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Flora, Fauna and Nature in Aryan Urheimat

Flora, Fauna and Nature in Aryan Urheimat

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The claims of Thieme, Witzel etc. that many of the IE words for Indian fauna and flora originated in northern colder region was never examined philologically. This article attempts to examine those claims objectively about some animal and plant species.
The claims of Thieme, Witzel etc. that many of the IE words for Indian fauna and flora originated in northern colder region was never examined philologically. This article attempts to examine those claims objectively about some animal and plant species.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Premendra Priyadarshi on Jul 15, 2011
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08/19/2013

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Flora, Fauna and Nature in Aryan
Urheimat
by P. Priyadarshi
The Oak Tree
Witzel claims that oak, birch and willow trees grow in the northern colder regions, andpresence of the respective cognate words in Sanskrit with meanings of the three specifictropical trees should mean that the Indo-Europeans came to India carrying these words,and after not finding the original trees in India they thrust these names on to the threetropical trees found in India. (2009 fulltext:5, fn 32).
Hence he writes, “the IE word for ’oak’ may be contained in
 parka
 ṭ
ī 
> 'ficus infectiora' 
”.
Pokorny and others have claimed that the PIE
 perk 
u
        
u-s
(from which Sanskrit 
 parkaTI 
,Hindi
 pakar 
,
 pakur 
have derived)
meant ‘oak’
(Pokorny 822-823). However they neverclaimed that 
Ficus
was cognate of 
 parkaTI 
and this correlation is a contribution of Witzel.In fact it has been held that oak must not have grown in the IE homeland, because it hasno common (cognate) word in the languages of Europe. Crystal wrote that there is little
evidence of a common word for ‘oak’ in Europe, which is a common European tree, and
is even the national tree of many European countries (p. 296).Thus we have:English oak;German Eiche; Dutch eiken; Middle Dutch
ek 
; Danish eg(-en);We may note here that the words
eiken
 
or acorn mean fruit with a ‘single seed’,
and are derived from PIE (and Sanskrit)
eka
 
meaning ‘one’.
 German Viereiche, OHG
 fereheih
 (c.f. Sanskrit 
vRkSa
, vulgar Hindi
biriccha
, tree).Old Scandinavian
 fir 
;But Old English
 furh
meant 
‘pine’.
 Latin
quercus
 
(from this have derived ‘cork,
quercetin’ 
etc.);
llex 
(holme-oak);Spanish=
roble
;French =
chêne
;Romanian =
stejar 
;Proto-Celtic
*dari(k)-
 (Sanskrit 
daru
, tree).Greek 
 phegos
 
 
(but Latin
 fagus
 
is ‘beech’);
 Greek 
drys
 (c.f. Sanskrit 
daru
,
taru
both meaning tree; OCS
drievo
, Russian
drevo
, Serb
drvo
 and
drva
all mean tree; Lith.
dreva
pine; Pol.
draw 
wood).Albanian
drusk 
oak.Lithuanian
azuolas
,
azoulinis
.On the other hand many cognates of 
 parkat 
 
mean ‘pine’ even:
 German
 fichte
, pine; Latin
 picea
, pine.Interpretation:
Thus we see that there is no common root for ‘oak’ in various European languages. That 
means when the Indo-European speakers arrived into Europe, they applied different 
words meaning ‘tree’ in their homeland (which in our study was India). In Sanskrit,
daru,
 
dara
,
vriksha
are words meaning tree. They were applied indiscriminately. Thusthe same word
daru
was applied to mean
‘oak’ in Greece, but to ‘pine’ in
Lithuanian. Out of these names of oak in Europe, only Scandinavian
 fir 
and Latin
quercus
qualify to becognates of PIE
 perkat 
and Sanskrit 
 parkaTI 
. Although
 fir 
and
quercus
have noresemblance between them, both of them can be derived from Sanskrit 
ParkaTI 
. Thus it is Sanskrit which is the connecting link of the two--the Germanic and the Italic.We noted that 
 fir 
 
does not always mean ‘oak’. It often means any tree or wood as in
OldEnglish it means pine.(
 ). Yet thoroughly ignoring these facts, Witzel and the likes claimed that oak is represented inSanskrit (and India) as
 parkaTI.
Thus we find that the etymology of oak has beenbungled up by these authors.
Witzel’s
other claim in the same footnote that 
 ficus
(Latin, fig) is derived from
 parkaTI 
isbogus too. Fig is a foreign word in Europe from Hebrew (Valpi:153). It is entirelydifferent matter that it may have entered Hebrew language from India.
 While Germanic
 fir 
is a generic word meaning variously like wood, pine or oak indifferent languages,
 parkaTI 
or
 pakur 
is a specific tree species of India. And it has meant 
Ficus infectoria
since ancient times. There are many
Ficus
species in India: banyan,
 pipal 
 and fig, which are never confused with each other in names in India.In fact the word
 parkati
has widespread cognates in Austronesian languages like
 pakat 
,
 paka
,
napak 
and
mpaka
etc. spreading from Malagasy to Polynesia, and meaning eitherdifferent species of 
Ficus
like
 prolixa
and
obliqua
or aerial roots, or in some languages
‘root’
(Mahdi:203):
 Kalimantan Island Languages:
 pakat 
(root).
 
 Merina Language (Madagascar):
 fahani
(from *
 paka
, root).Bismark Archaepelago:
 paka
(
Ficus nodosa
, Tolai and Pala languages)Fiji:
mbaka
(
Ficus oblique
, Mbau language)Vanuatu (various languages):
mbak 
,
 paka
,
nu-mbak 
,
na-pak 
,
na-ban
,
 pan
(all meaning
Ficus prolixa
)Apart from these other cognates of 
 pakur 
or
 parkaTI 
in Austronesia are
uakat 
,
oakat 
,*
uakaR
,
akar 
,
okor 
, etc (Mahdi:204-6). This evidence rules out 
 parkaTI 
from being anorthern word. This also means
 parkati
is an Indian word older than Austronesianmigration. In Malay-Polynesian (i.e. Austronesian) this word must have entered beforethe language radiated east from Indonesia. Thus its arrival into India with Indo-Aryan at a later lime is ruled out because of its presence in distant Austronesian languages. OtherIndian words for
 ficus
are too found in Austronesian. Hindi
bar 
(Sk.
vata
) is found inJavanese (Adelaar and Himmelmann:183-4).Related species of oak are found in Central Asia too. Had Indo-Europeans migrated toEurope from Central Asia, or from Russian steppe to Central Asia, the Altaic languagestoo must have had a word for oak common with European words.In fact, it is India where oak is not found and that is why the original Indo-Europeansdid not have any word for it. When the IE speakers reached Europe, different batches of immigrants
named the same tree ‘oak’
with different words in different countries.In the same footnote, Witzel tries to give impression that Sanskrit 
 plAkSa
(meaningmany trees of 
Ficus
genus) too is a cognate of 
 parkaTI 
and
Ficus
.However, without much exercise we can say that 
 plAkSa
is the Sanskrit form of English
word ‘flax’. It is known that the primitive people wove dress from
 ficus
fibres, as theystill do in New Guinea. When they migrated into Central Asia and Europe, the meaning
Ficus
was lost, because no
 ficus
tree grew there, yet the meaning
fabric
was retained.

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