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Proto-Indo-Aryan (sometimes Proto-Indic) is the reconstructed proto-language of the Indo-Aryan languages. It is intended to reconstruct the language of the Proto-Indo-Aryans. It is descended from Proto-Indo-Iranian and thus from Proto-Indo-European. It is a Satem language.
Proto-Indo-Aryan is meant to be the predecessor of Old Indo-Aryan (1500–300 BCE) which is directly attested as Vedic and Mitanni-Aryan. Indeed, Vedic and Mitanni-Aryan are very close to Proto-Indo-Aryan.
Today, several Modern Indo-Aryan languages are extant.
Differences from Vedic
Despite the great archaicity of Vedic, the other Indo-Aryan languages preserve a small number of archaic features lost in Vedic.
One of these is the representation of Proto-Indo-European *l and *r. Vedic (as also most Iranian languages) merge both as /r/. Later, however, some instances of Indo-European /l/ again surface in Classical Sanskrit, indicating that the contrast survived in an early Indo-Aryan dialect parallel to Vedic. (A dialect with only /l/ is additionally posited to underlie Magadhi Prakrit.)
The common consonant cluster kṣ /kʂ/ of Vedic and later Sanskrit has a particularly wide range of Proto-Indo-European (PIE) and Proto-Indo-Iranian (PII) sources, which partly remain distinct in later Indo-Aryan languages:
- PIE *ks, *kʷs, *gs, *gʷs > PII *kš > Middle Indo-Aryan kh-, -kkh-
- PIE *dʰgʷʰ, *gʰs, *gʷʰs > PII *gʱžʱ > Middle Indo-Aryan gh-, -ggh-
- PIE *tḱ; *ǵs, *ḱs > PII *tć, *ćš > Middle Indo-Aryan ch-, -cch-
- PIE *dʰǵʰ, *ǵʰs > PII *ȷ́ʱžʱ > Middle Indo-Aryan jh-, -jh-
- Cardona, George; Jain, Dhanesh. The Indo-Aryan Languages. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
- "ARYANS – Encyclopedia Iranica". Encyclopedia Iranica. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
- Wheeler, L. Kip. "The Indo-European Family of Languages". Dr. Wheeler's Website. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
- see e.g. Radhakrishnan & Moore 1957, p. 3; Witzel, Michael, "Vedas and Upaniṣads", in: Flood 2003, p. 68; MacDonell 2004, pp. 29–39; Sanskrit literature (2003) in Philip's Encyclopedia. Accessed 2007-08-09
- Masica, Colin P. (1991). The Indo-Aryan Languages. p. 156.
- Masica, Colin P. (1991). The Indo-Aryan Languages. p. 97.
- Kobayashi, Masato (2004). Historical Phonology of Old Indo-Aryan Consonants. Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa Monograph Series. 42. pp. 60–65. ISBN 4-87297-894-3.