Multilingualism and History of Knowledge, Vol. 2: Linguistic Developments Along the Silkroad
After decades of relative neglect, the Tocharian languages are assuming an increasingly prominent role in Indo-European studies. The enormous progress in Tocharian historical phonology and morphology since the 1960s has called into question the longstanding perception of this branch as an aberrant offshoot, of little importance for the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European. Recent studies, particularly of the verb but also of the noun, phonology, and lexicon, have uncovered a number of probable archaisms, reflecting an older state of affairs than that reconstructible on the basis of the classical Indo-European languages alone. New progress in Tocharian paleography has also led to a greatly improved understanding of the evolution of Tocharian B, and the stages of the language represented in our surviving documents. The present volume arose from a series of lectures delivered in 2009 on the theme of “Indo-European Languages and Cultures on the Silk Road” at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, together with contributions from other leading names in Tocharian linguistics. The papers included here treat problems of Tocharian grammar which are of direct relevance for the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European, and for determining the place of Tocharian among the Indo-European languages. They demonstrate the importance of Tocharian for some of the most intensely discussed problems of contemporary Indo-European linguistics, such as the prehistory of the collective and feminine, nominal derivation and ablaut, or the reconstruction of the verbal system.
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