Munda in Early NW India

David L. White dlwhite at
Fri Apr 13 15:54:51 UTC 2001

> Witzel's article says the earliest stratum of the RV ("Level I") had
> no Dravidian loan words at all, and many loans previously interpreted
> as Dravidian are now regarded as ["para-"] Munda.  However the Munda
> etymologies are by no means certain, and there is a "Language X" in
> the background.

        "Language X" is precisely the (unsolvable) problem.  I would guess
that it, or its relatives, lie behind the retention of voiced aspirates in
Indic and the appearance, by fortuitous reanalysis, of voiced aspirates in
Munda.  But this can never be more than a guess.
        Retroflexes are not part of the proto-AustroAsiatic sound system.
(Neither are voiced aspirates.)  I have never heard of them occurring in
Vietnamese, though I cannot swear that they do not.

Dr. David L. White

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