SV: Non-Indic sustrate vocabulary

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at
Thu Mar 15 09:51:11 UTC 2001

David Sanchez [SMTP:davius_sanctex at] skrev 10. mars 2001 14:00:
> I read some time ago, that a scandinavian group have claimed
> that they have proved Indus Valley script was written in a form
> of a dravidian language. I was strongly surpresed and I was very
> doubtful about the feasibility of this claim.

> What can be said about the actual feasibility of claims of this type?

I refer to my earlier mails with bibliographic details. The "Nordic group"
is Prof. Parpola of the University of Helsinki (I believe, but correct me
if he belongs to another Finnish university). Parpola has published
extensively on the Indus Script, and regards its underlying language as an
early form of Dravidian. He has tried to interpret the script in this
spirit. This has been challenged by among others Prof. Witzel of Harvard,
who sees the underlying language as possibly an an early form of Munda (or
some language X). (See the Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies). The French
scholar Bernard Sergent has suggested that the underlying language is
rather an early version of Burushaski. He rejects Dravidian on grounds of
physical anthropology ("skull measures"). Se his book L'origine de l'Inde.

A fourth possibility that has been discussed loosely is that the Indus
script was used for several different languages, a solution that would fit
the rather enormous territory covered by the Indus civilization.

No interpretation of the Indus script has so far received general
acceptance among scholars. It is possible that the problems of the script
cannot be solved.

Best regards,

Lars Martin Fosse

Dr. art. Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo
Phone: +47 22 32 12 19
Mobile phone: +47 90 91 91 45
Fax 1:  +47 22 32 12 19
Fax 2:  +47 85 02 12 50 (InFax)
Email: lmfosse at

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