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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Studies in Tocharian Phonology above the Word-Level

  • Author(s): Koller, Bernhard
  • Advisor(s): Melchert, H. Craig
  • et al.

The present work is a collection of studies on the Tocharian languages that focuses on

the phonological properties of units larger than the word. The first chapter involves a study

of the segmental properties of external sandhi in Tocharian A couched in the framework of

Optimality Theory. A philological study involving the Tocharian br ̄ahm ̄ı alphabet reveals

that there exists a correlation between external sandhi and the orthographic strategy used

to render a word-final consonant. The second chapter provides an analysis of the prosodic

relationship between clitics and their hosts, showing that these elements form a prosodic

constituent intermediate between the word and the phrase. This is the case both in Tocharian

A as well as in Tocharian B. The final chapter addresses two different aspects of the internal

structure of Tocharian Wh-words. First, the prosodic analysis employed for clitics and

their hosts is extended to Wh-words in Tocharian B, making it possible to account for

their otherwise aberrant accentuation as well as some of their segmental properties. The

second part of the chapter investigates the nature of indefinites in Tocharian A, showing

that, contrary to the descriptions in most handbooks, the attested forms do not belong to

a single paradigm. Instead, we are dealing with two separate sets of Wh-words doubling

as indefinites, a fact that has been obscured by a phonological process that renders one set

identical to demonstrative pronouns.

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