (pingala, red). Their chief festival was the celebration of the solstice (vishuva) which was common in most cultures in the ancient world. The Mitanni warriors were called marya, the term for warrior in Sanskrit as well; note mišta-nnu (= miẓḍha,~ Sanskrit mīḍha) "payment (for catching a fugitive)" (M. Mayrhofer, Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindoarischen< Heidelberg 1986-2000; Vol. II 358).

Sanskritic interpretations of Mitanni royal names render Artashumara (artaššumara) as Arta-smara "who thinks of Arta/Ṛta" (Mayrhofer II 780), Biridashva (biridašṷa, biriiašṷa) as Prītāśva "whose horse is dear" (Mayrhofer II 182), Priyamazda (priiamazda) as Priyamedha "whose wisdom is dear" (Mayrhofer II 189, II378), Citrarata as citraratha "whose chariot is shining" (Mayrhofer I 553), Indaruda/Endaruta as Indrota "helped by Indra" (Mayrhofer I 134), Shativaza (šattiṷaza) as Sātivāja "winning the race price" (Mayrhofer II 540, 696), Šubandhu as Subandhu 'having good relatives" (a name in Palestine, Mayrhofer II 209, 735), Tushratta (tṷišeratta, tušratta, etc.) as *tṷaiašaratha, Vedic Tvastr "whose chariot is vehement" (Mayrhofer, Etym. Wb., I 686, I 736).

Romani language

The Romani language is usually included in the Central Indo-Aryan languages. Romani is conservative in maintaining almost intact the Middle Indo-Aryan present-tense person concord markers, and in maintaining consonantal endings for nominal case – both features that have been eroded in most other modern languages of Central India. It shares an innovative pattern of past-tense person concord with the languages of the Northwest, such as Kashmiri and Shina. This is believed to be further proof that Romani originated in the Central region, then migrated to the Northwest.

There are no known historical documents about the early phases of the Romani language.

Linguistic evaluation carried out in the nineteenth century by Pott (1845) and Miklosich (1882–1888) showed that the Romani language is to be a New Indo-Aryan language (NIA), not a Middle Indo-Aryan (MIA), establishing that the ancestors of the Romani could not have left India significantly earlier than AD 1000.

The principal argument favouring a migration during or after the transition period to NIA is the loss of the old system of nominal case, and its reduction to just a two-way case system, nominative vs. oblique. A secondary argument concerns the system of gender differentiation. Romani has only two genders (masculine and feminine). Middle Indo-Aryan languages (named MIA) generally had three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter), and some modern Indo-Aryan languages retain this old system even today.

It is argued that loss of the neuter gender did not occur until the transition to NIA. Most of the neuter nouns became masculine while a few feminine, like the neuter अग्नि (agni) in the Prakrit became the feminine आग (āg) in Hindi and jag in Romani. The parallels in grammatical gender evolution between Romani and other NIA languages have been cited as evidence that the forerunner of Romani remained on the Indian subcontinent until a later period, perhaps even as late as the tenth century.

Classification

Indo-Aryan languages, grouping according to SIL Ethnologue:
  Central zone
  Northern zone
  Northwestern zone
  Eastern zone
  Southern zone
  Insular (Southern)

Because there are not always clear breaks between languages, there is no definite classification of the Indo-Aryan languages. However, they are commonly divided as follows:

Phonology

Consonants

Stop positions[3]

The normative system of New Indo-Aryan stops consists of five points of articulation: labial, dental, "retroflex", palatal, and velar, which is the same as that of Sanskrit. The "retroflex" position may involve retroflexion, or curling the tongue to make the contact with the underside of the tip, or merely retraction. The point of contact may be alveolar or postalveolar, and the distinctive quality may arise more from the shaping than from the position of the tongue. Palatals stops have affricated release and are traditionally included as involving a distinctive tongue position (blade in contact with hard palate). Widely transcribed as [tʃ], Masica (1991:94) claims [cʃ] to be a more accurate rendering.

Moving away from the normative system, some languages and dialects have alveolar affricates [ts] instead of palatal, though some among them retain [tʃ] in certain positions: before front vowels (esp. /i/), before /j/, or when geminated. Alveolar as an additional point of articulation occurs in Marathi and Konkani where dialect mixture and others factors upset the aforementioned complementation to produce minimal environments, in some West Pahari dialects through internal developments (*t̪ɾ, > /tʃ/), and in Kashmiri. The addition of a retroflex affricate to this in some Dardic languages maxes out the number of stop positions at seven (barring borrowed /q/), while a reduction to the inventory involves *ts > /s/, which has happened in Assamese, Chittagonian, Sinhalese (though there have been other sources of a secondary /ts/), and Southern Mewari.

Further reductions in the number of stop articulations are in Assamese and Romany, which have lost the characteristic dental/retroflex contrast, and in Chittagonian, which is in danger of losing its labial and velar articulations through spirantization in many positions (> [f, x]).

/p/, //, /ʈ/, //, /k/ Hindi, Punjabi, Dogri, Sindhi, Gujarati, Bihari,Maithili, Sinhalese, Oriya, Standard Bengali, dialects of Rajasthani (except Lamani, NW. Marwari, S. Mewari)
/p/, //, /ʈ/, /ts/, /k/ Nepali, E. and N. dialects of Bengali (Dacca, Maimansing, Rajshahi), dialects of Rajasthani (Lamani and NW. Marwari), Northern Lahnda's Kagani, Kumauni, many West Pahari dialects (not Chamba Mandeali, Jaunsari, or Sirmauri)
/p/, //, /ʈ/, /ts/, //, /k/ Marathi, Konkani, certain W. Pahari dialects (Bhadrawahi, Bhalesi, Padari, Simla, Satlej, maybe Kulu), Kashmiri
/p/, //, /ʈ/, /ts/, //, //, /k/ Shina, Bashkarik, Gawarbati, Phalura, Kalasha, Khowar, Shumashti, Kanyawali, Pashai
/p/, //, /ʈ/, /k/ Rajasthani's S. Mewari
/p/, /t/, /k/ Assamese
/p/, /t/, //, /k/ Romani
//, /ʈ/ Chittagonian

Nasals[4]

Sanskrit was noted as having five nasal stop articulations corresponding to its oral stops, and among modern languages and dialects Dogri, Kacchi, Kalasha, Rudhari, Shina, Saurasthtri, and Sindhi have been analyzed as having this full complement of phonemic nasals /m/ /n/ /ɳ/ /ɲ/ /ŋ/, with the last two generally as the result of the loss of the stop from a homorganic nasal + stop cluster ([ɲj] > [ɲ] and [ŋɡ] > [ŋ]), though there are other sources as well.

Charts

The following are consonant systems of major and representative New Indo-Aryan languages, as presented in Masica (1991:106–107), though here they are in IPA. Parentheses indicate those consonants found only in loanwords: square brackets indicate those with "very low functional load". The arrangement is roughly geographical.

Romani
p t (ts) k
b d (dz) ɡ ɡʲ
tʃʰ
m n
(f) s ʃ x ()
v (z) ʒ ɦ
ɾ l
j
Shina
p ʈ ts k
b ɖ ɖʐ ɡ
t̪ʰ ʈʰ tsʰ tʃʰ tʂʰ
m n ɳ ɲ ŋ
(f) s ɽ
w j
Kashmiri
p ʈ ts k t̪ʲ ʈʲ tsʲ
b ɖ ɡ d̪ʲ ɖʲ ɡʲ
t̪ʰ ʈʰ tsʰ tʃʰ pʲʰ t̪ʲʰ ʈʲʰ tsʲʰ kʲʰ
m n ɲ
s ʃ
z ɦ ɦʲ
ɾ l ɾʲ lʲ
w j
Siraiki
p ʈ k
b ɖ ɡ
t̪ʰ ʈʰ tʃʰ
d̪ʱ ɖʱ dʒʱ ɡʱ
ɓ ɗ ʄ ɠ
m n ɳ ɲ ŋ
ɳʱ
s (ʃ) (x)
(z) (ɣ) ɦ
ɾ l ɽ
ɾʱ lʱ ɽʱ
w j
Punjabi
p ʈ k
b ɖ ɡ
t̪ʰ ʈʰ tʃʰ
m n ɳ ŋ]
(f) s ɦ
ɾ l ɽ ɭ
[w] [j]
Nepali
p ʈ ts k
b ɖ dz ɡ
t̪ʰ ʈʰ tsʰ
d̪ʱ ɖʱ dzʱ ɡʱ
m n ŋ
s (ɣ) ɦ
ɾ l ɽ
ɾʱ lʱ ɽʱ
w j
Marwari
p ʈ k
b ɖ ɡ
t̪ʰ ʈʰ tʃʰ
d̪ʱ ɖʱ dʒʱ ɡʱ
ɓ ɗ̪ ɗ ɠ
m n ɳ
s ɦ
ɾ l ɽ ɭ
w j
Hindi/Urdu
p ʈ k
b ɖ ɡ
t̪ʰ ʈʰ tʃʰ
d̪ʱ ɖʱ dʒʱ ɡʱ
m n
(f) s ɦ
ɾ l ɽ
ɽʱ
([w]) ([j])
Assamese
p t k
b d g
ɡʱ
m n ŋ
s x
z ɦ
ɾ l
[w]
Bengali
p ʈ k
b ɖ ɡ
t̪ʰ ʈʰ tʃʰ
d̪ʱ ɖʱ dʒʱ ɡʱ
m n
ʃ ɦ
ɾ l ɽ
[w] [j]
Gujarati
p ʈ k
b ɖ ɡ
t̪ʰ ʈʰ tʃʰ
d̪ʱ ɖʱ dʒʱ ɡʱ
m n ɳ
ɳʱ
s ʃ ɦ
ɾ l ɭ
ɾʱ lʱ
w j
Marathi
p ʈ ts k
b ɖ dz ɡ
t̪ʰ ʈʰ tʃʰ
d̪ʱ ɖʱ dzʱ dʒʱ ɡʱ
m n ɳ
s ʃ ɦ
ɾ l ɭ
ɾʱ lʱ
w j
Oriya
p ʈ k
b ɖ ɡ
t̪ʰ ʈʰ tʃʰ
d̪ʱ ɖʱ dʒʱ ɡʱ
m n ɳ
s ɦ
ɾ l [ɽ] ɭ
[ɽʱ]
[w] [j]
Sinhalese
p ʈ k
b ɖ ɡ
ᵐb ⁿ̪d̪ ᶯɖ ᵑɡ
m n ɲ ŋ
s ɦ
ɾ l
w j

See also

References

  1. ^ Note that, unlike the generic adjective "Indian", "Indic" is the term used in the context of Indo-European linguistics, and is not strictly a geographical term; non-Indo-European languages spoken in India are not included in the term, while the Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni, Roma, Dom, Kassite, Sindi etc, on the other hand, are Indic languages spoken outside the sub-continent
  2. ^ Paul Thieme, The 'Aryan' Gods of the Mitanni Treaties. JAOS 80, 1960, 301-17
  3. ^ Masica (1991:94–95)
  4. ^ Masica (1991:95–96)

External links


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