Velmezova, Ekaterina: The “Ancient Indian Language” in the 1950 Linguistic Discussion in the USSR: The Significance of a “Missed Encounter”, in Bornet, Philippe und Cattoni, Nadia (Hrsg.): Significant Others, Significant Encounters: Essays on South Asian History and Literature, Heidelberg: Heidelberg Asian Studies Publishing, 2023, S. 209–217. https://doi.org/10.11588/hasp.1155.c16219

Identifier (Buch)

ISBN 978-3-948791-50-6 (PDF)
ISBN 978-3-948791-51-3 (Hardcover)




Ekaterina Velmezova

The “Ancient Indian Language” in the 1950 Linguistic Discussion in the USSR

The Significance of a “Missed Encounter”

During the linguistic discussion officially organised in the USSR in 1950, Nikolaj Jakovlevič Marr’s “New Theory of Language”, which had dominated Soviet linguistics since the end of the 1920s, was overthrown. This made possible a return to the “paradigm” of historical and comparative linguistics. However, despite all the importance of “ancient Indian” linguistic material for the formation of historical and comparative linguistics, in the very discussion of 1950 the “ancient Indian language”, contrary to all expectations, is scarcely mentioned. Among the possible explanations for this, this chapter highlights both the course of the development of historical and comparative linguistics and the political and ideological nature of the 1950 Soviet linguistic discussion.

Keywords “Ancient Indian language”, historical and comparative linguistics, “New Theory of Language”, linguistic discussion of 1950 in the USSR, linguistics and ideology