General Studies IART AND CULTURE

Dravidian language link with Indus Valley Civilization


Dravidian language link with Indus Valley Civilization; Information about the linguistic culture of Harappans has recently been published in an international journal.


Archaeologists have studied Harappan culture in detail but have not yet deciphered the language they spoke or the script they used.


  • Scientists discovered relation between few of the words spoken by the Indus valley people and other cultures. They arrived at a conclusion that the language may have proto-Dravidian origin.

  • The proto-Dravidian language is the ancestor of the currently existing Dravidian languages spoken in the subcontinent.

  • The speakers of Dravidian language were having a wider geographical presence including the Indus valley civilization. They migrated southwards from their initial place of dwelling.

Other findings

  • An independent researcher based the study on the trade relations between Indus valley and Mesopotamia, including the Gulf of Persia.

  • She looked for eastern texts of these civilizations and tried to locate foreign words used in the texts.

  • The idea is that if a product or commodity is not produced locally, it is known by its foreign name from where it is sourced.

  • Akkadian language refers elephant as ‘p?ru’/‘p?ri’, which may have originated from IVC. Since these words do not have any local origin, they may have been borrowed.

  • In several Dravidian languages p?luru, pallava, pella and pilu signify elephant. The word may have undergone variation to become p?ru’ in foreign tongues.

  • Previous studies have also shown that genes of IVC people carried Y-chromosome haplogroup H1a1d2. This is present in majority of south-Indians.

About Indus Valley Civilization

  • The history of India begins with the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC), also known as Harappan Civilization which flourished around 2,500 BC, in the western part of South Asia (contemporary Pakistan and Western India).
  • The Indus Valley was home to the largest of the four ancient urban civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China.
  • In 1920s, the Archaeological Department of India carried out excavations in the Indus valley wherein the ruins of the two old cities, viz. Mohenjodaro and Harappa were unearthed.
  • Three phases of IVC are:

  1. the Early Harappan Phase from 3300 to 2600 BCE,
  2. the Mature Harappan Phase from 2600 to 1900 BCE, and
  3. the Late Harappan Phase from 1900 to 1300 BCE.

Proto-Dravidian Language

  • It is the linguistic reconstruction of the common ancestor of the Dravidian languages. Proto-Dravidian gave rise to 21 Dravidian Languages.

Dravidian languages

  • Dravidian languages, a family of some 70 languages spoken primarily in South Asia. They are spoken by more than 215 million people in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
  • The Dravidian languages with the most speakers are (in descending order of number of speakers) Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam, all of which have long literary traditions. Smaller literary languages are Tulu and Kodava.
  • There are also a number of Dravidian-speaking Scheduled Tribes, such as the Kurukh in Eastern India and Gondi in Central India.
  • Dravidian place names along the Arabian Sea coasts and Dravidian grammatical influence such as clusivity in the Indo-Aryan languages, namely, Marathi, Gujarati, Marwari, and Sindhi, suggest that Dravidian languages were once spoken more widely across the Indian subcontinent.

Source: Indian Express

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