The Dual Forms of Nouns and Pronouns in Tocharian

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A common Proto-Tocharian language must precede the attested languages by several centuries, probably dating to the late 1st millennium BC. Tocharian A is found only in the eastern part of the Tocharian-speaking area, and all extant texts are of a religious nature. Tocharian B, however, is found throughout the range and in both religious and secular texts. As a result, it has been suggested that Tocharian A was a liturgical language , no longer spoken natively, while Tocharian B was the spoken language of the entire area. The hypothesized relationship of Tocharian A and B as liturgical and spoken forms, respectively, is sometimes compared with the relationship between Latin and the modern Romance languages , or Classical Chinese and Mandarin.

However, in both of these latter cases the liturgical language is the linguistic ancestor of the spoken language, whereas no such relationship holds between Tocharian A and B. In fact, from a phonological perspective Tocharian B is significantly more conservative than Tocharian A, and serves as the primary source for reconstructing Proto-Tocharian. Only Tocharian B preserves the following Proto-Tocharian features: stress distinctions, final vowels, diphthongs, and o vs. In turn, the loss of final vowels in Tocharian A has led to the loss of certain Proto-Tocharian categories still found in Tocharian B, e.

In their declensional and conjugational endings, the two languages innovated in divergent ways, with neither clearly simpler than the other. For example, both languages show significant innovations in the present active indicative endings but in radically different ways, so that only the second-person singular ending is directly cognate between the two languages, and in most cases neither variant is directly cognate with the corresponding Proto-Indo-European PIE form. The agglutinative secondary case endings in the two languages likewise stem from different sources, showing parallel development of the secondary case system after the Proto-Tocharian period.

Likewise, some of the verb classes show independent origins, e. Tocharian B shows an internal chronological development; three linguistic stages have been detected. In that sense, Tocharian to some extent like the Greek and the Anatolian languages seems to have been an isolate in the " satem " i.

The discovery of Tocharian contributed to doubts that Proto-Indo-European had originally split into western and eastern branches; today, the centum—satem division is not seen as a real familial division. Note that, although both Tocharian A and Tocharian B have the same set of vowels, they often do not correspond to each other. For example, the sound a did not occur in Proto-Tocharian. The following table lists the reconstructed phonemes in Tocharian along with their standard transcription. Because Tocharian is written in an alphabet used originally for Sanskrit and its descendants, the transcription of the sounds is directly based on the transcription of the corresponding Sanskrit sounds.

The Tocharian alphabet also has letters representing all of the remaining Sanskrit sounds, but these appear only in Sanskrit loanwords and are not thought to have had distinct pronunciations in Tocharian. There is some uncertainty as to actual pronunciation of some of the letters, particularly those representing palatalized obstruents see below. Length distinctions eventually disappeared, but prior to that all pairs of long and short vowels had become distinct in quality, and thus have different outcomes.

Many pairs of PIE vowels are distinguished in Tocharian only by the occurrence or non-occurrence of palatalization. Reconstructing the changes between PIE and Proto-Tocharian vowels is fraught with difficulty, and as a result there are a large number of disagreements among different researchers. The basic problems are:. Historically, the evolution of the Tocharian vowels was the last part of the diachronic phonology to be understood. In , George S.

Lane remarked of Tocharian that "the vocalism so far has defied almost every attempt that has been made to bring it to order", [34] and as late as still asserted: "That the subject [of palatalization] is a confused and difficult one is generally recognized—but so are most of the problems of Tocharian phonology. Despite the apparent equivalence between the Tocharian A and B vowel systems, in fact a number of vowels are not cognate between the two varieties, and Proto-Tocharian had a different vowel system from both. As a general rule, Tocharian B reflects the Proto-Tocharian vowel system more faithfully than Tocharian A, which includes a number of changes not found in Tocharian B, e.

The following table describes a typical minimal reconstruction of Late Proto-Tocharian, which includes all vowels that are generally accepted by Tocharian scholars: [2].

The following table describes a "maximal" reconstruction of Proto-Tocharian, following Ringe : [33]. Other than palatalization effects, both vowels are reflected identically in both Tocharian A and B, and hence a number of researchers project the merger back to Proto-Tocharian. However, some umlaut processes are thought to have operated differently on the two vowels, and as a result Ringe as well as Adams [39] and some other scholars prefer to distinguish the two in Proto-Tocharian. In general, Ringe's Proto-Tocharian reconstruction reflects an earlier stage than the one described by many researchers.

Some scholars use a different notation from what is given above: e. Proto-Tocharian had phonemic stress, although its position varies depending on the researcher. For the most part, this stress does not reflect PIE stress. Rather, most bisyllabic words have initial stress, and trisyllabic and longer words usually have stress on the second syllable. A number of multisyllabic words in Tocharian B appear to indicate that more than one syllable was stressed; it is thought that these reflect clitics or affixes that still behaved phonologically as separate words in Proto-Tocharian. Ringe, [33] however, prefers to project the PIE stress unchanged into Proto-Tocharian, and assumes that the radically different system seen in Tocharian B evolved within the separate history of that language.

The outcomes of all other sequences are much less clear. As elsewhere, the main difficulty is that, relative to other Indo-European languages, Tocharian is sparsely attested and was subject to a particularly large number of analogical changes. A number of umlaut processes occurred in the Proto-Tocharian period, which tended to increase the number of rounded vowels. Vowel rounding also resulted from the influence of nearby labiovelars, although this occurred after the Proto-Tocharian period, with differing results in Tocharian A and B, generally with more rounding in Tocharian A e.

Note that most consonant sequences are tolerated word-initially, including unexpected cases like rt- , ys- and lks-. If necessary, impossible consonant sequences are rectified as in Tocharian A. The extant Tocharian languages appear to reflect essentially the same consonant system as in Proto-Tocharian, except in a couple of cases:. Palatalization was a very important process operating in Proto-Tocharian.

Palatalization appears to have operated very early, prior to almost all of the vowel changes that took place between PIE and Proto-Tocharian. Palatalization, or lack thereof, is the only way to distinguish PIE e and i in Tocharian, and the primary way of distinguishing certain other pairs of PIE vowels, e.

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A similar situation occurred in the history of Proto-Greek and Proto-Romance. Certain sound changes occurred prior to palatalization: [2]. The following chart shows the outcome of palatalization: [2]. Many occurrences of c and ts can be explained by the differing effects of a following y vs. Most researchers agree that some of the PIE dentals are reflected differently from others — contrary to the situation with all other PIE stops.

This in turn suggests that some sound changes must have operated on particular dentals, but not others, prior to the general loss of contrastive voicing and aspiration. There is a large amount of disagreement over what exactly the relevant sound changes were, due to the relatively small number of extant forms involved, the operation of analogy, and disagreement over particular etymologies, including both the PIE roots and ablaut forms involved. Ringe suggests the following changes, in approximate order: [33].

Even with this explanation, a lot of words don't have the expected outcomes and require appeal to analogy. Ringe needs to appeal to an analogical depalatalization, based on other forms of the verb with different ablaut patterns in which palatalization was not triggered. This assumption is reasonable, because a lot of other verbs also show analogical depalatalization; but nonetheless, it is rather slender evidence, and it is not surprising that other researchers have proposed different assumptions e.

Again, not all researchers accept this. Tocharian has completely re-worked the nominal declension system of Proto-Indo-European.


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In addition to these primary cases, however, each Tocharian language has six cases formed by the addition of an invariant suffix to the oblique case — although the set of six cases is not the same in each language, and the suffixes are largely non-cognate. This is thought to stem from the generalization of n -stem adjectives as an indication of determinative semantics, seen most prominently in the weak adjective declension in the Germanic languages where it cooccurs with definite articles and determiners , but also in Latin and Greek n -stem nouns especially proper names formed from adjectives, e.

In contrast, the verb verbal conjugation system is quite conservative. In addition, most PIE sets of endings are found in some form in Tocharian although with significant innovations , including thematic and athematic endings, primary non-past and secondary past endings, active and mediopassive endings, and perfect endings. Dual endings are still found, although they are rarely attested and generally restricted to the third person. The mediopassive still reflects the distinction between primary -r and secondary -i , effaced in most Indo-European languages.

Both root and suffix ablaut is still well-represented, although again with significant innovations.

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Tocharian verbs are conjugated in the following categories: [2]. A given verb belongs to one of a large number of classes, according to its conjugation. As in Sanskrit , Ancient Greek and to a lesser extent Latin , there are independent sets of classes in the indicative present, subjunctive, perfect, imperative, and to a limited extent optative and imperfect, and there is no general correspondence among the different sets of classes, meaning that each verb must be specified using a number of principal parts.

The most complex system is the present indicative, consisting of 12 classes, 8 thematic and 4 athematic, with distinct sets of thematic and athematic endings. The following classes occur in Tocharian B some are missing in Tocharian A :. The subjunctive likewise has 12 classes, denoted i through xii. Most are conjugated identically to the corresponding indicative classes; indicative and subjunctive are distinguished by the fact that a verb in a given indicative class will usually belong to a different subjunctive class.

In addition, four subjunctive classes differ from the corresponding indicative classes, two "special subjunctive" classes with differing suffixes and two "varying subjunctive" classes with root ablaut reflecting the PIE perfect.

Catalog Record: Vocabulary to the Tocharian Puṇyavantajātaka | HathiTrust Digital Library

All except preterite class VI have a common set of endings that stem from the PIE perfect endings, although with significant innovations. The imperative likewise shows 6 classes, with a unique set of endings, found only in the second person, and a prefix beginning with p-. The prefix is often compared with the Slavic perfective prefix po- , although the phonology is difficult to explain.

Classes i through v tend to co-occur with preterite classes I through V, although there are many exceptions. Class vi is not so much a coherent class as an "irregular" class with all verbs not fitting in other categories.


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The imperative classes tend to share the same suffix as the corresponding preterite if any , but to have root vocalism that matches the vocalism of a verb's subjunctive. This includes the root ablaut of subjunctive classes i and v, which tend to co-occur with imperative class i. The optative and imperfect have related formations. The optative is generally built by adding i onto the subjunctive stem. The endings differ between the two languages: Tocharian A uses present endings for the optative and preterite endings for the imperfect, while Tocharian B uses the same endings for both, which are a combination of preterite and unique endings the latter used in the singular active.

As suggested by the above discussion, there are a large number of sets of endings. The present-tense endings come in both thematic and athematic variants, although they are related, with the thematic endings generally reflecting a theme vowel PIE e or o plus the athematic endings. One of them was -i , which was probably dialectal within the Proto-Indo-European community and then became regular in Celtic and Italic languages Latin lupus "a wolf", lupi "of a wolf".

Genitive plural carried regularly the - n ending preceded by different formants. Dative nouns answer the question to whom? Modern English does not know dative, but it is common for German, Russian, Latvian and Scottish Gaelic, and existed in all ancient Indo-European languages as well. Nouns in dative denoted the direction of action "give to smb " , and similar meanings. Dative inflection almost always ended in a vowel or a diphthong in singular Greek agroi , Latin agri , and was associated with -m- and -bh- according to different theories in plural.

Accusative case is believed to have been one of the earliest in Proto-Indo-European. Together with nominative, it turned the language from ergative stage to the next, nominative one. Accusative marks the direct object in the sentence, like English "I saw my friend ", "he ate dinner ". The very term "accusative" means it is used to "accuse someone ". Proto-Indo-European constantly represents the -m ending as a mark for the accusative case in singular number like Latin agrum , and plural could have -ns ending which was subject to various changes practically in all languages.

Then instrumental case, which as you can guess meant the instrument of action. The mark for instrumental in Proto-Indo-European, as many scientists believe, included the combination -mi- , in both singular and plural, though this was not the general rule. Many late Indo-European languages lost instrumental, it sometimes was unified with dative, genitive or changed by a prepositional combination. Old English had some relics of instrumental in pronominal declension, and the word why is simply the instrumental case of the pronoun what.

Ablative case was used to distinguish the action which goes from something. Typical questions of ablative are from whom? Many linguists think this case was the latest to appear in Proto-Indo-European, it was not stable at all, and soon became assimilated by other cases in various Indo-European groups.

The Ancient Greek language associated ablative with dative, Common Slavic - with genitive. The most probable common ending for ablative is -d stuck to the final vowel of the stem. Locative case denoted the place of action. But in fact locative was also auxiliary, not so important as nominative or genitive, and many later languages, descendants of Proto-Indo-European, did not use locative, replacing it usually with dative. Ancient Latin texts sometimes show some archaic locative forms in -i , Slavic and Baltic languages still use it, but Common Germanic and Common Celtic were already getting rid of it.

It looks as if the Proto-language had -i ending for locative singular and -su or something like that in plural. And finally the vocative case, which is sometimes called "vocative form", as some people do not admit it is a real case. Vocative case was used for addressing people and had only singular number. It, probably, did not have any endings and was formed by the original noun stem without any inflections. Later vocative coincided with nominative practically everywhere in the Indo-European family.

This eight-case system was highly synthetic, as the Proto-Indo-European language itself, and this kind of structure meant the highest form of inflectional development of the language. The paradigm of a noun i. Development of the case system in ancient and modern Indo-European languages.

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The evolution of the Indo-European original noun system can be divided into three parallel processes, some which took place in every Indo-European group. The first is dropping old cases which has been rather wide and still goes on in many languages. Many Iranian languages, for instance, dropped six of original eight cases, and replaced them with prepositional constructions. So did English, which was so ruthless even not to leave a single trace of many noun cases in itself.

Practically all Germanic languages were fond of dropping cases and taking up prepositions instead remember that in Proto-Indo-European there was no prepositions at all. The second process is coinciding cases. Two or three noun cases could unify their endings and functions in one. Ancient Greek used dative instead of dative, instrumental and locative.

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Latin unified locative and dative. That became possible, because languages no longer felt necessity of using so many inflections, which surely made the language much more difficult. Peoples who were conquered and had to learn an alien language did not wish to remember all endings, so they unified them: that happened to Popular Latin on Gaulish, Balkan, Hispanic lands, where all cases quickly were gathered into three or two, so modern Romance languages do not have a single example of ablative or instrumental.

From the other side, those peoples which continue to use their own language without any expansions and without constant contacts with other tongues, kept their one natural - such languages are for example Baltic and East Slavic. And South Slavic tribes, mixing with plenty of different nations, lost all cases Bulgarian and Macedonian. The third process is acquiring new cases. As for me, I thought it is impossible, and I was shocked to hear that Tocharian used to have nine or even ten noun cases. But it is possible, and can be explained by different reasons - the development of the language itself, or influence of neighbouring tongues.

Each group within the Indo-European family has got its peculiarities in case system. Celtic languages provide quite a number of them. It seems that Common Celtic used up to five cases, those lost were ablative coincided with genitive , instrumental and locative coincided with dative. Gaulish and Celtiberian, two of the so-called "continental" Celtic languages, produced inflection in these five cases with abnormal Celto-Italic -i for genitive singular Gaulish personal name Segomari , so did Old Irish in its most archaic forms Ogamic inscription maqi "of a son".

Later Celtic languages in continental Europe became extinct, and insular ones were subject to sharp changes in morphology, phonetics and syntax. The inflection of nouns was removed from the end of the word and placed in thw middle of it, becoming infixed. So, Archaic Irish maqi became mic , the word fer a man in Old Irish was declined the following way:.

Modern Irish Gaelic language has got only two cases three in Ulster dialect, dative included , nominative and genitive, the vocative being a special form with particle a. Scottish Gaelic still keeps relics of declension and the dative case. Manx is about to drop all distinction between noun cases. Welsh also uses the plural form of the noun with vowel interchange in the stem, but this form is gradually becoming extinct due to fast analytisation of the language. Germanic languages are even more analytic than Celtic, and this trend is going on constantly.

In most of the languages the category of noun case is represented by only two of them - common and possessive, former genitive English, Swedish , Danish , Norwegian , Dutch , Frisian. The four-case system, which existed in Common Germanic, was preserved only in German , Icelandic , Faroese , and Afrikaans formally even lacks noun cases at all, though in declension of pronouns it still shows two of them. Relations between cases are expressed frequently by word order and constructions with prepositions.

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This situation began to develop quickly in Middle Ages, and ancient Germanic tongues used cases without any limitations. Old English, for example, used all four Common Germanic cases for nouns nom. Here is the typical Old English declension of a masculine noun:. Demonstrative pronouns, in addition, had even five cases in singular, though the fifth, instrumental, was probably an innovation. Middle English had three cases, but they were already going closer to each other until they finally became two which still exist in Modern English, though some limitations of usage of possessive case allow us to think that some day English will become, back like the earliest Proto-Indo-European, a language without any declension.

Baltic languages are maybe the most archaic of the existing Indo-European groups. Seven Lithuanian cases continue to be widely used and do not show any signs of disappearing. Common Baltic used these seven eight Indo-European minus ablative which coincided with genitive , but its branches were developing in different ways. Old Prussian , for instance, was much more analytic than other Baltic tongues, it lost vocative and locative and left only four cases. Besides, Old Prussian texts show clear tendency to uniting cases into one "common" case which did not appear just because in the 17th century Old Prussian became extinct.

Sudovian , other West Baltic language, normally used five cases including vocative , but some noun classes - like masculine o -stems - added locative, although it seems to have been very vulnerable.

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