Have Aryan’s been air-brushed from history ?
(Apparently the term is no longer PC – Indo-European is preferred – but was this just a region containing a group of peoples, or a people consiting of a common culture and language ? – a key point blurred by the PC term – thanks to LanguageHat.)
I’m reading Barfield’s History in English Words, (as recommended, but following up a strong pre-existing etymological interest), and finding it fascinating, and suprisingly packed with gags (more on which later). This edition was published in 1953, though Barfield had it first published in 1925 (thanks Danny Smitherman), before Hitler’s Nazism gave the Aryan race a bad name, and Barfield feels the need to apologise for any lack of political correctness in referring to the Aryan “race” as a major source of Indo-European Language.
Barfield is meticulous in detail, and traces words not just back to basic Greek or Latin stems, or Old English forms, but notes their evolutionary webs and points of creation / speciation from original Aryan inhabitants of central Europe through all the various ripples and reversals of migration, trade and invasion, and the different era’s of all the different civilisations along the way. As I say fascinating, but when I look at the Oxford Reference Online’s Concise Dictionary of Etymology, to corroborate one or two of Barfield’s claims, I can find no reference to Aryan at all. Not only that, the Oxford Etymology is surprsingly one-dimensional in it’s sources.
I suspect much of Barfields stuff, whilst stated declaratively, is actually highly speculative – Sherlock Holmes style – and probably “unproven” to more scientific etymologists, but I find it incredible to find no reference to Aryan.
I know who I would believe to be the speaker of truth – but how can that be ?
Strange because I checked Frederick Bodmer (ed Hogben) The Loom of Language (1944) and find this also refers to the Aryan origins of the well-defined family of Indo-European languages (p189). [This is the 1945 3rd Impression by George Allen and Unwin, optimistically published as part of the series “Primers for the Age of Plenty”, a book purchased by my father for 15/- (75p) in 1946 in Bombay. Amongst other things it contains a marvellous database or “Language Museum” which I really must compare with Barfield.]