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Tocharian Online

Lesson 7

Todd B. Krause and Jonathan Slocum

Early Buddhism

Basic Tenets

Buddhism proposes a theory of salvation. (Conze 1993) The need for such salvation arises from a sober account of the world in which we find ourselves, in which any accomplishment or personal gain must of necessity be temporary. This idea, coupled with the notion of rebirth --- in which we must start the same process of pointless aspiration and fleeting gain all over again --- leads to a necessarily gloomy perspective on the process of life. A notion of salvation, a way to break out of this despairing cycle, therefore comes as a welcome alternative. The Buddha's teachings outline not only this sober account of reality, but a straightforward process by which to emerge from its confines.

The first link in the chain of salvation is the realization that this world view comes not from any inherent reality, but rather from the human manner of constructing the mental representation of the universe. Reality as perceived consists of a sequence of moments, dʰarmas (a sense unrelated to that of "law"). Beyond that, Buddha's teachings presuppose no more fundamental reality. The dissatisfaction we endure arises from mental constructs, often termed 'cravings' or 'desires'. The Buddha outlines the Four Noble Truths:

  • the truth of misery;
  • the truth that misery originates within the individual through the desire for pleasure or being or nonbeing;
  • the truth that this desire can be eliminated;
  • the truth that this elimination occurs by following a methodical Way or Path.

The particular way in which cravings arise and lead to dissatisfaction or misery is envisaged as a chain of existence. The Buddha's law of dependent origination asserts that every mode of existence supposes a prior mode of existence. This creates a chain, which the Buddha describes as composed of 12 links:

  • ignorance;
  • karmic predispositions;
  • consciousness;
  • form and body;
  • the five sense organs and the mind;
  • contact;
  • feeling-response;
  • craving;
  • grasping for an object;
  • action toward life;
  • birth;
  • old age and death.

Through this chain we account for the rise of misery.

In order to break the mental shackles which confine us, therefore, Buddhist doctrine proceeds to a discussion of the manner in which we have built up our particular construction or perception of the universe. By understanding this construction, we may then disassemble it piece by piece, thereby attaining freedom from this confining despair. Meditation largely codifies this process of disassembly. The purpose of meditation is threefold (Conze 1993):

  • to withdraw the sense from the external stimuli which one uses to define oneself;
  • to shift attention from the sensory world to a subtler realm as a manner of calming the mind;
  • to attain perception of reality beyond the senses and the pervasive emptiness which remains.

Buddhist doctrine does not subscribe to a necessary notion of self; specifically it distinguishes no enduring soul. There is a self in a pragmatic and moral sense, as the subject of action. But the objects with which people identify themselves (wealth, status, body, etc.) are impermanent, so the self cannot be permanent. Human existence is the composite of the Five Aggregates (Skt. skandʰas):

  • physical form (Skt. rūpa);
  • sensation (Skt. vedanā);
  • conception (Skt. saṃjñā);
  • mental disposition (Skt. saṃskāras);
  • consciousness (Skt. vijñāna).

A person is in a state of continual change, with no enduring self. This recognition of the lack of a self which persists leads to a natural question when confronted with the doctrine of saṃsāra 'rebirth': if there is no enduring self, what persists to be reborn? The Buddha draws the analogy with a flame, which at every moment changes form, while still remaining the same flame.

The individual's psychophysical being must evolve in order for escape from saṃsāra to be possible; if not, the individual would remain in continual transitory existence like the flame. To escape the cycle of rebirth, knowledge of its existence is insufficient. One must also pass through a process of purification by attaining karmic merit. The Buddha describes such meritorious action in the Eightfold Way:

  • right views;
  • right aspirations;
  • right speech;
  • right conduct;
  • right livelihood;
  • right effort;
  • right mindfulness;
  • right meditational attainment.

Salvation consists in shedding the delusion of the ego and thereby the cycle of rebirth. This extinction is what is meant by the term Skt. nirvāṇa 'dying out' (as of a flame).

Social Structure

In India at the time of the Buddha, religious mendicants commonly wandered the countryside, either espousing their own particular worldview or searching for a teacher (Skt. guru) to provide spiritual guidance. During the rainy season these mendicants generally suspended their wanderings and retired to various retreats near villages. The Buddha followed in general the same practice along with his disciples. But evidently after the Buddha's death, his followers tended to build their own separate huts and gather at the new and full moons to recite the prātimokṣa, affirming their commitment to monastic discipline.

This persistent gathering of the Buddha's followers ultimately provided the nucleus for the saṃgʰa, the 'congregation' of monks in the Buddhist tradition. The congregation contained two basic types of monks:

  • Wandering monks: certain of the Buddhist monks maintained their wandering ways and continued to venture into the countryside. These wanderings proved important for the further spread of the doctrine to such places as Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.
  • Sedentary monks: the lay people typically offered monks the necessities of life in the effort to gain merit (good karma). Eventually such donations came to include tracts of land where the monks could maintain a more permanent residence (vihara). From here the monks could in turn tend to the spiritual guidance of the nearby population.

The saṃgʰa laid the groundwork for the systematic preservation and spread of the Buddhist doctrine.

Ultimately however the sponsorship of king Aśoka brought to Buddhism a more universal appeal and sturdy support. Buddhist monasteries increased in size and number, and formed a launching point for missionaries to other regions, as well as centers of learning for spiritual leaders from faraway lands. In fact Aśoka's reign (274--236 BCE) provides the only certain date in the early history of Buddhism. Traditional accounts state that the death of the Buddha occurred 100 years before A'soka, but modern scholarship generally pushes that date even earlier. Whatever the gap of time between Aśoka and the Buddha, Aśoka's promotion of Buddhist doctrine converted what had been to then a religious sect into a full-fledged Indian religion which extended its reach to all corners of the subcontinent and beyond.

The original organization of the saṃgʰa was democratic. The immediate and practical cause for this was the fact that the Buddha himself designated no leader for the group of disciples upon his passing. It was incumbent upon each disciple to follow the path as laid out by the Buddha, and no disciple had particular authority over the rest. Adding to the philosophical impetus for the lack of designating a successor was a general cultural affinity for democratic governing in that particular region.

The lack of a central religious authority contributed to the early division of the religion into a number of sects (generally thought to be eighteen). Typically each sect had its own canon. Most were either unwritten, or the written documents were lost after the general collapse of Buddhism in India around 1200 CE. The canons which do survive generally have done so either through a stroke of luck or through their preservation in a Buddhist tradition outside of the Indian subcontinent. We may attempt to understand earlier forms of the Buddhist canon by comparing the remnants in the various surviving traditions: ff we compare the same text in two different traditions, or languages, where they agree word for word we may be assured that this particular part of the canon derives from an era antedating the division of those two sects. We do not at present, however, have the capacity to arrive at what would have been the original statements of the Buddha himself; we cannot even be sure in what language they would have been uttered.

The standards which the saṃgʰa serves to uphold form the pillar of Buddhist doctrine known as vinaya, literally 'that which leads', but in context 'monastic discipline': this body of knowledge outlines the rules to which the monks must adhere and the punishments for infractions. Buddhist teaching divided into two main classes, dʰarma 'law' and vinaya 'monastic discipline'. The former became the subject of constant efforts of interpretation and re-interpretation, and for this maintains a somewhat shifting character across time and across sects. Vinaya, by contrast, shows little variation over the course of time. The prātimokṣa forms the heart of the vinaya, containing around 250 rules. The prātimokṣa shows far less variation across sects than other principal Buddhist texts. The major categories are as follows. (Conze 1993) First we find the 4 gravest sins leading to expulsion from the monastic order:

  • sexual intercourse;
  • theft;
  • murder;
  • exaggeration of one's miraculous powers.

There follow 13 offenses leading to suspension:

  • 5 concerning sexual misconduct;
  • 2 concerning the construction of huts;
  • 6 concerning dissensions within the monastic order.

We then encounter 2 sexual offenses "punishable according to the circumstances", followed by 30 offenses which "involve forfeiture" of the right to share in garments of the monastic order and which could have a negative impact on the offender's rebirth:

  • handling of gold or silver;
  • involvement in trading activities;
  • personal appropriation of goods destined for community use.

A list of 90 offenses which lead to an unfavorable rebirth includes

  • lying;
  • slandering;
  • "teach[ing] the scriptures word by word to an unordained person";
  • telling the laity of offenses committed by monks.

The remaining offenses include destroying vegetation, drinking alcohol, having a chair or bed with legs higher than 8 inches, followed by 4 offenses requiring confession, 13 rules of decorum, and 7 rules for settling disputes.

Rules are to be recited every two weeks, with a pause following each to allow for individual monks to confess infractions. The Skandʰaka provides the foundation for monastic administration, treating admission into the order, the timing of recitations, etc. Issues were discussed before a general assembly of monks. Any solution was read thrice; silence denoted assent, while further discussion prompted further arbitration, either by a special group chosen from among the monks or by elders of another monastery. Over the course of time, however, a monastic hierarchy developed. The abbot headed administrative affairs and had final say in the goings-on of the monastery.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The following excerpt continues the Tocharian B text B107 (THT 107) from the previous lesson.

5 - -- ṣaḍap-ṣalywe-malkwerne

ājivike upage tane tam-meṃ ynemane śem cau-k yke-ne.
       

  • ṣaḍap-ṣalywe-malkwerne -- noun; locative singular <ṣaḍap-ṣalywe-malkwer> (name of a meter of 4 by 18 syllables) -- in sadap-salywe-malkwer-meter
  • ājivike -- noun; masculine nominative singular <ājivike> a Jainist religious mendicant -- The mendicant
  • upage -- noun; masculine nominative singular <upage> Upaga, a proper name -- Upaga
  • tane -- adverb; <tane, tne> here, there -- ...
  • tam-meṃ -- demonstrative pronoun; neuter ablative singular <sam(p), som(p), tam(p)> that (one) -- from there
  • ynemane -- verb present participle mediopassive; masculine nominative singular <i-> go, travel -- going
  • śem -- verb preterite VI; 3 singular active <käm-> come -- came
  • cau-k -- demonstrative adjective; masculine oblique singular <su, sāu, tu> the; he, she, it + particle; <k(ä)> (emphasizing particle) -- that
  • yke-ne -- noun; alternating locative singular <īke> place, location; position -- to... place

6 - päksemane oṅkorñai lyāka tāka āktike lau mā ṣ masa.
       

  • päksemane -- present participle mediopassive; masculine nominative singular <päk-> (medp.) become ready for eating, cook, boil, ripen (intrans.); (act.) make ready for eating, cook, boil, ripen (trans.) -- (While) cooking
  • oṅkorñai -- noun; feminine oblique singular <oṅkarño, oṅkorño> porridge, rice gruel -- the porridge
  • lyāka -- verb preterite I; 3 singular active <läk-> see, look at, catch sight of; visit -- he looked at
  • tāka -- verb preterite I; 3 singular active <nes-> be, exist; (as auxiliary with past ptcple) have -- (and) was
  • āktike -- adjective; indeclinable <āketke, āktike> wonderful; (subst.) wonder, wonderful thing -- astonished
  • lau -- adverb; <lau> (with verbs of rest) afar; (with verbs of motion) far; very -- at all
  • -- particle; <> (simple negation and prohibition) not, no; (quasi-prefix) un- -- not
  • -- enclitic conjunction; <ṣpä> and (conjoins both clauses and words) -- and
  • masa -- preterite I /III; 3 sg act <i-> go, travel -- did... move

7 - palska toyna ṣotruna śāstär-mpa ṣe rāmate istak śarsa :
       

  • palska -- preterite I; 3 singular active <pälsk-> think about, consider -- He considered
  • toyna -- demonstrative adjective; feminine oblique plural <seṃ, sāṃ, teṃ> this (one) -- these
  • ṣotruna -- noun; neuter oblique plural of <ṣotri> sign, mark, (manifestation of) action -- signs
  • śāstär-mpa -- noun; neuter commitative singular <śāstär> (sacred) book, shastra -- with the shastra
  • ṣe -- adverb; <ṣe, sana> (numeral adj.) one; same; some; (preposition/adverb) together -- ...
  • rāmate -- verb preterite I; 3 singular mediopassive <rām-> compare -- (and) compared
  • istak -- adverb; <istak> suddenly -- (and) suddenly
  • śarsa -- verb preterite I; 3 singular active <kärs-> know, understand, recognize -- he understood

8 - se tā śuwaṃ oṅkorñai snai olyapo aiśamñe su yinmāṣṣäṃ.

  • se -- demonstrative pronoun; masculine nominative singular <se, sā, te> this -- He who
  • -- demonstrative pronoun; feminine oblique singular <se, sā, te> this -- this
  • śuwaṃ -- verb present V; 3 singular active <śu-> eat (at); consume, devour -- eats
  • oṅkorñai -- noun; feminine oblique singular <oṅkarño, oṅkorño> porridge, rice gruel -- porridge
  • snai -- preposition; <snai> without -- without
  • olyapo -- adverb; <olyapo> (adv.) more; (conj.) rather (than) -- equal
  • aiśamñe -- noun; neuter oblique singular <aiśamñe> wisdom -- wisdom
  • su -- demonstrative pronoun; masculine nominative singular <su, sāu, tu> the; he, she, it -- ...
  • yinmāṣṣäṃ -- verb present X; 3 singular active <yäm-> achieve, obtain; reach -- will obtain # Note vocalism in first syllable: -ä- replaced by -i- in palatal context

Lesson Text

5 -- ṣaḍap-ṣalywe-malkwerne

ājivike upage tane tam-meṃ ynemane śem cau-k yke-ne.
       
6 päksemane oṅkorñai lyāka tāka āktike lau mā ṣ masa.
       
7 palska toyna ṣotruna śāstär-mpa ṣe rāmate istak śarsa :
       
8 se tā śuwaṃ oṅkorñai snai olyapo aiśamñe su yinmāṣṣäṃ.

Translation

5 -- in sadap-salywe-malkwer-meter:

The mendicant Upaga going from there came to that place.
6 (While) cooking he looked at the porridge (and) was astonished and did not move at all.
7 He considered (and) compared these signs with the shastra, (and) suddenly he understood:
8 He who eats this porridge without equal will obtain wisdom.

Grammar

31. Demonstrative Pronouns & Adjectives

The Tocharian languages display a wide range of demonstrative pronouns and adjectives. In general, all demonstratives display three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. The neuter gender, however, occurs only with pronominal use. That is, when a demonstrative functions as an adjective, it takes either the masculine or feminine gender in agreement with the noun it modifies. For example, a noun which is historically neuter in PIE --- and hence of alternating gender in Tocharian --- takes a masculine demonstrative adjective in the singular, feminine in the plural. This restriction of the (synchronic) neuter gender solely to pronominal use parallels the use of lo in Spanish.

Generally speaking the neuter forms of the demonstrative begin with t-, while the masculine and feminine forms show the dental sibilant s-; Tocharian shares this distinction with the major branches of Indo-European, e.g. Greek, Indo-Iranian, Italic, but with the notable exception of Anatolian. Outside of the nominative singular, however, the feminine shows a stem beginning with t-; the masculine stem shows c-, perhaps palatalization of a prior *t-.

The morphology of Tocharian demonstratives shows a somewhat agglutinative structure. In particular, in Tocharian A we find the genitive formed by appending -i to the form of the oblique. For example: singular Obl. A cam, Gen. A cami; plural Obl. A cesäm, Gen. A cesmi. This final -i may have its origin in PIE datives such as that found in Skt. tasmai, which may account for the use of the genitive case in a dative sense among pronouns in Tocharian. (See Section 17.4.1, Lesson 4.) We also find the importation of nominal endings, such as Gen. A tmis < *täm-is and B tuntse < *tu-ntse.

The following table displays the paradigms of the anaphoric deictics: A säm, sām, täm B su, sāu, tu 'the; he, she, it'. Tocharian employs these pronouns as adjectives to modify a noun already introduced in the narrative (as English the). When employed as pronouns, they serve the role of the English third person pronouns he, she, it, or in the plural they.

Anaphoric   A Masc.   A Fem.   A Neut.           B Masc.   B Fem.   B Neut.
                                 
N Sg.   säm   sām   täm           su   u   tu
G   cami   temi   tmis           cwi, cpi   tāy   tuntse
Obl.   cam   tām   täm           ceu, cau   u   tu
                                 
N Pl.   cem   tom               cey, cai   toṃ    
G   cesmi   tomāśśi               ceṃts   toṃts    
Obl.   cesäm   tosäm               ceṃ   toṃ    

The next table illustrates the paradigms of the proximal deictics: A säs, sās, täṣ B se, sā, te 'this'. The proximal deictics refer to something close by from the point of view of the speaker, as English this. This certainly may refer to physical proximity: given the phrases this book and that book, the deictic this in English points to the object closer to the speaker. The proximal deictic may also refer to something closer in a narrative sense: given an English sequence the former... the latter, the proximal deictic plays the role of English the latter, i.e. it points to something closer or more recent in the speaker's narrative.

Proximal   A Masc.   A Fem.   A Neut.           B Masc.   B Fem.   B Neut.
                                 
N Sg.   säs   sās   täṣ           se     te
G   caṣi                   cwi, cpi   tāy   tentse
Obl.   caṣ   tāṣ   täṣ           ce     te
                                 
N Pl.   ceṣ   toṣ               cey, cai   toy    
G   cessi                   ceṃts        
Obl.   cesäs   tosäs               ceṃ   toy    

Note in the above that the Tocharian A proximal deictic displays a morphological palatalization of the final -ṣ. That is, the final sibilant undergoes palatalization everywhere outside of the masculine and feminine nominative singular. For example, masculine singular Nom. s, but Obl. ca; feminine singular Nom. s, but Obl. .

Tocharian B also possesses another proximal deictic: B seṃ, sāṃ, teṃ 'this (one)'. Tocharian B employs this deictic as a pronoun only. The following table illustrates the paradigm.

Proximal   B Masc.   B Fem.   B Neut.
             
N Sg.   seṃ   sāṃ   teṃ
G   cwi, cpi   tāy   tentse
Obl.   ceṃ   tāṃ   teṃ
             
N Pl.   cey, cai   to(y)na    
G   ceynaṃts, cainaṃts   to(y)naṃts    
Obl.   ceyna   to(y)na    

The last table provides the paradigm for the distal deictics: A saṃ, sāṃ, taṃ B samp, somp, tamp 'that'. These deictics complement the proximals, referring now to an object more distant from the speaker, as English that. In a narrative sequence the former... the latter, the distal deictic plays the role of English the former, referring to the more distant or older element of the narrative.

Distal   A Masc.   A Fem.   A Neut.           B Masc.   B Fem.   B Neut.
                                 
N Sg.   saṃ   sāṃ   taṃ           samp   somp   tamp
G   cani       tanis           cwimp        
Obl.   caṃ   tāṃ   taṃ           comp   tomp   tamp
                                 
N Pl.   ceṃ                   ceymp, caimp   toymp    
G   cesni                   cempaṃts        
Obl.   cesäṃ   tosäṃ                   toymp    

We may attempt to reconstruct the evolution, for example, of the proximal deictic as follows (Pinault 2008).

    PIE   PToch   PToch   A   B
Masculine                    
N Sg.   *só   *sæ       sa-   se
Acc.   *tó-m   *tæ   *cæ   ca-   ce
                     
N Pl.   *tóy   *tæy   *cæy   ce-   cai
Acc.   *tó-ns   *tæns   *cæns   *cays > ces   ceṃ
                     
Feminine                    
N Sg.   *séH₂ > *sa(H₂)   *sā       sā-  
Acc.   *téH₂-m   *tå   *tā   tā-  
                     
N Pl.   *téH₂-es   *tå       to-   to-
Acc.   *téH₂-ns   *tå       to-   to-

We find two major features in the historical evolution of the pronoun. Firstly, we note the palatalization in the weak cases of the masculine. This likely derives from an effort to distinguish between masculine and neuter forms: e.g. the neuter nominative and accusative singular would be PIE *tó-d > *tæ > A ta- B te. We find the model for such morphological palatalization in adjectival paradigms, e.g. masculine singular nominative B -tstse, but accusative (oblique) B -cce (cf. Section 13.2, Lesson 3). Secondly we note in the feminine accusative the replacement of *tå with *tā. The final vowel is likely adopted from the feminine nominative singular *sā. As regards the motivation of such a switch, we note that this avoids confusion with the neuter plural PIE *té-H₂ > *tå; moreover, this engenders a dichotomy between singular theme vowel ā and plural theme vowel o.

32. Noun Classes I, II, and III

Noun classes I, II, and III all represent nouns with plurals derived from an original PIE neuter plural *-H₂ > *-a > PToch *-ā. Class I collects nouns whose plural reflects a zero- or *u-suffix before the declensional ending, while classes II and III collect *n- and *nt-stem nouns, respectively. Each class contains further subdivisions based on the particular reflexes encountered. The following chart displays the endings characterizing the subdivision.

Class   Subclass   A Pl.   B Pl.
             
I   1     -a
    2   -u, -wā   -wa
             
II   1   -ṃ   -na
    2   -mnā-   -nma
             
III   1   -nt   -nta
    2   -ntu    

For a discussion of the historical origins of these endings, see Section 27.1 in Lesson 6. In addition to historical neuter (Tocharian alternating gender) nouns, these classes also contain a number of feminine nouns. The nouns A pukäl (pukul) B pikul fem. 'year', A waṣt B ost alt. 'house' illustrate the declension of class I.

    A I.1   B I.1   A I.2   B I.2
                 
N Sg.   pukäl (pukul)   pikul   waṣt   ost
G   puklis   pikulntse   waṣtis   ostantse
Obl.   pukäl (pukul)   pikul   waṣt   ost
Instr.   *pukulyo   --   waṣtyo   --
Perl.   puklā   pikultsa   waṣtā   ossa
                 
Adj.   *pukulṣi   pikulṣe   waṣtaṣi   ostaṣṣe
                 
N Pl.   puklā   pikwala   waṣtu   ostwa
G   puklākis (puklāśśi)   pikwalaṃts   waṣtwis   ostwaṃts
Obl.   puklā   pikwala   waṣtu   ostwa
Instr.   puklāyo   --   waṣtuyo   --
Perl.   puklākā   pikwalasa   waṣtwā   ostwasa
                 
Adj.   puklāṣi   pikwalaṣṣe   waṣtwāsi   ostwaṣṣe

The nouns A wram alt. 'thing', B ñem alt. 'name', B aśiya fem. 'nun' illustrate the declension of class II. Note with feminine beings the suffix -na generally attaches to the stem-final -a-.

    A II   B II   B II
             
N Sg.   wram   ñem   aśiya
G   wramis   ñemantse   aśiyantse
Obl.   wram   ñem   aśiyai
Instr.   wramyo   --   --
Perl.   wramā   ñemtsa   aśiyaisa
             
Adj.   wramṣi   ñemaṣṣe    
             
N Pl.   wramäṃ   ñemna   aśiyana
G   wramnis (wramnāśśi)   ne'mnaṃts   aśiyanaṃts
Obl.   wramäṃ   ñemna   aśiyana
Instr.   wramänyo   --   --
Perl.   wramnā   ñemnasa   aśiyanasa
             
Adj.   wramäṃṣi   ñemnaṣṣe    

The nouns A yärk B yarke alt. 'veneration', A oko alt. 'fruit' illustrate the declension of class III.

    A III.1   B III.1   A III.2
             
N Sg.   yärk   yarke   oko
G   yärkes   yärkentse   okoyis
Obl.   yärk   yarke   oko
Instr.   yärkyo   --   okoyo
Perl.   yärkā   yarkesa   okoyā
             
Adj.   yärkaṣi   yärkeṣṣe   okoṣi
             
N Pl.   yärkant   yärkenta   okontu
G   yärkäntwis   yärkentaṃts   okontwis
Obl.   yärkant   yärkenta   okontu
Instr.   yärkantyo   --   okontuyo
Perl.   yärkäntwā   yärkentasa   okontwā
             
Adj.   yärkäntwāṣi   yärkentaṣṣe   okontwāṣi
33. Gerundive

The Tocharian gerundive plays a role similar to the formation of the same name in Latin and Greek. The gerundive denotes an adjective formed productively from a verbal stem. For example, in Latin the verb dēlēre 'destroy, wipe out' provides the stem for the gerundive found in Cato's famous refrain Cartʰāgo dēlenda est --- literally 'Carthage is to-be-destroyed', but in sense 'Carthage must be destroyed'. That is, the Latin gerundive is a verbal adjective conveying a sense of necessity; similarly with the Greek gerundives in -téos: e.g., lutéos estí 'he is to-be-loosed,' 'he must be loosed.'

The Tocharian construction derives ultimately from an *l-participle such as that found in past tense formations in Russian. The following chart illustrates the declension.

Gerundive   A Masc.   A Fem.           B Masc.   B Fem.
                         
N Sg.   -l   -lyi           -lye, -lle   -lya
G   -lyāp               -lyepi    
Obl.   -läṃ   -lyāṃ           -lye, -lle   -lyai
V                   -lyu (subst. -lya)    
                         
N Pl.   -lye   -laṃ           -lyi   -llona, -lyana
G                        
Obl.   -lyes   -laṃ           -lyeṃ   -llona, -lyana

The new twist which Tocharian adds to the gerundive concerns the verbal stem. In particular, whereas in Greek and Latin the gerundive suffix (Gk. -téos, Lat. -ndus) attaches exclusively to the present stem of the verb, the Tocharian gerundive may be formed to either the present or subjunctive stem. The difference in stem betrays a difference in sense between the two gerundive formations. Tocharian may employ either type of gerundive in either attributive or predicate constructions, and likewise as substantive.

  • Present Stem, the so-called Gerundive I: denotes necessity in positive sentences and prohibition in negative sentences, akin to the Latin and Greek gerundives. Consider the following examples. Attributive: A yaläṃ wramm ats skam yāmiṣ mā yaläṃ wram mar yāmiṣ 'One should always do the thing to be done, one should not do the thing not to be done', from A yām- 'do', present stem ya-; B kärsanälyeṃ wäntarwane 'in things which one must know', from B kärs- 'know', present stem kärsana-. Predicate: A mänt yäl ñi 'how is it to be done by me?', from A yām- 'do', present stem ya-; B kuse wesäñ tanneṃ yamaṣälle 'what is thereby to be done by us?', from B yām- 'do', present stem yāmäsk-. Substantive: A ākälṣäl B akalṣälle 'student', literally '(the one) to be taught', from AB ākl- 'learn, (caus.) teach'; B prekṣallene wayāre-ne 'they led him to the questioning', from B prek- 'ask', present stem prekṣ-.
  • Subjunctive Stem, the so-called Gerundive II: denotes possibility. Consider the following examples. Attributive: A mākis käkālyāṃ kuleyac 'to a woman accessible to many', literally 'to a woman able-to-be-gone-to for many', from A i- 'go,' subjunctive stem kälk-; B ma wär tärkalye ikene 'in a place impermeable to water', literally 'in a place unable to be passed through by water', from B tärk- 'release', subjunctive stem tärk-. Predicate: A wsālu yetweyntu waṣlaṃ ṣeñc-äm 'robes and jewelry are able to be worn by them', from AB wäs- 'clothe', subjunctive stem waṣ-; B säk śle läkle akālk postäṃ ... mā källalle 'luck, as with suffering, (is) not able to be attained after a wish', from B kälp- 'attain', subjunctive stem källā-. Substantive: A wināsam-ci ynāñm yāmläṃ 'I praise you, worthy treasure', literally 'I praise you, (you thing) able to be worthily made', from AB yām- 'make', subjunctive stem yām-; B mäksu no ṣamāne ... aletsai aśiyaimeṃ ṣañ ṣarsa trāskalye tsāltalye eñcīträ 'whichever monk takes from a nun with his own hand hard (and) soft (food)...', literally '... takes (the thing) able to be chewed (and) able to be chewed...', from B tresk- 'chew' and B tsālt- 'chew', subjunctive stems trāskā- and tsāltā- respectively.

Note the use of the genitive to denote the agent of actions described by gerundives, e.g. A mänt yäl ñi 'how is it to be done by me?' and B kuse wesäñ tanneṃ yamaṣälle 'what is thereby to be done by us?' As the Tocharian genitive forms of the pronoun likely derive from an original PIE dative, this usage apparently parallels that encountered in Greek and Latin: e.g. Gk. Ōpʰelētéa soi hē pólis estí (Lat. Urbs tibi adiuvanda est) 'You must serve the city.'

Tocharian further extends the gerundive to a verbal abstract, often simply termed the abstract, by means of the suffix A -une B -(äñ)ñe. Tocharian attaches the suffix to both the gerundives I and II, leading to abstracts I and II, but with little distinction in meaning. For example, A kälpnālnyac (for kälpnāluneyac, allative) (I) vs. kälpālune (II), both 'attainment', from AB kälp- 'attain'; B tsrelñe (I) vs. tsrālñe (II), both 'separation', from B tsär- 'be apart'.

Because of their derivation from verbs, verbal abstracts can take substantives as complements. If the underlying verb is intransitive, this complement always appears in the genitive case: B śak wäntarwaṃts spärkālñe 'the disappearing of ten things'. If the underlying verb is transitive, the complement may appear either in the oblique case or in the genitive case: A tsärk-rape yāmluneyo (obl.) 'the making (of) lute-music'; A tsopatsäṃ wsokoneyis yneś yāmluneyā (gen.) 'through the open making of great joy.'

34. Preterite

The preterite in Tocharian is a simple past tense. It denotes past completed action, with generally perfective verbal aspect. That is, the action is viewed as a completed whole, with no reference to any internal time structure. In this sense, compare English walked (perfective, no internal time structure) to was walking (imperfective, with the possibility of further subdividing the internal time structure). All classes of preterite formation employ the same non-past endings. Only stem formation distinguishes the classes.

34.1. Preterite Class I

Class I exhibits the archetypical Tocharian preterite formation. The Indo-European origin of this class lies with verbs containing a root-final laryngeal. As these formed root aorists in PIE, the laryngeal came to stand at the end of the stem, and by regular sound change PIE *H > PToch , thus leaving a stem ending in . In PIE terms, those verbs which formed root aorists were typically those whose bare root was non-durative (or perfective, depending on terminology). This required additional marking to derive a durative stem, such as what would be needed to form a present. A common PIE derivational technique infixes an *-n-, i.e. inserts an *-n- before the final consonant of the root. This leads in Tocharian to a common correspondence between Class I preterites and CLASS VI presents, the latter stemming from nasal infixing of verbs with root-final laryngeals in PIE.

Take as an example the PIE root *kʷreiH₂- 'buy'. If we form a root aorist from the zero grade, the third person singular mediopassive gives PIE *kʷriH₂-to > Gk. priato, the attested Homeric aorist. In Tocharian, this would yield PIE *kʷriH₂-to > PToch *käryā-tæ > B *käryāte, the expected form given the attested first person plural B käryāmte. The corresponding present tense form B kärnāstär belongs to the present CLASS X, showing the expected nasal infix, cf. Skt. krīṇīte and OIr. crenaid, followed by the *-sḱ- suffix: *kʷri-n-H₂-sḱe/o- > PToch *kärnā-sk-.

The Tocharian forms also exhibit consonantal alternation due to an original pattern of ablaut. Specifically, the active singular forms (and only the active singular) derive from original *e-grades, while the remaining forms derive from -grade. The *e naturally leads to palatalization of the preceding consonant. For example, third person singular active A śärs B śarsa < PToch *śärsa < *kers-a-t, but mediopassive A kärsāt < PToch *kärsā- < *kṛs-a-.

In Tocharian A some verbs display yet a different pattern of ablaut. In particular, they show *o-grade in the active plural, and -grade elsewhere. For example the root A kälk- (part of the suppletive paradigm of AB i- 'go') exhibits the following pattern.

    Preterite           Subjunctive        
Active   A   PToch   PIE   A   PToch   PIE
3 Sg.   kälk   *-Ø-   *-Ø-   kalkas   *-æ-   *-o-
3 Pl.   kalkar   *-æ-   *-o-   kälkeñc   *-Ø-   *-Ø-

As illustrated in the chart above, the ablaut pattern of the preterite reverses that found in the subjunctive CLASS v.

The paradigm of PIE *keH₂u-dʰe /o- > PToch *kāut- > A kot- B kaut- 'split off, break', cf. Lat. cūdō 'beat, pound', illustrates the conjugation of Class I preterites.

Pret. I   A   B   PToch   PIE
Active                
1 Sg.   kotā   kautāwa   *kautā-wā   *-wa < *-uH₂ < *-H₂u
2   kotaṣt   kautāsta   *kautā-stā   *-sta < *-stH₂e
3   kota   kauta   *kautā-Ø   *-(a)-t < *-t
                 
1 Pl.   kotmäs   kautām(o)   *kautā-mV    
2   kotas   kautās(o)   *kautā-st(?)    
3   kotar   kautāre   *kautā-ræ   *-ro
                 
Mediopassive                
1 Sg.   kote   kautāmai   *kautā-(m)ai   *-H₂e-i
2   kotte   kautātai   *kautā-tai   *-tH₂e-i
3   kotat   kautāte   *kautā-tæ   *-to
                 
1 Pl.   kotamät   kautāmt(t)e   *kautā-myätæ+   *-medʰH₂
2   kotac   kautāt   *kautā-tä   *-dʰuwe
3   kotant   kautānte   *kautā-ntæ   *-nto
                 
Ppl.   kākotu   kakautau        

Note in the paradigm for Tocharian B that the stress remains on the stem-terminal -ā-; were that not the case, the vowel would have weakened to a simple -a-.

As the above illustrates, this particular formation spread beyond those roots with original root-final laryngeal. In the Proto-Tocharian period, stem-final PToch *-ā has come to be regarded as a preterite marker by itself, and so is applied to verbs which would otherwise not employ the marker based on historical phonological grounds.

34.2. Preterite Class II

The marking of Class II preterites differs between Tocharian A and B. Each however employs a type of marking familiar from the classical languages Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit. Class II is generally restricted to the preterite of causative verbs, whose present stem carries the causative marker A -s- B -sk-, and which had an original short root vowel, hence a Tocharian root vowel ä, i, or u.

Tocharian A forms Class II preterites by means of reduplication. This evidently harkens back to reduplicated aorists of the type found in Sanskrit ajījanat, from the causative janayati 'bring into being'. In general reduplication in Indo-European is a process by which the initial consonant (cluster) of a root is copied and tacked on to the beginning of the root. A vowel is placed between the copied consonant(s) and the original root-initial consonant(s); this vowel may be either the same as the root vowel, or a fixed vowel which does not change with differing root vowels. For example the root PIE *deH₃ 'give' shows in Greek both present reduplication, didōmi, as well as perfect reduplication, dedōka (all Greek verbs with present reduplication employ the vowel -i- in the reduplicated syllable, those with perfect reduplication invariably employ -e-). Latin perfects, when reduplicated, occasionally display vowel harmony: present spondeō 'I vow', perfect spospondī. Sanskrit shows, in addition to those just mentioned, a type of reduplication (the so-called intensive) in which the entire root, including final consonant(s), is reduplicated: kram- 'to stride', intensive caṃkramīti, caṃkramyate. Such wholesale copying of the root rarely occurs in the Indo-European family outside of Sanskrit.

The reduplication found in Tocharian A poses some interesting challenges for historical linguists. In particular, comparison of the reduplicated preterite A śaśärs of the root AB kärs- 'know' (causative: 'make know') to the reduplicated preterite participle B śeśśarsu suggests that the reduplicated syllable employed the vowel PIE *o > PToch . Though *o-grade is the expected ablaut grade in PIE perfects, as in Gk. leloipa from the root lip-, reduplication of the *o-vocalism is rare in Indo-European (the example of Lat. spospondī by no means displays a prevalent or even common vocalism in Latin reduplication). This form moreover suggests that the palatalization of the reduplicated consonant(s) is a secondary process, since there was no front vowel to trigger palatalization on purely phonetic grounds. Compare A käl- 'endure', with preterite kakäl.

Tocharian B forms Class II preterites by means of palatalization and lengthened grade of the root vowel. This lengthened grade possibly derives from contraction of the reduplicated syllable with the root syllable, and so this would imply that the two Tocharian languages ultimately employ the same reduplicated preterite formation. Such reduplication and subsequent contraction (in one of the daughter languages) parallels evidence from Germanic: the preterites Goth. haihait vs. OE hēt, if the latter is in fact the result of contraction. Such examples however are few in Germanic, and the strong tendency toward word-initial accent likely played a crucial role in such developments in Germanic. Tocharian lacks similar stress patterns.

A more likely scenario is that Tocharian B Class II preterites derive from an original PIE perfect formation in long-, of the type found in Lat. lēgī (from legō 'I read') and sēdī (from sedeō 'I sit'). This has the added benefit of providing a direct source of palatalization: *kērs-a- > PToch *śærs-ā- > *śārsā-, the last step following from a-umlaut in Proto-Tocharian. This provides a contrast in the instance of the root B kärs- between the third person singular base (Grundverb) preterite PIE *kers-t > B śarsa (from Class I) and the corresponding causative PIE *kērs- > B śārsa; the sole distinction resides in the root vowel. Note that, in contrast to Class I, in Class II this long--grade is found throughout the paradigm, not only in singular active forms.

Below the partial paradigm of A käl- 'endure' and the full paradigm of B mäsk- (caus.) 'exchange' illustrate the preterite Class II conjugation.

Pret. II   A   B
Active        
1 Sg.   *kaklāwa   myāskawa
2   kaklāṣt   myāskasta
3   kakäl   myāska
         
1 Pl.       myāskam(o)
2       myāskas(o)
3   kaklār   myāskare
         
Mediopassive        
1 Sg.       myāskamai
2       myāskatai
3   *kaklāt   myāskate
         
1 Pl.       myāskamt(t)e
2       myāskat
3   *kaklānt   myāskante
         
Ppl.       memisku

Note in the Tocharian B paradigm that stress falls on the root syllable; the lack of stress on the stem-final *-ā- causes its reduction to -a-. Contrast this with the stem-final stress in Class I.

34.3. Preterite Class III

In preterite Class III a long-time friend to students of Greek and Sanskrit makes its appearance: the sigmatic aorist (so named because the marker is PIE *-s-, in Greek the letter sigma). But as with everything in Tocharian, the story is not so simple. This preterite is indeed sigmatic, but only partially so: in the active, the *-s- appears only in the third person singular; however the *-s- occurs throughout all of the mediopassive forms. This holds equally true for both languages. The forms of A prak- B prek- 'ask' (cf. Skt. pṛccʰati) illustrate the paradigm.

Pret. III   A   B
Active        
1 Sg.   prakwā   prekwa
2   prakäṣt   prekasta
3   prakäs   preksa
         
1 Pl.   prakmäs   prekam
2   *prakäs   *prekas
3   prakär   prekar
         
Mediopassive        
1 Sg.   präkse   parksamai
2   präksāte   parksatai
3   präksāt   parksate
         
1 Pl.   präksāmät   parksamt(t)e
2   präksāc   parksat
3   präksānt   parksante
         
Ppl.   papräku   pepärku

The alternation in the root vowel, A a B e, of the active forms points back to PToch . This in turn points back to either PIE or *o. The former however invariably leads to palatalization of the preceding consonant whenever possible. This palatalization is in fact observed in Tocharian A in those roots which employ *-s-, supporting the association of these forms with an original aorist formation. The mediopassive forms derive from zero or *e-grade vocalism.

Nevertheless we find a small group of verbs which follow the above pattern of -grade ablaut and third person singular *-s-, but which lack the *-s- and suggest *o-vocalism (i.e. there is no palatalization) in the mediopassive. For example, consider the following forms.

Pret. III   A   PIE
Active        
3 Sg.   ñakäs   *nēḱ-s-t
3 Pl.   ñakär   *nēḱ-ṛ
         
Mediopassive        
3 Sg.   nakät   *noḱ-to
3 Pl.   nakänt   *noḱ-ṇto

The *o-vocalism and lack of *-s- suggest the PIE perfect. The preterite Class III therefore contains the remnants of both the PIE aorist and the PIE perfect. This is similar to the situation found in the Latin perfect: compare Latin perfect dīxī (from dicō 'I say') with Gk. aorist édeiksa 'I showed'; but Latin perfect didicī, the reduplicated perfect of present discō < *di-dḱ-sḱ- 'learn' (an original reduplicated present).

Class III preterites are generally associated with presents of CLASSES VIII, IX, and X, and occasionally of CLASSES I and II. CLASS i subjunctives frequently form Class III preterites.

34.4. Preterite Class IV

Class IV preterites show the stem suffix AB -ṣṣ-, augmented by the Class I marker -ā-, by this time felt to be a general preterite marker: AB -ṣṣā-. Class IV preterites include few base verbs, the majority of the formations being built to causatives. Tocharian A contains few examples of preterites of this class: A lalākṣāwā, from A läk 'see', causative 'show'. The verbs A win-ās- 'revere' B yām- 'do, make' illustrate the paradigm.

Pret. IV   A   B    
Active            
1 Sg.       yamaṣṣāwa   (yāmṣawa)
2       yamaṣṣasta   (yāmṣasta)
3   wināṣā-ṃ   yamaṣṣa   (yāmṣa)
             
1 Pl.       yamaṣṣam(o)   (yāmṣam(o))
2       yamaṣṣas(o)   (yāmṣas(o))
3   wināṣār   yamaṣṣare   (yāmṣare)
             
Mediopassive            
1 Sg.       yamaṣṣamai   (yāmṣamai)
2       yamaṣṣatai   (yāmṣatai)
3       yamaṣṣate   (yāmṣate)
             
1 Pl.       yamaṣṣamt(t)e   (yāmṣamt(t)e)
2       yamaṣṣat   (yāmṣat)
3       yamaṣṣante   (yāmṣante)
             
PPl.       yāmu    
34.5. Preterite Class V

Class V preterites exhibit the stem suffix AB -ñ(ñ)-. Few verbs belong to this class. To this suffix is appended the general preterite marker AB -ā-. The primary example is the root AB we- 'say' (which, in Tocharian A, has a suppletive paradigm, the present tense being supplied by tränk-). The paradigm is as follows.

Pret. V   A   B
Active        
1 Sg.   weñā   w(e)ñāwa
2   weñāṣt   w(e)ñāsta
3   we (weñā-ṃ)   weña
         
1 Pl.   weñāmäs   weñām
2   weñās   wñās
3   weñār   w(e)ñāre
         
Mediopassive        
1 Sg.        
2        
3       (kwipeññate)
         
1 Pl.        
2        
3        
         
PPl.   wewñu   weweñu

There are few documented mediopassive forms. The form supplied above belongs to the root B kwip- 'be ashamed'. In Tocharian A, when CLASS XII presents form Class V preterites, the imperfect and preterite formations fall together.

34.6. Preterite Class VI

Preterite Class VI comprises the so-called thematic preterites, i.e. those with the thematic vowel *e/o > *yä/æ. In fact, only two roots pertain to this class: AB lä-n-t- 'leave' and B käm- 'come'. Their forms are as follows.

Pret. VI   A   B   PIE
Active            
1 Sg.   lcā   latau    
2       lat    
3   läc   lac   *H₁ludʰ-e-t
             
3 Du.       ltais    
             
1 Pl.       ltem(o)   *H₁ludʰ-omV
2       latso    
3   lcär   lateṃ   *H₁ludʰ-o-nt
             
PPl.   laltu   ltu    
             
1 Sg.       kamau    
2       kamt(o)    
3       śem(o)   *gʷēm-e-t
             
1 Pl.       kmem(o)   *gʷm-omV
2            
3       kameṃ   *gʷm-ont
             
PPl.   kakmu   kek(a)mu    

Note that in Tocharian A the stem naturally arrived at in the third person singular, PIE *H₁ludʰ-e-t > PToch *läc(ä) > A läc-, was then generalized throughout the paradigm and the usual preterite endings employed: first person singular lcā, third plural lcär.

Tocharian B, by contrast, shows the use of non-past endings, e.g. B -u, -ṃ. Moreover the form śem(o), with the 'moveable-o', appears to derive from an original long -grade, in contrast to the zero-grade of other forms.

35. Perlative & Locative
35.1. Perlative

The Tocharian perlative case, marked by A B -sa, expresses a similar range of meaning to the English prepositions by and through. In its most basic sense, this carries a purely spatial or temporal connotation, as with English "One if by land..." or "wading through water". However the Tocharian languages extend this to mark personal agents and even manner of action, as with English "the homework was assigned by the teacher" and "through guile he escaped notice", respectively. The following list distinguishes some of the major uses of the Tocharian perlative.

  • True Perlative: The basic sense of the perlative denotes motion through a (planar) expanse, and by extension time. Consider the following examples: A tkanā epreraṃ B keṃtsa eprerne 'on land and in the in the sky' (more literally 'over' or 'through land'); A päñ kursärwā ārṣlāsyo rarkusāṃ tkanā kälk 'for five miles he passed through a land strew with snakes'; B swese kentsa swāsäṣṣasta 'you have let rain a rain over the earth'; A propmahur lapā tā- B prāpmahur āṣtsa tā- 'set the diadem on the head'; A śtwar mañsā B śtwer meñtsa 'for four months' (literally 'through four months'); B māka lyakursa 'four times'.
  • Locative Use of the Perlative: The perlative may denote simply the place on, at, or in which something occurs; this extends likewise to time. Consider the following examples: A ñemiṣiṃ praṅkā yeṣ 'he went on the jewel-island' (literally 'through, upon the jewel-island'); A yaṃtrācāres waṣtā lokit yeṣ 'he went as a guest into the mechanic's house'; A tkanā klā B keṃtsa klāya 'fell on the ground'; A tsarā ents- B ṣarsa eṅk- 'take by the hand'; A taṃne-praṣta 'at such time'; A praṣt praṣtā 'from time to time'.
  • Instrumental Use of the Perlative: Tocharian may employ the perlative to denote the inanimate instrument by which an action is performed. Tocharian A generally employs the Instrumental case in this role, though one occasionally finds the perlative: A Ārśi-käntwā ritwäṣṣi 'to write in the Ārśi-tongue'. The majority of the examples come from Tocharian B: B antapi kenīnesa keṃ teksa 'he touched the ground with both knees'; B ṣañ ṣarsa 'with (one's) own hand'.
  • Agent: Tocharian A employs the perlative for rational agents, the instrumental for any other type of agent (inanimate objects): A poryo tskāṃsaṃtär mā wäryo sikaṃtär mā lāñcsā pärtsi yāteñc mā penu lyäksā kärnātsi yāteñc 'by fire they will not be burned, by water they will not be washed away, by kings they will not be able to be snatched up, nor by thieves will they be able to be stolen.' Italics denote the instrumental case, boldface marks the perlative case (cf. Section 30.1, Lesson 6). Tocharian B, lacking an instrumental case, employs the perlative in either situation. Consider the following examples: B yessa-k yāṃṣälle 'to be done by you'; B ceu ṣamānentsa ṣamānents āksaṣälle 'by such a monk is it to be announced to the monks'
  • Manner: Tocharian employs the perlative to describe the way or manner in which an action occurs. Consider the following examples: A tämne-wäknā B te-yäknesa 'in this way'; A mänt-wäknā B mäkte-yäknesa 'in what way?'. In Tocharian B this extends to numeral expressions: B käntenma yältsenma tmanenmasa 'by the hundreds, thousands, (and) ten-thousands'; Tocharian A by contrast employs the instrumental for such expressions (cf. Section 30.1, Lesson 6).

Tocharian B also employs the perlative in several situations where Tocharian A prefers the use of a different case. The following lists some of the differences in usage between the languages.

  • With Participles and Adjectives: Tocharian B commonly employs the perlative in complements to participles and adjectives. For participles, consider B po krentaunasa kekenu 'provided with all the virtues'; in such instances Tocharian A typically employs the instrumental. For adjectives, consider B kektsentsa skwassu... mā palskosa 'fortunate in body... not in spirit'; here Tocharian A prefers the instrumental. Consider also B meṅkitse eśnesa 'lacking eyes'; here Tocharian A prefers the ablative.
  • Expressions of Fear: Tocharian B often employs the perlative with the verb B pärsk- 'be afraid, fear' to denote the source of the fear: B pärskau śaultsa 'afraid for (one's) life'. Tocharian B also employs in this role the ablative of the thing feared, or the genitive of the person.
  • Expressions of Emotion: Tocharian B often employs the perlative with expressions of emotion: B mīwi ceu saksa 'shook on account of happiness'; B katkauñaisa kalñi śaiṣṣe 'the world resounded with joy'. Tocharian B also employs the causal in such expressions (cf. Section 30.2, Lesson 6); Tocharian A generally employs the instrumental (Section 30.1).
  • Expressions of Price: Tocharian B employs the perlative to denote the price of an item: B ṣalywe käryāmte śwer ṣaṅk ok tom ysāresa 'we bought oil: four pounds for eighty pounds (of) grain'.
  • Standard of Comparison: Tocharian B frequently uses the perlative to mark the standard against which something is compared. Consider the following examples: B Sumersa tapre 'higher than Sumeru'; B kauṃ meñäntsa lakutsa 'brighter than Sun (and) Moon'; B cisa lāre 'dearer than you'. Tocharian A regularly, and Tocharian B occasionally, employ the ablative case to mark the point of reference in comparisons.
35.2. Locative

The Tocharian locative case, marked by the suffix A -aṃ B -ne, corresponds roughly to the meaning denoted by the English prepositions in, on, or at. The locative denotes, aptly enough, the location or position at which some action occurs: e.g. "Sitting on the dock of the bay...", "That'll happen in your dreams", "Let's meet at my house." This naturally extends to temporal considerations as well: "I'll come on the morrow...", "Make sure you get it to me on time", "The package should arrive at noon." We list below some of the major uses of the locative in Tocharian.

  • Of Place Where: The locative case responds to the question "where? at what place?" Consider the following examples: A yokmaṃ klyantär 'they are standing at the gate'; A lakeyaṃ orto ṣmäṣ 'He sits right upon the bed'; B tarnene stmau 'standing on the apex'; B olyine ṣamäṃ 'sits in a boat'. The locative may sometimes straddle the border between marking the destination of motion (hence like English into) or the area in which motion takes place (like English through): e.g. A epreraṃ yäṣ 'goes in the air', with the sense either of 'goes into the air' or 'goes through the air'; B yai kauc iprerne 'he went high in(to) the air'.
  • Of Place to Where: The locative case may answer the question "to where? to what place?" Consider the following examples: A wärtaṃ yäṣ 'went into the woods'; B wartone lac 'went out into the woods'; A ksaluneyaṃ ytsi 'to enter into death'; B kselñene ynūca 'entering into death'; B rine śem 'came into the city'; B nauntaine klāya 'she fell on the street'.
  • Of Metaphysical Motion: The above senses of the locative denoting location or destination need not refer solely to physical motion. Tocharian employs the same constructions when the motion is metaphysical. Consider the following examples: A Bʰādrānaṃ tuṅk kāpñune 'love (and) affection for Bʰadrā'; B pātär mātärne täṅwassu 'fond of father (and) mother', or more literally 'lovingly disposed towards father (and) mother'; B śwātsi yokstine ymassu 'mindful of eating (and) drinking', or more literally 'thinking on eating (and) drinking' or 'looking towards eating (and) drinking'.
  • Of Time: The above senses extend by analogy to location or destination in time. Consider the following examples: A tām praṣtaṃ B ceu prekene 'at the time'; A ṣpät koṃsaṃ 'in seven days'; A wikiṣpätiñcinäs ṣpät koṃsaṃ 'in the twenty-seventh week'; B ṣkas meñantse ne 'on the seventh (day) of the month'; A wū kṣaṃsaṃ 'in two blinks of an eye'; B ṣeme kṣanne 'in the blink of an eye'.
  • Superlative Constructions: Tocharian generally employs the locative in superlative constructions to denote the group among which the entity in question particularly stands out. Consider the following examples: A pūk pñintwaṃ tpär 'highest among all virtues'; A pukaṃ pruccamo 'best of all', literally 'excellent among all'; B ñakteṃ śāmnane śpālmeṃ 'best among gods (and) men'.