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Tocharian Online

Lesson 8

Todd B. Krause and Jonathan Slocum

Early Divisions within Buddhism

The Buddhist path strives for detachment from the world that surrounds us. At the same time, however, those who continue to follow the path live in the world: they require shelter and sustenance. For this they rely on others, on the laity, and therein lies a fundamental tension. In their efforts to remove themselves from attachment to the world, the Buddhist monks remain dependent on the world and on the people in it. This unfortunate state of affairs has played a role in many schisms within the Buddhist tradition. Though many of the distinctions that arose through the history of Buddhist thought take the form of philosophical disagreement on fine points of interpretation of the canon, at a very basic level the necessity to iron out and take a stance on one side or the other of these philosophical discussions can be traced back to a simple problem of economics.

In particular, division arose within the monastic community concerning the purpose of the monastic order itself. (Conze 1993) The dependence on the laity for the continuation of the order predisposed some of the monks to imagine themselves as working for the spiritual betterment of the laity. This stood in contradistinction to the traditional interpretation of the elders: the purpose of the san`gha was to support the rise of certain Arhats distinguished by their strict devotion to the precepts of monastic discipline and the teachings of the Buddha. Though this conservative trend has remained ever present through the history of Buddhism, the various ensuing schisms often rejuvenated the monastic community's spiritual attention to the laity. This has perhaps culminated in the Maha:ya:na concept of the Bodhisattva as a saint who defers nirvana for a time so that he may tend to the happiness of the laity.

Maha:san`ghikas and Sthavirava:dins

The first major schism within the Buddhist religion occurred between the Maha:san`ghikas (lit. 'great assembly') and the Sthavirava:dins. Tradition has it that the sects parted ways roughly a century after the Buddha's death (perhaps around 340 BC). The earliest accounts of the split suggest that it concerned points of monastic discipline. Later accounts however portray the conflict as centering on the nature of the Buddha himself. The Maha:san`ghikas for their part stressed the eternal qualities of the Buddha, his omniscience, his omnipotence, his complete purity, among a host of others. In short, the Buddha was supramundane, an ideal object of worship and altogether beyond the world which we inhabit. Viewed in this light, the historical Buddha Siddha:rtha Gautama was merely an imperfect reflection of the transcendental Buddha, sent to this world for the purpose of teaching the populace.

This distinction of the mundane and supramundane conceptions of the Buddha had a more poignant parallel in the guise of an attack on the status that should be accorded the Arhats, the religious saints. (Conze 1993) In particular the Maha:san`ghikas argued that these saints were far from the reverend beings that the community of monks portrayed them to be: they remained ignorant of many topics, were subject to doubt, and could have seminal emissions during sleep. This last one served as supposed confirmation that they were subject to the influence of demons while sleeping. The religious conservatives, the Sthavirava:dins, countered that they maintained the orthodox views of the Buddha himself.

The Maha:san`ghika school stressed not only the transcendental nature of the Buddha, but of thought itself. This falls in line with a general belief that all worldly things are unreal, and that the emptiness which is the object of the Buddhist path must gain its reality from its transcendence beyond the mundane. Some scholars see in the Maha:san`ghika school the early planting of ideas which came to blossom in the Maha:ya:na school. However the chain of influence remains mysterious, and some arguments suggest that the Maha:ya:na school may in fact have influenced the Maha:san`ghikas.

Pudgalava:dins and Sthavirava:dins

The conservative interpretation of the canon remained in the purview of the Sthavirava:dins. The departure from their ranks of the Maha:san`ghikas however did not eliminate philosophical dissent altogether. The next great schism arrived in the challenge put forth by the Pudgalava:dins (Skt. pudgala 'person'), or Personalists, early called the Vatsi:putri:yas, later the Sammiti:yas. This division took place probably some time around 280 BC. Though the Buddha's doctrines go to great lengths to explain the impermanence of the self, in particular linking its structure to the Five Aggregates or skandhas, the Pudgalava:dins argued that Buddhist scripture did indeed require a more subtle notion of a persisting self. The foundation of the assertion lies in scriptural passages such as "One person, when He is born in the world, is born for the weal of the many. Who is that one person? He is the Tatha:gata." (Conze 1993)

Though the conservative Sthavirava:dins argued that such passages provided a misleading impression because the vehicle of language inevitably leads to imperfection in encapsulating the message of the Buddha, the Personalists remained undeterred. They asserted the necessity of some sort of concept of self to provide continuity between the lives leading up to Buddhahood. Their concept of self, however, was specifically designed to avoid contradiction with the Five Aggregates. The self, according to the Personalists, constitutes the subject of consciousness. This self is "ineffable" and perceived only by the Buddha. (Conze 1993)

From the point of view of the orthodox Sthavirava:dins, the Personalist doctrine smacked of the philosophy of a:tman --- the supreme universal self --- early abandoned by the Buddha's teachings. The Personalists' beliefs nevertheless were long lived and appear to have made their own stamp on the Maha:ya:na philosophy.

Sarva:stiva:dins and Vibhajyava:dins

Some time around 240 BC we see the emergence of another school of thought Sarva:stiva:da (lit. 'teaching that everything exists'). The central point at issue was the nature of past, present, and future. In particular the meditation practices of the Buddhist tradition are designed to allow the practitioner to realize the full extent of the fleeting nature of existence by focusing on the initial coming into existence and subsequent fading away of events (dharmas). (Conze 1993) Through such meditation the practitioner deepens his understanding of the impermanence of the mundane and thereby strengthens his detachment therefrom.

This focus on the rise, evolution, and disappearance of events had the byproduct of calling into question the nature of past, present, and future: whether only the present really exists. This led inevitably to a philosophical thorn in the side (Conze 1993): if only the present exists, then karmic action is logically unsatisfactory. Karmic action presupposes that past action can affect the present; but if only the present exists, then prior action must already have faded into non-existence and therefore cannot exert any influence on the present.

The Sarva:stiva:da doctrine attempts to work around this and other logical conundrums by asserting that everything --- past, present, future --- does in fact maintain an existence. Notably, however, this school did not assert the existence of the self. This line of inquiry ultimately led to a large body of philosophical literature encapsulated in the books of the Abhidharma.

The orthodox view was maintained by the Vibhajyava:dins. Under the support of king As'oka their beliefs ultimately found their way to Sri Lanka and laid the groundwork for what is known as Theravada Buddhism.

Reading and Textual Analysis

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

9 - aka:lk tsän`ka:-ne mäkte pi kca ta: on`korn'ai n'is' s'wa:tsi kalla:lle s.eym :

  • aka:lk -- noun; masculine nominative singular <aka:lk> wish -- The desire
  • tsän`ka:-ne -- verb preterite I; 3 singular active <tsän`k-> rise, raise oneself up; stand up, arise + enclitic pronoun; indeclinable <-ne> (enclitic oblique third person singular pronoun) -- arose in him
  • mäkte -- conjunction; <mäkte> (comparative) as; (final) so, in order that; (causal) because; (temporal) as, while; (manner) how; (interrogative) how? -- how # For similar range of meaning, cf. Gk. ho:s
  • pi -- particle; <pi> really, indeed (used to emphasize questions and commands) -- ...
  • kca -- pronoun adjective; oblique <ksa> some, any -- in some way
  • ta: -- demonstrative pronoun; feminine oblique singular <se, sa:, te> this -- this
  • on`korn'ai -- noun; feminine oblique singular <on`karn'o, on`korn'o> porridge, rice gruel -- porridge
  • n'is' -- pronoun; masculine/feminine singular nominative of <n'äs' (n'is')> I -- I
  • s'wa:tsi -- verb; infinitive <s'u-> eat (at); consume, devour -- to eat
  • kalla:lle -- verb gerundive II; masculine nominative singular <kälp-> find, get, obtain, achieve -- arrange
  • s.eym -- verb imperfect; 1 singular active <nes-> be, exist; (as auxiliary with past ptcple) have -- could

10 - ysaparsa yey a:s'irva:t wes.s.i tem. epin`ktene sa:(u) on`ko päs pyautka.

  • ysaparsa -- adverb; <ysapar(sa)> near by -- by
  • yey -- verb imperfect; 3 singular active <i-> go, travel -- he was going
  • a:s'irva:t -- noun; singular oblique <a:s'irva:t> benediction -- a benediction
  • wes.s.i -- verb imperfect; 3 singular active <we-> speak, say, tell; (medp.) be called -- (and) was saying
  • tem. -- demonstrative adjective; neuter oblique singular <sem., sa:m., tem.> this (one) -- that
  • epin`ktene -- noun; neuter locative singular <epin`kte> (adv.-postposition) within; between, among; (with nouns denoting periods of time) for; meanwhile, in the meantime; (noun) interval -- (While)... in... moment
  • sa:(u) -- demonstrative pronoun; feminine nominative singular <su, sa:(u), tu> the; he, she, it -- the
  • on`ko -- noun; feminine nominative singular <on`karn'o, on`korn'o> porridge, rice gruel -- porridge # on`ko for on`korn'o
  • päs -- particle; <päst> away, back; (also used with verbs with a perfectivizing force) -- ...
  • pyautka -- verb preterite II; 3 singular active <pyutk-> establish, bring into being, create; (intrans.) become ready -- became ready # Intransitive in the sense 'become ready' always with päst

11 - sphari:räs.s.e aisemem. mutka:rene aise mutka:ntses' po ma: tsuwa naumyes.s.e bha:jam.ne ite s'ama.

  • sphari:räs.s.e -- adjective I; masculine oblique singular <spharir> crystal -- crystal
  • aisemem. -- noun; masculine ablative singular <aise> power?; surplus, excess?; pot, bowl -- From a... bowl # See Pinault (2008), who takes this as a derivative from PIE *H1ay- 'be hot; heat': *H1ay-(e)s-o-> PToch *aisæ-.
  • mutka:rene -- verb preterite I; 3 plural active <mutk-> strengthen?; pour, spill + enclitic pronoun; indeclinable <-ne> (enclitic oblique third person singular pronoun) -- they poured it # See Pinault (2008) for a discussion of the meaning 'pour' for mutk-.
  • aise -- noun; masculine oblique singular <aise> power?; surplus, excess?; pot, bowl -- the bowl
  • mutka:ntses' -- noun; allative <mutka:ntse> (unit of liquid measure) -- a... mutkantse # According to Adams (1999), read mutka:ttsis', i.e. as the infinitive of mutk-. For the reading as a unit of liquid measure, cf. Pinault (2008).
  • po -- adverb; masculine singular nominative of <po> (indeclinable/declinable adj.) all, every, each, complete; (noun) everything, all -- complete
  • ma: -- particle; <ma:> (simple negation and prohibition) not, no; (quasi-prefix) un- -- not even
  • tsuwa -- verb preterite I; 3 singular active <tsu-> (act.) cohere, adhere; (medp.) adhere, stick, cling, attach oneself; (caus.) make cohere, add to -- did... measure
  • naumyes.s.e -- adjective I; masculine oblique singular <naumiyes.s.e> pertaining to jewels, bejeweled -- bejeweled
  • bha:jam.ne -- noun; alternating locative singular <bha:jam.> vessel, pot -- in the... vessel
  • ite -- adjective; indeclinable <i:te> full -- full
  • s'ama -- verb preterite I; 3 singular active <käly-, stäm-> (intr.) stand, stay, stand still; last; (caus.) establish, fix (in place) -- It stood

12 - lka:ln'esa a:rttaln'e taläs.s.en'ca ta:ka erene kartstsa werene kartstsa s'ukene kartstsa krenta s.otrunasa kekenusa.

  • lka:ln'esa -- abstract; masculine perlative singular <lka:llän'n'e> sight, insight -- With (each) look
  • a:rttaln'e -- abstract; masculine oblique singular <a:rttaln'e> pleasure, love -- (his) enthusiasm
  • taläs.s.en'ca -- verb present participle causal; feminine nominative singular <täl-> uphold, keep raised; (caus.) raise, lift; acquire -- raising
  • ta:ka -- verb preterite I; 3 singular active <nes-> be, exist; (as auxiliary with past ptcple) have -- he was
  • erene -- noun; masculine locative singular <ere> appearance, color (of complexion) -- in appearance
  • kartstsa -- adjective I; feminine nominative singular <kartse, krent> (adj.) good, beautiful; (noun) good, welfare -- good
  • werene -- noun; masculine locative singular <were> smell -- in aroma
  • kartstsa -- adjective I; feminine nominative singular <kartse, krent> (adj.) good, beautiful; (noun) good, welfare -- good
  • s'ukene -- noun; alternating locative singular <s'u:ke> taste; sap; liquid, juice -- in taste
  • kartstsa -- adjective I; feminine nominative singular <kartse, krent> (adj.) good, beautiful; (noun) good, welfare -- good
  • krenta -- adjective I; feminine oblique plural <kartse, krent> (adj.) good, beautiful; (noun) good, welfare -- good
  • s.otrunasa -- noun; neuter perlative plural of <s.otri> sign, mark, (manifestation of) action -- with... signs
  • kekenusa -- preterite participle; feminine nominative singular <kän-> come to pass (of a wish); be realized; (caus.) fulfill (a wish) -- provided

Lesson Text

9 aka:lk tsän`ka:-ne mäkte pi kca ta: on`korn'ai n'is' s'wa:tsi kalla:lle s.eym : 10 ysaparsa yey a:s'irva:t wes.s.i tem. epin`ktene sa:(u) on`ko päs pyautka. 11 sphari:räs.s.e aisemem. mutka:rene aise mutka:ntses' po ma: tsuwa naumyes.s.e bha:jam.ne ite s'ama. 12 lka:ln'esa a:rttaln'e taläs.s.en'ca ta:ka erene kartstsa werene kartstsa s'ukene kartstsa krenta s.otrunasa kekenusa.

Translation

9 The desire arose in him: how could I in some way arrange to eat this porridge? 10 (While) he was going by (and) saying a benediction, in that moment the porridge became ready. 11 From a crystal bowl they poured it; the bowl did not even measure a complete mutkantse. It stood full in the bejeweled vessel. 12 With each look it was arousing his enthusiasm: good in appearance, good in aroma, good in taste, provided with good signs.

Grammar

36. The Pronominal Adjective 'Other'

Tocharian A a:lak B alyek 'other, another' may function either as an adjective or as a pronoun. As the paradigm below illustrates, the root PToch aly!æ- is reminiscent of Latin alius 'other' and likely stems from a common ancestor PIE *H2elyo-, also found in Greek állos 'other' (Pinault 2008). Some suggest, however, that we might find in the Tocharian forms instead the reflex of PIE *H2olno-, found also in Old Latin olle 'that one', OCS lani 'in the previous summer or year', and Skt. áran.a- 'distant, strange'. The sequence *-ln- would account for the geminate -ll- of the Tocharian B forms, and the palatalized forms -ly- would arise by conflation with the stem *H2elyo- (Adams 1999). If we suppose an original *H2elyo-, either in true origin or by conflation, then the subsequent development proceeds as outlined below:

Case   PIE   PToch   Tocharian
Singular            
Nominative   *H2elyo-s   *a:ly!æ- + -kä   A *a:lyak > a:lak
            B alyék
Accusative   *H2elyo-m   *a:ly!æ- + -kä   A *a:lyak > a:lak
            B alyék
             
Plural            
Nominative   *H2elyo-y   *a:ly!æi + -kä   A a:lyek
            B alyaik
Accusative   *H2elyo-ns   *a:ly!æ-ns + -kä   A
        > B *a:ly!em.-kä + -m.   B alyen`käm.

We notice in the Proto-Tocharian period the addition of a particle *kä. This evidently became so closely allied with the word as to affect the accentual structure: the accent in Tocharian B shifted to the syllable immediately preceding the *-kä, thus shifting the initial *a: to the unaccented a. In Tocharian A, we find depalatalization of the *-ly-, likely to maintain a distinction with the feminine forms which are generally characterized by palatalization in other adjectival formations.

We see in the plural forms in Tocharian B the appearance of a nasal element preceding the -k- of the suffix. As the above table outlines, this finds its origin in the *-ns of the PIE accusative plural. This form, proper to the oblique plural, is occasionally imported into the oblique singular. Moreover in the masculine oblique plural we find a secondary recharacterization by appending the oblique plural ending B -m. once again. The same holds true for the Tocharian B genitive plural form alyen`käm.ts, where the typical ending -m.ts has been appended to the oblique plural form. The same structural principal applies in the singular: B alyek (oblique) forms the basis for the genitive alyek-epi. In Tocharian A the recharacterization is even more thoroughgoing, so that the suffixal *-kä has been completely integrated to the stem and all morphological case markers follow the suffix.

The chart below provides the complete list of forms for A a:lak B alyek 'other, another'.

    A Masculine   A Feminine           B Masculine   B Feminine
                         
N Sg.   a:lak   a:lya:k           alyek, allek   alya:k
G                   alyekepi    
Obl.   a:l(y)akäm.   a:lyäkya:m.           alyek, alyen`k, allyek   allok
                         
N Pl.   a:lyek   a:lkont           alyaik   allon`k(na)
G   a:lu               alyen`käm.ts    
Obl.   a:lykes, a:lyekäs   a:lkont           alyen`käm.   allon`kna

The form A a:lu 'for others' (genitive plural) provides difficulty. Though the logical source would be the PIE genitive plural *H2elyo:m, the ending should yield *-o:m > *-u > A -0*. One suggestion is that this particular form in fact derives from another adjectival suffix -u (Pinault 2008).

This pronoun appears in slightly altered form as A a:lamwäc B a:lyewce (a:lyauce) in locutions of the form 'the one... the other.' Based on a Latin model, we would expect an expression of the sort alius... alium, involving repetition of the pronoun, though perhaps with differing case endings. Assuming this as the origin, we would find *H2elyos... H2elyum > *a:lyæ... a:lyæ, and so the distinction between the two forms would be lost in both languages. It seems that Tocharian did not favor this situation, and so emphasized the second element by adding *dwi-to- 'second'. Thus we find for the second instance of the pronoun in such turns of phrase *H2elyo-m dwito- > PToch *a:lyæ-wätæ > *a:lyæ-wäcæ, yielding A a:lamwäc B a:lyewce. The difficulty of the proposed evolution, however, lies in the retention of the -m- in the Tocharian A form. This perhaps derives from *H2elyo-s dwito- > PToch *a:lyæzwätæ > *a:lyæzßwäcæ, and the sequence *-zß- was perhaps rendered as -(z)m- in Tocharian A (Pinault 2008).

37. Noun Class IV: r-Stems

Noun class IV comprises original PIE *r-stem nouns denoting kinship, that is, the words for father, mother, daughter, etc. For example, this class includes PIE *pH2té:r > PToch *pa:cær > A pa:car B pa:cer 'father'. Note in particular that the *e: in the final syllable palatalizes the preceding *t; this does not occur in the weak cases such as the accusative: *pH2tr.-m > PToch *pa:tr-ä(n) > B pa:tär. Whereas Tocharian B preserves the *t in the weak cases, Tocharian A has innovated and extended the palatalized *c of the nominative throughout the remainder of the paradigm. Aside from the sole genitive form B tka:tre, nouns of this class generally display the genitive singular -i, likely deriving ultimately from the PIE dative: *-tr-ey > *-träy > -tri.

Tocharian A generally employs -i as the ending of the nominative plural, -äs for the oblique plural; pracar 'brother' however uses endings -e and -es, respectively. Tocharian B, on the other hand, possesses two distinct plural formations. Plural I formations exhibit a nominative and oblique ending -a, identical to nouns of alternating gender; plural II formations show nominative and oblique -n', with an accompanying genitive -nts. The latter formation arises in the paradigms for pa:cer 'father', specifically plural nom./obl. pa:tärn', gen. pa:tärnts(o); tka:cer 'daughter', plural nom./obl. tka:tärn', gen. tka:tärts; and procer 'brother', plural nom./obl. protärn', gen. protärn'ts.

The following chart list the primary case forms of the *r-stem kinship nouns.

Class IV   Father   Mother   Daughter   Brother   Sister
PIE   *pH2té:r   *méH2te:r   *dhug'H2té:r   *bhréH2ter-   *swéso:r
Tocharian A                    
N Sg.   pa:car   ma:car   cka:car   pracar   s.ar
G   pa:cri   ma:cri       pracri    
Obl.   pa:car   ma:car   cka:car   pracar   s.ar
                     
Dual               pratri    
                     
N Pl.   pa:cri   ma:cri   cka:cri   pracre    
G                    
Obl.   pa:cräs   ma:cräs       pracres    
                     
Tocharian B                    
N Sg.   pa:cer   ma:cer   tka:cer   procer   s.er
G   pa:tri   ma:tri   tka:tre   protri    
Obl.   pa:tär   ma:tär   tka:tär   protär   s.er
                     
N Pl.   pa:cera (pa:tärn')   ma:cera   tkacera (tka:tärn')   procera (protärn')   s.era
G   paceram.ts (pa:tärntso)       tka:tärts   protärn'ts    
Obl.   pa:cera (pa:tärn')   ma:cera   tkacera (tka:tärn')   procera (protärn')   s.era

The noun A pa:car B pa:cer 'father' illustrates the paradigm, including adjectival formations and secondary cases.

    A IV   B IV.I   B.II
             
N Sg.   pa:car   pa:cer    
G   pa:cri   pa:tri    
Obl.   pa:car   pa:tär    
Perl.   pa:cra:   pa:tärsa    
             
Adj.   pa:cars.i   patars.s.e    
             
N Pl.   pa:cri   pa:cera (pacera)   pa:tärn'
G   pa:cräs's'i   paceram.ts   pa:tärn'ts
Obl.   pa:cräs   pa:cera (pacera)   pa:tärn'
Perl.   *pa:crsa:   pacerasa   pa:tärn'tsa
38. Present Participles & Agent Nouns

Tocharian possesses present participles which may be formally divided into active and mediopassive voices. In practice, however, they often overlap in function and meaning. The two languages also present a number of agent noun formations, some of which bear a striking similarity to present participles. Again, the practical use of agent nouns can often overlap with the use of participles, and the distinction between the categories remains very fluid in both Tocharian A and Tocharian B.

38.1. Present Participle Active

Tocharian possesses a present active participle with suffix A -nt B -n'ca. This denotes an ongoing action contemporaneous with the principal verb in the clause. For example, the root a:k- 'lead' has present active participle A a:s'ant B as'en'ca 'leading', as in e.g. 'the man leading the cattle'. We find this construction built to a wide number of present classes, though the construction remains rare among CLASS I present verbs. In Tocharian B specifically, the construction only occurs with present thematic verbs or those whose present stem ends in -a:-. The following chart provides some examples of the present active participle of verbs from various present classes.

Present   Type   Affix   Root   Participle   Meaning
                     
II   thematic   *-e/o   A a:k-   A a:s'ant   lead
            B a:k-   B as'en'ca   lead
                     
V   athematic   *-H-, -eH2   A s'uw-   A s'wa:nt   eat
            B s'uw-   B s'awa:n'ca   eat
                     
VI   athematic   *-n-H   A kärs-   A kärsna:nt   know
            A wärp-   A wärpna:nt   receive
                     
VIII   thematic   *-se/o   A e-   A es.ant   give
            A ko-   A kos.ant   kill
            B kau-   B kaus.en'ca   kill
                     
IX   thematic   *-sk'e/o   B ai-   B ais.s.en'ca   give
            B ya:m-   B yamas.s.en'ca   make
                     
X   thematic   *-n(H)-sk'e/o   A *täm-näsk-   A tmäm.s.ant   beget

The Tocharian present participle bears a striking similarity to equivalent formations in other ancient Indo-European languages: Lat. ag-ere 'to lead', agens (Gen. agentis) 'leading'; Gk. ág-ein 'to lead', ágo:n (Gen. ágontos) 'leading'. Given that the root AB a:k- 'lead' Tocharian shows A a:s'ant B as'en'ca, we expect the vowel preceding the nasal element of the suffix to be PIE *o > PToch > A a B e. This concurs with the Greek, which usually remains faithful to PIE vowel quality. It will come as little surprise, however, that Tocharian throws in a wrinkle. Consider the following evolution.

PIE   PToch   Expected   Actual
             
*H2eg'-ont-   *a:k-ænt-   A *a:kant   A a:s'ant
        B *aként-a   B as'en'ca

That is, we would not expect palatalization before the participial suffix *-ont-, but we indeed find in the root above s' rather than k. This is not merely a feature of this root alone, but rather a feature of the Tocharian present active participle formation in general: the final consonant preceding the participial suffix generally undergoes palatalization whenever possible. This does not occur, however, in Tocharian A when the participle is formed to a verb with athematic present. Moreover we find in Tocharian B the palatalized reflex -n'c-, rather than the expected *-nt-, and the addition of a suffixal *-a:. The origin of these peculiarities to date remains unclear.

We illustrate the declension of the present active participle with the root A ko- B kau- (Present CLASS VIII) 'kill'.

    A Masc.   A Fem.           B Masc.   B Fem.
                         
N Sg.   kos.ant   kos.ant           kaus.en'ca   kaus.en'ca
G   kos.änta:p   kos.änta:p           kaus.en'cantse   kaus.en'cantse
Obl.   kos.änta:m.   kos.änta:m.           kaus.en'cai   kaus.en'cai
V                   kaus.en'cai    
                         
N Pl.   kos.änta:n'   kos.änta:n'           kaus.en'can'   kaus.en'cana
G   kos.änta:s's'i               kaus.en'cam.ts    
Obl.   kos.änta:s   kos.änta:s           kaus.en'cam.   kaus.en'cana

Note that in Tocharian A masculine and feminine forms are identical. In Tocharian B, the same holds true in the singular; but the plural nominative and oblique of the feminine show a special ending in -na. Note also that the final -n' of the masculine plural nominative occasionally appears as -m..

38.2. Present Participle Mediopassive

Tocharian likewise exhibits a mediopassive participle with suffix A -ma:m. B -mane. This suffix joins to the present stem as determined by the given verb's present class, just as with active participle. This bears a striking similarity to mediopassive participles in other ancient Indo-European languages, and the chart below illustrates the likely evolution.

PIE   PToch   Tocharian   Comparanda
             
*-mH1no-   *-ma:næ-   A -ma:m.   Gk. -menos
        B -mane   Skt. -ma:na-

Tocharian however does not make a hard distinction between the active and mediopassive participles. The mediopassive participle appears with a nearly equal distribution between active and passive senses. Though the non-passive use of the mediopassive participle should strictly have middle sense (e.g. reflexive sense, or a sense of having impact back on the subject), in practice Tocharian makes little distinction and the mediopassive participle can take on a truly active sense. In particular, many verbs which predominantly (or exclusively) appear with active finite forms predominantly (or exclusively) exhibit mediopassive present participles; this particularly holds in Tocharian B among athematic presents of CLASSES I, V, VI, VII. On the other hand many verbs with mediopassive finite inflection (particularly CLASS III and IV presents) show an active present participle as their sole active form. Consider the following examples.

Root   Meaning   Class   Active 3sg.   MedP 3sg.   Act. Ptcple   MedP Ptcple
                         
A nas-   be   II   nas.           nasma:m.
B nes-   be   I   nesäm.           nesamane
                         
B yok-   drink   I   yokäm.           yokamane
                         
A sälp-   burn   I   sälpäs.           sälpma:m.
B sälp-   burn   I   salpäm.           sälpamane
                         
B kärst-   break   VI   karsnam.           kärsna:mane
                         
B pik-   write   VII   pin`käm.           pin`kemane
                         
A trik-   go astray   III       trikatär   trikant   trikama:m.
B trik-   go astray   III       triketär       trikemane
                         
A mäsk-   find oneself   III       mäskatär   mäskant   mäskama:m.
B mäsk-   find oneself   III       mäsketär   mäsken'ca   mäskemane

In contrast to the active present participle, the mediopassive participle generally does not inflect for person, case, and number (not at all in Tocharian A). In this regard the mediopassive participle functions much like the gerund of romance languages (in form and sense) or somewhat like the absolutive in Sanskrit (in form). That is, Tocharian often employs the mediopassive participle to denote an action secondary to the main verb, with the subject of lesser import and understood merely from context, without any formal marking to denote concordance between participle and subject.

38.3. Agent Nouns

Tocharian also possesses a number of different agent noun formations, that is, nouns built to a verbal root which express someone or something that performs the action of the root: e.g. in English doer, painter, runner, etc. A particularly noteworthy agent noun formation is nearly identical to that of the present active participle: A -nt B -nta. Like the gerundive, but unlike the present active participle, this agent noun may derive from either the present or the subjunctive stem; when derived from the present, this leads to complete identity in Tocharian A with the present active participle. The following chart provides some examples.

Root   Meaning   Pres. Class   Subj. Class   Agent Noun   Meaning
                     
A a:k-   lead   II       a:s'ant   coach
                     
A ko-   kill   VIII       kos.ant   executioner
B kau-   kill   VIII       kaus.enta   murderer
                     
A pärk-   ask   VIII       praks.ant   questioner, judge
B pärk-   ask   VIII       preks.enta   questioner, judge
                     
A pik-   write       V   pekant   painter
                     
A tsip-   dance       V   tsepant   dancer
                     
B we-   speak       VII   wen'enta   orator

The declension of these agent nouns follows the paradigm given above for the present active participle.

In English we find various different suffixes used to derive agent nouns. Beside the suffix -er applied to derive singer from the verb sing, we also find for example the suffix -ist applied to derive lobbyist from the verb lobby. Similarly Tocharian possesses a number of suffixes used to derive agent nouns from verbs. The following list provides a number of the most common suffixes.

  • B -mo: This suffix occurs as a method of deriving agent nouns only in Tocharian B, where it is added to either the present or the subjunctive stem. A linking vowel appears when the suffix is added, PIE *-e- > PToch *-y!ä- > B -ä-, and so this causes palatalization in the preceding consonant whenever possible. Take for example B ais'amo 'sage,' agent noun derived from B aik- 'know', a CLASS II present verb, via the intermediate stem *ais'ä-. Agent nouns of this type decline according to the pattern given for B klyomo 'noble' in Lesson 4, Section 18.
  • B -uki: This Tocharian B formation has a generalizing or repetitive connotation. It is employed with CLASS IX presents, with concomitant palatalization. For example: B kälyp- 'steal', agent noun käpas.s.uki 'thief.' These nouns follow the same basic declension as B klomo, but with -i instead of -o. The verbal nature of these agent nouns is transparent enough that Tocharian often employs them in lieu of participles. They also follow the declension in Lesson 4, Section 18, but with a change of the last B -o to B -i.
  • B -ca: This Tocharian B suffix, interestingly, attaches to the preterite participle, rather than the present stem. For example, kärsauca 'expert,' built to the preterite participle kärsau of the root kärs- 'know.' These agent nouns may also be employed in lieu of participles. They also follow the declension in Lesson 4, Section 18, but with a change of the last B -o to B -a.
  • A -ts B -tsa: These forms derive from PToch *-tsa:. The primary exemplar in this group of agent nouns is PIE *n.-g'neH3-tiH2 > PToch *æn-kna:-tsa: > *a:n-kna:-tsa: > *àkná:tsà > A a:kna:ts B akná:tsa (cf. Section 11.4.3 of Lesson 3). This illustrates the likely origin of this formation in the PIE suffix *-tiH2. These too follow the declension in Lesson 4, Section 18, but with a change in the last B -o to B -a.
  • A -nts B -ntsa: These forms derive from PToch *-ntsa: and are generally applied to the subjunctive stem of verbs. For example: A *wa:pants B wapa:ntsa 'weaver' from the Class v subjunctive of AB wa:p- 'weave.' The formal declension does not differ from the preceding.

While the formations B -uki and B -ca maintain enough of the original verbal force that they may play the role of participles, such is not the case for the other formations. For the most part, the remaining formations occur as the second member of compounds.

39. Optative & Imperfect

The Tocharian optative and imperfect share many features in their formation. In particular we find overlap in the suffixes applied to the root, and we likewise find overlap in the endings employed. Tocharian A employs the non-past endings (Lesson 2, Section 9.2) for the optative, as well as for the special imperfects A yem 'I was going' and A sem 'I was'. Tocharian A uses the past endings (Lesson 3, 14.2) in the remainder of the imperfect system. Tocharian B, by contrast, employs the same set of endings for both imperfect and optative, but with modifications: the singular active endings are the unique set 1 sg. -m, 2 sg. -t, 3 sg. -0*, and the remaining endings come from the non-past paradigm. This results in the following set of endings.

    A Imperfect   A Optative           B Imperfect   B Optative
Active                        
1 Sg.   -(w)a:   -m           -m   -m
2   -s.t   -t           -t   -t
3   -0* (-a:-)   -s.           -0*   -0*
                         
3 Du.   -enas                    
                         
1 Pl.   -mäs   -mäs           -m   -m
2   -s   -c           -cer   -cer
3   -r   -n'c           -m.   -m.
                         
Mediopassive                        
1 Sg.   -(w)e   -ma:r           -mar   -mar
2   -te   -ta:r           -tar   -tar
3   -t   -tär           -tär   -tär
                         
3 Du.                        
                         
1 Pl.   -mät   -mtär           -mt(t)är   -mt(t)är
2   -c   -cär           -tär   -tär
3   -nt   -ntär           -ntär   -ntär
39.1. i-Optative

The Tocharian languages both exhibit an optative formation. Interestingly, the formation does not derive directly from the verbal root, but rather from the subjunctive stem. This is unique among the archaic Indo-European languages. Both Tocharian A and B mark the optative by addition of the suffix AB -i-, which nevertheless shows continuity with the original PIE optative marker *-i(e)H1-. In Tocharian B this suffix regularly triggers palatalization of root-final -k-, -sk-, -t-, -n-, -s-; in Tocharian A, by contrast, the suffixe palatalizes only root-final -k- or -s-, and these only occasionally.

The verb AB yam- 'do, make' illustrates the formation.

i-Optative   A   B
Active        
1 Sg.   ya:mim   yami:m (ya:mim)
2   ya:mit   yami:t(o)
3   ya:mis.   ya:mi (yami:-ne)
         
1 Pl.   ya:mimäs   yami:yem (ya:myem)
2   ya:mic   yami:cer
3   ya:min'c   yami:yem. (ya:myem.)
         
Mediopassive        
1 Sg.   ya:mima:r   yami:mar
2   ya:mita:r   yami:tar
3   ya:mitär   yami:tär
         
1 Pl.   ya:mimtär   yami:yemt(t)är (ya:myemt(t)är)
2   ya:micär   yami:tär
3   ya:mintär   yami:yentär (ya:myentär)
39.2. oy-Optative

Tocharian B exhibits a special oy-optative. In Tocharian B the optative marker -i- combines with a (subjunctive) stem-final -a:- to yield -oy-. In Tocharian A, by contrast, the optative marker -i- substitues for the stem-final -a:-, and so no diphthong results.

The verb AB kärs- 'know' illustrates the corresponding formations in the respective languages.

oy-Optative   A   B
Active        
1 Sg.   kärsim   kärsoym
2   kärsit   kärsoyt(o)
3   kärsis.   karsoy (kärsoy-ne)
         
1 Pl.   kärsimäs   kärsoyem
2   kärsic   kärsoycer
3   kärsin'c   kärsoyem. (karsom.)
         
Mediopassive        
1 Sg.   kärsima:r   kärsoymar
2   kärsita:r   kärsoytar
3   kärsitär   kärsoytär
         
1 Pl.   kärsimtär   kärsoyemt(t)är
2   kärsicär   kärsoytär
3   kärsintär   kärsoyentär (kärsontär)
39.3. Imperfect

The two Tocharian languages exhibit distinct imperfect formations. Both languages largely build the imperfect onto the present stem of the verb. This implies that in principle there are as many imperfect formations as there are present classes. But while Tocharian A characterizes the imperfect by means of a suffix A -a:-, Tocharian B marks the imperfect with suffix B -i-, ultimately imported from the optative.

English provides a ready semantic parallel for the overlap between imperfect (a past indicative) and optative (an irrealis mood) in the guise of the auxiliary would. As the past tense of will, the auxiliary forms the basis of a past indicative in phrases such as (he said) he would go (the following day); at the same time (if) he would go serves as an irrealis formation with would construed as a modal auxiliary.

Tocharian A actually exhibits three separate types of imperfect formation. By far the most common derives the imperfect by appending the suffix -a:- to the present stem; the suffix is perhaps imported from the preterite. The stem-final consonant nevertheless often displays palatalization. The following chart compares present and imperfect forms for verbs from various present classes.

A Imperfect   Root   Present   Imperfect   Meaning   Notes
Class                    
I   pälk-   pälkäs.   päls'a:   shine    
II   ken-   kenen'c (3 pl.)   ken'a:   call    
    klyos-   klyos.tär (3 sg. mp.)   klyos.a:   hear   cf. 3 sg. pret. klyos.
III   kary-   karyen'c (3 pl.)   karya:   laugh    
IV                    
V   mänt-   mänta:m (1 sg.)   män'ca:we (1 sg. mp.)   violate    
VI   pälsk-   pältsän`ka:s.   pältsän's'a:   think    
VII                    
VIII   ku-   kus.   kus.a:   pour    
IX                    
X   klyos-   klyosnäs.   klyosäm.s.a:wa: (1 sg.)   hear   cf. Pres. II klyos-
XI                    
XII   ka:s.-   ka:s.in'tsi (inf.)   ka:s.in'n'a:   scold   formally equiv. to pret.

The second imperfect formation displayed by Tocharian A involves a small number of verbs which show an imperfect built to the subjunctive stem. In particular we find the root täkw- (meaning uncertain), with causative imperfect täkwa:s.a:(nt) built to the subjunctive stem; similarly tpuk- 'be hidden' with (perhaps causative) imperfect tpukn'a:nt; and tsa:k- 'shine' with (perhaps causative) imperfect tsa:kn'a:.

The third and final type of Tocharian A formation builds the imperfect directly onto the root. When the verb employs a suppletive paradigm, the imperfect nevertheless derives from the present stem. When possible, the initial consonant of the root undergoes palatalization. Some verbs exhibit a root-vowel -a:- in the imperfect; others show an s-suffix. Scholars generally term the former the strong imperfect, the latter weak. The following chart compares forms for verbs from various present classes.

A Imperfect   Root   Present   Imperfect   Meaning   Notes
Class                    
I   tsip-   tsipin'c (3 pl.)   s'epär (3 pl.)   dance    
    trän`k-   trän`käs.   cran`käs   say   -s-suff., cf. 3 sg. pret. we
II   pär-   pärtär (3 sg. mp.)   pa:rat   carry   cf. 3 sg. pret. ka:mat
V   läk-   lka:s.   lya:k   see    
VI   kärs-   kärsna:s.   s'a:rsar (3 pl.)   know    

In Tocharian B verbs forming the present according to CLASSES I--IV and VII--XII form the imperfect by simple addition of the marker -i- to the present stem. When the stem ends in a consonant, this is subject to palatalization. By contrast the imperfect marker -i- combines with a stem-final -a:-, when present, to yield -oy-. The pertains in particular to verbs with CLASS V (-a:-) and VI (-na:-) presents. The following chart provides some examples of the formation of the imperfect in Tocharian B corresponding to various present classes.

B Imperfect   Root   Present   Imperfect   Meaning   Notes
Class                    
I   klän`k-   klyen'ktär (3 sg. mp.)   klyen'ci   doubt    
II   pälk-   pálkäm.   pálys'i   shine    
III   spärk-   spärketär (3 sg. mp.)   spärki:tär (3 sg. mp.)   pass    
IV   ya:t-   yototär (3 sg. mp.)   yotitär (3 sg. mp.)   be able    
V   kwa:-   kwa:tär (3 sg. mp.)   kwoytär (3 sg. mp.)   call   oy-imperfect
VI   kärs-   kärsanatär (3 sg. mp.)   kärsanoyem. (3 pl.)   know   oy-imperfect
VII                    
VIII   prek-   preks.äm.   preks.i   ask    
IX   kälp-   kälpa:skau (1 sg.)   kälpa:s.s.i   attain    
X   päk-   päkna:star (2 sg. mp.)   päkna:s.s.itär (3 sg. mp.)   intend    
XI   a:ks-   aksaskau (1 sg.)   aksas.s.i   teach    
XII   käsk-   käskantär (3 sg. mp.)   käskan'n'i:tär (3 sg. mp.)   disperse    

The following table provides imperfect forms of the verb AB kärs- 'know'. Compare the paradigm with the oy-optative of the same verb illustrated in the preceding section.

oy-Imperfect   A   B
Active        
1 Sg.       kärsanoym
2       kärsanoyt
3       kärsanoy
         
1 Pl.       kärsanoyem (kärsnoyem)
2       kärsanoycer
3   s'a:rsar   kärsanoyem.
         
Mediopassive        
1 Sg.       kärsanoymar
2       kärsanoytar
3       kärsanoytär
         
1 Pl.       kärsanoyemt(t)är
2       kärsanoytär
3       kärsanoyentär

The imperfects A yem 'I was going' and A sem 'I was' merit special treatment in the two languages. The following chart provides their forms in full.

Imperfect   A i-   B i-           A nas-   B nes-
Active                        
1 Sg.   yem   yaim           s.em   s.aim (s.eym)
2   yet   yait           s.et   s.ait
3   yes.   yai (yey)           s.es.   s.ai (s.ey)
                         
1 Pl.   *yemäs   yeyem           s.emäs   s.eyem
2   *yec   yaicer (yeycer)           *s.ec   s.aicer (s.eycer)
3   yen'c   yeyem. (yem.)           s.en'c   s.eyem. (s.em.)

These forms generally represent archaic holdovers from the PIE optative. Consider the following evolution.

Root   PIE   Early PToch   Late PToch   A   B
                     
*H1es-   *H1s-yeH1-   *s.æ- + -yä-   *sæy-   se-   sai-
*H1ei-   *H1i-yeH1-   *yäyæ- + -yä-   *yæy-   ye-   yai-

In particular, it appears that the original optative stems with suffix *-yeH1- were subsequently recharacterized in the Proto-Tocharian period and extended once again with the optative *-i:- > *-yä- to mark the imperfect.

40. Comitative, Allative & Ablative
40.1. Comitative

The comitative case appears in both Tocharian languages and is marked by the suffix A -as's'äl B -mpa. This case expresses the general notion of accompaniment, whether the parties be situated together at the moment, about to come together, or together but on the point of parting ways. The English preposition with, in the context of accompaniment (as opposed to instrument, as in Section 30.1), displays a range of meaning similar to the Tocharian case: 'He's with me;' 'I have a meeting with my boss at 4pm;' 'I just came from a jog with my high school buddy;' etc. We also find Tocharian emphasizing the sense of the comitative case by use of adverbs: A s.yak B es.e, s.e, s.esa. Consider the following examples:

  • A Metraknas's'äl s.yak kunmässi B Maitreyem.mp=es.e s'amtsi 'come together with Maitreya;'
  • A klopas's'äl ritwo B laklempa rittowo 'associated with suffering;'
  • A a:kläs.lyesas's'äl s.yak metär B aklas.lyem.mpa s.esa maitare 'they went together with the students.'

We also find the comitative case employed in situations where equality or sameness is implied. Here English would often prefer as or to: 'That's the same as mine;' 'His portion should be equal to my own.' This typically occurs with the verb A ta:sk- B ta:s- 'equal.' Consider the examples below.

  • A tmas's'äl ta:skma:m. B tumpa tasemane '(being) equal to this;'
  • A on`kälme s'un.d.as's'äl ta:skma:m. '(being) the same as the trunk of an elephant;'
  • B pudn'äktentse tskertkanempa tasetär 'it is equivalent to the fetters of the Buddha.'
40.2. Allative

Both Tocharian languages display an allative case marked by the suffix A -ac B -s'(c). This case denotes the goal or destination of directed motion in its most general sense. This case plays a role similar to the prepositions to or toward in English, as in 'go to(ward) Rome;' or similar to ad in Latin: i:re ad Ro:mam 'go to(ward) Rome.' The most basic examples therefore pertain to physical motion:

  • A käs.s.inac kälk B käs.s.im.s'(c) masa 'went to the teacher;'
  • A Metraknac kumnäs. B Maitreyem.s'(c) känmas.s.äm. 'he comes to Maitreya;'
  • A ka:swac sa:spärtwu B kätses'(c) paspa:rtau 'directed toward Heaven.'

The notion of a destination of motion is naturally extended in Tocharian to the goal of metaphysical motion. Thus the allative occurs likewise with verbs denoting a shift of attention or some other imagined motion. Consider the following examples.

  • A s'omina:nac lka:ma:m. 'looking at the girl' or 'looking toward the girl;'
  • B la:ntsos' ta:(u) n'äskem 'week seek after the queen,' or simply 'we seek the queen;'
  • A mar cmolac ka:ckäc 'do not look forward to birth.'

We also find the allative employed in some other common uses. The most salient of these are presented in the list below.

  • After Verbs of Speaking: The allative often marks the person addressed or spoken to when accompanying verbs denoting the act of speaking. For example: A la:ntac trän`käs. B la:ntäs' wes.s.äm. 'speaks to the king;' A wen'a-nn-anac B wen'a:-nes'c 'spoke to him.' One less frequently finds the oblique case employed in such constructions instead of the allative.
  • Of Purpose or Limit: The destination denoted by the allative may denote the purpose of an action. For example: A moknac nis.pal ma: ta:s.äl 'one should not leave behind possessions for old age,' but more literally 'possessions ought not remain for the old.' The allative may also denote the limit or extent of an action: A kn'ukac wram. kälk 'he went in the water up to the neck.'
  • With Infinitival Purpose Clauses: We find the allative employed with the infinitive in clauses denoting purpose, akin to English 'so as to...' in the sense of 'in order to...' or 'with the purpose of... .' This occurs less frequently in Tocharian A than in Tocharian B. Consider the following examples: A ka:swoneyantu kropnäsiyac 'so as to store up virtue(s);' B ce wace s'lok n'äktets n'akte a:ks.=omte tsa:rwässis' cem. wnolmem. 'the god of gods recited there the second strophe so as to comfort these beings.'
40.3. Ablative

The ablative case is marked by the ending -äs., and less frequently -as. or -a:s., in Tocharian A and by the ending -mem. in Tocharian B. Though in Tocharian the ablative is a secondary case and therefore bears no historical relation to the Proto-Indo-European case of the same name in terms of morphology, the Tocharian case nevertheless plays roughly the same syntactic role. In its most basic sense, the ablative denotes the origin of some action; in terms of location it denotes the source or point of issue: e.g. in English 'He arrived from Tokyo,' or 'He set out from home.' More generally it marks an origin when some notion of separation is implied: 'The keel measures 30 feet from stem to stern.' In both Tocharian languages the ablative appears with a large number of verbs in this basic sense. The following list provides a few notable examples to give a sense of the wide range of use:

  • AB i- 'go': For example: A cmoläs. cmolac yma:m. 'going from birth to birth;' A s.uks.as. ris.ak kälk 'the r.s.i went out from the village;' B päst pas. n'y ostamem. 'get out of my house!'
  • AB lä-n-t- 'go out': For example: A La:n`k riyäs. läc 'he went out from the city Lan`ka:;' A was.täs. lantu B ostmem. ltu 'gone out from the house;' B cewas' ostamem. lnaskem 'we are going from the house to him.'
  • AB ka:rp- 'descend, step down': For example: A opläs. opla: ka:rnma:m. 'stepping from lotus to lotus;' B Tus.itmem. kaka:rpau '(having) decended from Tus.ita-heaven.'
  • A lit-, let- B lait- 'fall down': For example: n'äktan' n'äkcya:s wima:ntwäs. litatsy oki s.kita:ntär 'the gods appear as if to fall from the divine palaces;' B mai n'i ta:kam. laitaln'e wrocc-asa:nmem. lam.ntun'n'e 'will there be for me some great falling from the great kingly throne?'
  • AB wik- 'disappear': For example: A pontsa:m. kaps'in'n'äs. omlyi wiks.a: pekänta:p 'She cast out the heat from the entire body of the painter,' employing the causative of the root wik-; B okt bhu:mintamem. yaikos. kles'anma 'having driven away the afflictions from the eight states,' employing the causative preterite participle of the root wik-.
  • AB tsär- 'separate': For example: A ka:pn'eyäs. tsro 'separated from the beloved;' B larem.nmem. tsreln'e 'separation from loved ones.'

The origin or separation may be metaphysical in nature. The ablative may be used in conjunction with a wide range of expressions referring to emotions. Consider the following examples.

  • Source of Emotions: We find the ablative denoting the source of emotions. Consider the following examples: A puk a:n'mas. kärya:s. ta:s. pla:c s.akk ats päklyos.äs 'from the entire soul (and) out of (good) will hear ye now these counsels;' B po aram.s'mem. mantsanatär 'he laments from his whole heart.'
  • Expressions of Fear: We find the ablative used in conjunction with expressions of fear with the verb AB pärsk- 'be afraid of.' For example: A la:ntuneyäs. pärsko 'frightened of the royal majesty.' Tocharian A generally employs a genitive of the person feared. Similarly: B ma: tan' yolyai imaimem. prosko nesäm. 'you have no fear of the evil way.' Tocharian B rarely employs the ablative with expressions of fear with the verb pärsk-; instead we generally find the perlative. We also find the ablative with expressions of trepidation or caution as with the verb A pa:s- B pa:sk- 'beware of.' For example: A omäskenäs. ma: pa:s.tär '(if) he is not wary of the wicked;' B tom.mem. pa:s.s.at 'be ye wary of them.'
  • Expressions of Lack: We find in Tocharian A the ablative employed to denote absence or lack of something. For example: A tsarnäs. pesäs. wärcetse 'lacking hands (and) feet', or 'bereft of hands (and) feet.' Tocharian B, by contrast, generally employs the perlative in such constructions.

We also find the ablative employed in two additional important roles:

  • Standard of Comparison: In comparative constructions, such as English faster than a speeding bullet, Tocharian uses the ablative case to mark the standard of comparison or point of reference for the comparison (than a speeding bullet in our example). For example: A Vipul s.uläs. lyuta:r tpär 'higher than Vipula mountain;' A klyomina:s wramnäs. klyom 'noble(r) than the noble(st) thing.' Tocharian B employs the ablative of comparison in more restricted settings, generally preferring the perlative to mark the standard of comparison. In Tocharian B the ablative occurs in some figurae etymologicae, such as B ama:skaimem. ama:skai 'stronger than strong,' i.e. 'the absolute strongest.' We also find the ablative with B om.s.ap and olyapo 'more': B tumem. om.s.ap 'more than that.' Similarly, Tocharian B uses the ablative with B men`ki, a noun meaning 'lack,' to convey the sense 'less than.' For example: B wi laks.a:nän'c pan'äktemem. Nandentse men`ki s.ai 'Nanda had two Laks.an.as (characteristics) less than the Buddha,' or more literally 'To Nanda there was a lack of two Laks.an.as with respect to the Buddha.' Both Tocharian languages regularly employ the ablative in constructions with 'other': A a:lyek cwäs. 'other than you;' B temem. allek 'other than this.' The perlative may also serve in such constructions: B alyek tesa 'other than this.'
  • Telling Time: Tocharian B employs the ablative to denote the initial point in expressions of time. For example: B es.ke a:staryai pres'ceyaimem. te tän`ktsi 'to inhibit this from the cleansing time onward;' B s.kas men'antse mem. mante 'from the sixth of the month onward.'