Debating India
Home page > Public directory > Cultures & litteratures > Was Hindi born in Anatolia?

Was Hindi born in Anatolia?

Wednesday 3 December 2003

Article paru dans le Times of India, ?dition du 3 d?cembre 2003.

If the past is the key to the future, then this key attempts to unlock the mystery surrounding the history of language. Russell Gray of the department of psychology at the University of Auckland maintains that we owe the origin of our spoken languages - including Hindi - to Hittite-speaking farmers from Anatolia, who invented agriculture and spread their words as they sowed seeds 9,500 years ago.

’’It all began with a germ of an idea that languages, like people, are related,’’ says Gray who, along with a colleague, treated language as if it was DNA and compared selected words from 87 languages to build an evolutionary tree of Indo-European languages.

Then, 2,449 words from languages including English, Hindi and Gujarati underwent comparisons to build up a pattern of descent. The choice of words was critical says Gray, as ’’this determined who picked up the language and spread its evolving versions across Europe and Asia.’’

Faced with a new theory on Hindi’s origins, Hindi scholars and linguists are skeptical about Gray’s findings. ’’Hindi, as a language, has always been associated with the Indo-Aryan family, with its origin in the Rig Vedas and Sanskrit,’’ says professor emeritus Namwer Singh of JNU, ’’What we speak today, Khariboli, has evolved from three distinct stages of Sanskrit, Prakrit and Apabhransh.’’

Corroborating Singh’s interpretation are tomes shelved at the Linguistic Survey of India compiled by George Abraham Greerson, a British civil servant. Besides, Suniti Kumar Chatterjee’s research on Hindi arrives at the same conclusion as Greerson.

SPIP | template | | Site Map | Follow-up of the site's activity RSS 2.0