Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Influence of Sanskrit on the Japanese Sound Systems

For future reference.


The Influence of Sanskrit on the Japanese Sound Systems.
Buck, James H.
The Japanese syllabary of today would probably not exist in its present arrangement had it not been for Sanskrit studies in Japan. Scholars of ancient Japan extracted from the Devanagari those sounds which corresponded to sounds in Japanese and arranged the Japanese syllabary in the devanagari order. First appearing in a document dated 1204, this arrangement has been fixed since the 17th century. This arrangement was most convenient for the study of Sanskrit and was later applied by scholars of the history of the Japanese language. It was a convenient means to order information and perhaps, even, its early use has a parallel in the earliest English dictionaries which were arranged according to our present alphabet, but whose major purpose was the study of a foreign language. For the English, it was Latin; for the Japanese, it was Sanskrit. (Author/AMM)
Note: Presented at the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics, University of North Carolina, April 17-18, 1970

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Ta-Nehisi Coates' latest

The Atlantic has: "I'm not black, I'm Kanye".

It is a good piece of writing.  But consider:
It is hard because what happened to America in 2016 has long been happening in America, before there was an America, when the first Carib was bayoneted and the first African delivered up in chains. It is hard to express the depth of the emergency without bowing to the myth of past American unity, when in fact American unity has always been the unity of conquistadors and colonizers—unity premised on Indian killings, land grabs, noble internments, and the gallant General Lee. Here is a country that specializes in defining its own deviancy down so that the criminal, the immoral, and the absurd become the baseline, so that even now, amidst the long tragedy and this lately disaster, the guardians of truth rally to the liar’s flag.
Is there some truth in it? Undeniably.  But is this the America you experience and recognize on a daily basis? 

Or this:
There is no separating the laughter from the groans, the drum from the slave ships, the tearing away of clothes, the being borne away, from the cunning need to hide all that made you human. And this is why the gift of black music, of black art, is unlike any other in America, because it is not simply a matter of singular talent, or even of tradition, or lineage, but of something more grand and monstrous. When Jackson sang and danced, when West samples or rhymes, they are tapping into a power formed under all the killing, all the beatings, all the rape and plunder that made America. The gift can never wholly belong to a singular artist, free of expectation and scrutiny, because the gift is no more solely theirs than the suffering that produced it. Michael Jackson did not invent the moonwalk. When West raps, “And I basically know now, we get racially profiled / Cuffed up and hosed down, pimped up and ho’d down,” the we is instructive.
Really?  Sometimes music is just music, maybe? 

I don't deny Ta-Nehisi Coates his perspective.  But it is just one description that one of the blind men around the elephant; it doesn't describe the whole elephant. 

Now imagine that there is a whole mini-economy of academic India-studiers (Wendy Doniger, Sheldon Pollock, etc., etc.) , NYTimes-like "liberal" media and its "native informants" and an evangelical movement, all out to "civilize" the heathen Hindus of India, and de-primitivize them and so on, all of them Ta-Nehisi Coates in their perspective.  And they claim to have the certified stamp of understanding India. 

Perhaps when one realizes that the NY Times collective does not comprehend its native country, that throws doubt that it can provide a basis for understanding of the rest of the world, and one seeks knowledge elsewhere.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Balu: Introspection vs Reflection on Experience

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Book memo: The Hydrogen Sonata

Iain M. Banks has a reputation for his science fiction, so I said, why not?  Picked up "The Hydrogen Sonata" at the public library.  Well, I found it OK, not great.  Perhaps I picked up the wrong book?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Balu: Comparative Anthropology and Moral Domains


The knife appears to cut both ways: against the background of the western conception of’ethics’, Indian traditions ’chill the blood’.  Against the background of Indian traditions, the West appears totally immoral: Why does it appear so?  What causes this perception?

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Where's the Beef?

Worldwide Patterns of Ancestry, Divergence, and Admixture in Domesticated Cattle

Bos taurus taurus was domesticated in the Middle East while Bos taurus indicus was domesticated in India. 

It is likely is that a hypothetical Punjab_N population from even before agriculture would have been related to the Iran_N people, somewhere along a cline between Iran_N in Iran (whose aDNA has been found) and peoples in India's interior. 

If Iran_N(eolithic) ingressed into India with a demic diffusion of agriculture, they didn't bring their cattle along. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Ancestry Models

In Lazarides et. al. 2016, https://www.biorxiv.org/content/biorxiv/early/2016/06/16/059311.full.pdf,  modeling ANI (Ancestral North Indian)
While the Early/Middle Bronze Age ‘Yamnaya’-related group (Steppe_EMBA) is a good genetic match (together with Neolithic Iran) for ANI, the later Middle/Late Bronze Age steppe population (Steppe_MLBA) is not.
However, in Narasimhan et. al. 2018, Steppe_MLBA is seen to be a better match, and Steppe_EMBA is ruled out.  Underlying it are different other components of ancestry that are used.

In Lazarides,  the other components of ancestry are Iran_N(eolithic), Onge, and Han.
In Narasimhan, the other components of ancestry are Iran agriculturist (same as Iran_N?) , AASI (another name for Onge), and a composite of "Indus_Periphery" and Swat SGPT and early historic individuals.  

Why is it important? Because if these genetic findings are correlated with language (a big if!) and  because if the Rg Veda is taken seriously, e.g., its mentions of the Saraswati River, then a post-IVC arrival of I.E. is untenable.  Likewise with the Vedic Indra-Varuna-Mitra- Nasatyas in the Mitanni documents.  Steppe_EMBA doesn't rule out a pre-IVC-collapse arrival; but Steppe_MLBA pretty much does.

One should note that Steppe_EMBA itself lies on the cline between Iran_Chalcolithic and European Hunter Gatherer, and Steppe_MLBA is largely Steppe_EMBA but on the Steppe_EMBA - European_MidNeolithic_Chalcolithic cline.  (see Lazarides 2016 for this, excerpted diagrams here).
But in contemplating the difference between Lazarides and Narasimhan, it seems the Siberian Hunter Gather component is what makes the difference. 

A question would be - do Steppe_EMBA and Steppe_MLBA have "similar ancestry profiles"? Apparently in the context of the Narasimhan et. al. model, for the purpose of modeling ANI they do not.  Yet, for the purpose of modeling ANI,  Indus_Periphery and Swat individuals have a similar ancestry profile.