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Indo-Aryan Languages - An 8000 year history
Aryan languages are all derivatives of Mother language Sanskrit - the most
complete human language of this planet. These include almost all languages of
Afghanistan, Pakistan, Balochistan, Kurdi communities in Iran, Iraq, Syria and
Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and some areas of Caspian.*
Avestan is a language that forms part of the Iranian group. Old Avestan (sometimes called Gathic Avestan) is the oldest preserved language of the Iranian sub-branch, the "sister" of Sanskrit, which is the language used in the early Zoroastrian religious texts. Another important language of the Iranian sub-branch is Old Persian, which is the language found in the royal inscriptions of the Achaemenid dynasty, starting in the late 6th century BCE. The earliest datable evidence of this branch dates back to about 1300 BCE. I will be posting more info on Avestan and its relation with Sanskrit shortly.
Today, many Indic languages are spoken in India and Pakistan, such as Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, and Bengali. Iranian languages such as Farsi (modern Persian), Pashto, and Kurdish are spoken in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.
The Indo-Aryan or Indic languages are the key language family of the Indian subcontinent and South Asia. They constitute a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family. Indo-Aryan speakers form about one half of all Indo-European speakers (about 1.5 of 3 billion), and more than half of all Indo-European languages recognized by Ethnologue. While the languages are primarily spoken in South Asia, pockets of Indo-Aryan languages are found to be spoken in Europe and the Middle East.
The largest in terms of native speakers are Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu, about 250 million), Bengali (about 200 million), Punjabi (about 100 million) Marathi (about 70 million), Gujarati (about 50 million), Rajasthani (about 50 million), Bhojpuri (about 40 million), Awadhi (about 38 million), Maithili (about 30 million), Odia (about 30 million), Sindhi (about 25 million), Braj Bhasha (about 21 million), Saraiki (about 20 million), Chhattisgarhi (about 18 million), Nepali (about 16 million), Sinhala (about 15 miilion), Assamese (about 15 million), Haryanvi (about 13 million), Kannauji (about 9 million), Bagheli (about 8 million), Kashmiri (about 6 million), Dogri (about 4 million), and Bundeli (abut 3 million), Garhwali (about 3 million), Kumaoni (about 2 million), with a total number of native speakers of more than 900 million. Dogri of Jammu Kashmir is same language spoken in Occupied Kashmir area where it is called Potohari/Potwari and also a variation called Hindko.
The Vedas describe how within this universe there is a causal ocean we all come from and as descendants we are known as "Napat" which has been described as "that which descends ( pat ) from the waters ( na )" and "governors ( pat ) of the waters ( na )". The dictionary defines "Napat" as "grandson" "nephew" "descendant" as in that which "descends from the waters".
In Europe "Napat" becomes the Greek "Nepodes" meaning "children" and "Anepsios" meaning "cousin". In Latin it becomes "Nepotis" meaning "grandson" and "Nepos" meaning "descendant".
"Napat" meaning "descendant" "son" "offspring" is also found in the English "Nephew", the French "Neveu", the German "Neffe", the Dutch "Neef", the old Icelandic "Nefe", the Norwegian "Nevo" and the old Lithuanian "Nepuotis".
In the Avestan of Zoroastria we have "Apam Napat" a personality whose name means the "son of the waters" and in the Vedas we find this same "Apam Napat" meaning the "son of the waters".
We also have "Nepotism" meaning "favouring relatives" originally a reference to the Popes disposition towards favouring his own nephew by granting him privileges. "Nepotism" comes from the Latin "Nepotem" meaning "descendants" and this comes ultimately from this Sanskrit "Napat" meaning the same.
The etymology of "Napat" reveals how "creation" takes place from the "waters" of the causal ocean, the same "waters" which are described in the Egyptian "primal waters" and the same waters mentioned as the Zoroastrian "Apam Napat" meaning "the son of the waters". "Napat" is also the source of the Roman God of seas and waters "Neptune" one of many Roman Gods with Vedic/Sanskrit names.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, and God said, let there be light: and there was light." - Genesis 1:1-2
You may have seen a few of my posts on languages and words. Will try to post more on fascinating details of languages and their current situation. Kindly share this post so that more friends can get an idea of the spread of The Indo Aryan lingustic group.
By Dr Naila Hussain
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