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Thread: "Hind Leg' + 'Fish': Towards Further Understanding of the Indus Script"

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    "Hind Leg' + 'Fish': Towards Further Understanding of the Indus Script"

    Mehrdad posted a link to a talk by Rajesh Rao on the topic of the Indus script. Rajesh mentioned a familiar name, Asko Parpola. The brother of the well-known Assyriologist, Simo Parpola.

    Came across this paper, on

    Hind Leg' + 'Fish': Towards Further Understanding of the Indus Script

    Asko Parpola


    Methods and results of a systematic attempt to decipher the Indus script as a logo-syllabic writing system with Proto-Dravidian as the underlying language are first outlined. Then one so far undeciphered sign is interpreted as depicting an ungulate's 'hind leg.' A phonetic reading is proposed on the basis of its one-time occurrence in front of the plain 'fish' sign. (Besides the plain 'fish' sign, there are 'fish' signs modified by the addition of various 'diacritics,' such as a 'roof' placed over the fish, a horizontal or diagonal line crossing the fish in the middle, etc.) The sequence 'hind leg' + 'fish' is likely to represent a compound name of a heavenly body like several other already deciphered sequences, where the latter member of the compound is Proto-Dravidian *miin 'star,' homophonous with *miin 'fish.' A probable solution (to be tested by a study of other occurrences of the 'hind leg' sign) is offered by Old Tamil taaL 'leg,' which is once attested as denoting an asterism. Finally, some inconclusive in-depth attempts to decipher other undeciphered signs are recorded. Their purpose is to highlight difficulties due to the scantiness of early Dravidian lexical and textual material. entitled 'Fish', 'Crab', and 'Fig': Can we make sense of the Indus pictograms? Like similar earlier summaries (Parpola 1975a; 1997a; 2005) of the more extensive material documented in detail in my book Deciphering the Indus Script (1994), they focus on the methods and conclusions but especially on ways to check the interpretations of some select Indus pictograms. The last sections of this paper contain material published here for the first time.

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  3. #2
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    Here's something I found today on Wikipedia that could demonstrated the influence of Dravidian in old Indo-European language

    Thomason and Kaufman state that there is strong evidence that Dravidian influenced Indo-Aryan through "shift", that is, native Dravidian speakers learning and adopting Indo-Aryan languages. Erdosy states that the most plausible explanation for the presence of Dravidian structural features in Old Indo-Aryan is that the majority of early Old Indo-Aryan speakers had a Dravidian mother tongue which they gradually abandoned. Even though the innovative traits in Indo-Aryan languages could be explained by multiple internal explanations, early Dravidian influence is the only explanation that can account for all of the innovations at once – it becomes a question of explanatory parsimony; moreover, early Dravidian influence accounts for several of the innovative traits in Indo-Aryan languages better than any internal explanation that has been proposed. Zvelebil remarks that "Several scholars have demonstrated that pre-Indo-Aryan and pre-Dravidian bilingualism in India provided conditions for the far-reaching influence of Dravidian on the Indo-Aryan tongues in the spheres of phonology, syntax and vocabulary".

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    R1a1a-Z93, R-M560

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    Iravatham Mahadevan was one of the main proponents of the theory that Indus Valley Script was a form of Dravidian.

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