Tocharian B manuscript, c. 7th century AD
|Native to||Agni, Kucha, Turfan and Krorän|
|Extinct||9th century AD|
|Part of a series on|
Tocharian, also spelled Tokharian (// or //), is an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family. It is known from manuscripts dating from the 5th to the 8th century AD, which were found in oasis cities on the northern edge of the Tarim Basin (now part of Xinjiang in northwest China) and the Lop Desert. The discovery of this language family in the early 20th century contradicted the formerly prevalent idea of an east–west division of the Indo-European language family on the centum–satem isogloss, and prompted reinvigorated study of the family. Identifying the authors with the Tokharoi people of ancient Bactria (Tokharistan), early authors called these languages "Tocharian". Although this identification is now generally considered mistaken, the name has remained.
The documents record two closely related languages, called Tocharian A (also East Tocharian, Agnean or Turfanian) and Tocharian B (West Tocharian or Kuchean). The subject matter of the texts suggests that Tocharian A was more archaic and used as a Buddhist liturgical language, while Tocharian B was more actively spoken in the entire area from Turfan in the east to Tumshuq in the west. A body of loanwords and names found in Prakrit documents from the Lop Nor basin have been dubbed Tocharian C (Kroränian). A claimed find of ten Tocharian C texts written in Kharoṣṭhī script has been discredited.
The oldest extant manuscripts in Tocharian B are now dated to the 5th or even late 4th century AD, making Tocharian a language of Late Antiquity contemporary with Gothic, Classical Armenian and Primitive Irish.
Discovery and significance
The existence of the Tocharian languages and alphabet was not even suspected until archaeological exploration of the Tarim Basin by Aurel Stein in the early 20th century brought to light fragments of manuscripts in an unknown language, dating from the 6th to 8th centuries AD.
It soon became clear that these fragments were actually written in two distinct but related languages belonging to a hitherto unknown branch of Indo-European, now known as Tocharian:
- Tocharian A (Agnean or East Tocharian; natively ārśi) of Qarašähär (ancient Agni, Chinese Yanqi) and Turpan (ancient Turfan and Xočo), and
- Tocharian B (Kuchean or West Tocharian) of Kucha and Tocharian A sites.
Prakrit documents from 3rd-century Krorän and Niya on the southeast edge of the Tarim Basin contain loanwords and names that appear to come from a closely related language, referred to as Tocharian C.
The discovery of Tocharian upset some theories about the relations of Indo-European languages and revitalized their study. In the 19th century, it was thought that the division between centum and satem languages was a simple west–east division, with centum languages in the west. The theory was undermined in the early 20th century by the discovery of Hittite, a centum language in a relatively eastern location, and Tocharian, which was a centum language despite being the easternmost branch. The result was a new hypothesis, following the wave model of Johannes Schmidt, suggesting that the satem isogloss represents a linguistic innovation in the central part of the Proto-Indo-European home range, and the centum languages along the eastern and the western peripheries did not undergo that change.
Tocharian probably died out after 840 when the Uyghurs, expelled from Mongolia by the Kyrgyz, moved into the Tarim Basin. The theory is supported by the discovery of translations of Tocharian texts into Uyghur.
Some modern Chinese words may ultimately derive from a Tocharian or related source, eg. Old Chinese *mjit (蜜; mì) "honey", from proto-Tocharian *ḿət(ə) (where *ḿ is palatalized; cf. Tocharian B mit), cognate with English mead.
A colophon to a Buddhist manuscript in Old Turkish from 800 AD states that it was translated from Sanskrit via a twγry language. In 1907, Emil Sieg and Friedrich W. K. Müller guessed that this referred to the newly discovered language of the Turpan area. Sieg and Müller, reading this name as toxrï, connected it with the ethnonym Tócharoi (Ancient Greek: Τόχαροι, Ptolemy VI, 11, 6, 2nd century AD), itself taken from Indo-Iranian (cf. Old Persian tuxāri-, Khotanese ttahvāra, and Sanskrit tukhāra), and proposed the name "Tocharian" (German Tocharisch). Ptolemy's Tócharoi are often associated by modern scholars with the Yuezhi of Chinese historical accounts, who founded the Kushan empire. It is now clear that these people actually spoke Bactrian, an Eastern Iranian language, rather than the language of the Tarim manuscripts, so the term "Tocharian" is considered a misnomer.
In 1938, Walter Henning found the term "four twγry" used in early 9th-century manuscripts in Sogdian, Middle Iranian and Uighur. He argued that it referred to the region on the northeast edge of the Tarim, including Agni and Karakhoja but not Kucha. He thus inferred that the colophon referred to the Agnean language.
Although the term twγry or toxrï appears to be the Old Turkic name for the Tocharians, it is not found in Tocharian texts. The apparent self-designation ārśi appears in Tocharian A texts. Tocharian B texts use the adjective kuśiññe, derived from kuśi or kuči, a name also known from Chinese and Turkic documents. The historian Bernard Sergent compounded these names to coin an alternative term Arśi-Kuči for the family, recently revised to Agni-Kuči, but this name has not achieved widespread usage.
Tocharian is documented in manuscript fragments, mostly from the 8th century (with a few earlier ones) that were written on palm leaves, wooden tablets and Chinese paper, preserved by the extremely dry climate of the Tarim Basin. Samples of the language have been discovered at sites in Kucha and Karasahr, including many mural inscriptions.
Most of attested Tocharian was written in the Tocharian alphabet, a derivative of the Brahmi alphabetic syllabary (abugida) also referred to as North Turkestan Brahmi or slanting Brahmi. However a smaller amount was written in the Manichaean script in which Manichaean texts were recorded. It soon became apparent that a large proportion of the manuscripts were translations of known Buddhist works in Sanskrit and some of them were even bilingual, facilitating decipherment of the new language. Besides the Buddhist and Manichaean religious texts, there were also monastery correspondence and accounts, commercial documents, caravan permits, medical and magical texts, and one love poem.
Tocharian A and B
Tocharian A and B are significantly different, to the point of being mutually unintelligible. A common Proto-Tocharian language must precede the attested languages by several centuries, probably dating to the late 1st millennium BC.
Tocharian A is found only in the eastern part of the Tocharian-speaking area, and all extant texts are of a religious nature. Tocharian B, however, is found throughout the range and in both religious and secular texts. As a result, it has been suggested that Tocharian A was a liturgical language, no longer spoken natively, while Tocharian B was the spoken language of the entire area. On the other hand, it is possible that the lack of a secular corpus in Tocharian A is simply an accident, due to the smaller distribution of the language and the fragmentary preservation of Tocharian texts in general.
The hypothesized relationship of Tocharian A and B as liturgical and spoken forms, respectively, is sometimes compared with the relationship between Latin and the modern Romance languages, or Classical Chinese and Mandarin. However, in both of these latter cases the liturgical language is the linguistic ancestor of the spoken language, whereas no such relationship holds between Tocharian A and B. In fact, from a phonological perspective Tocharian B is significantly more conservative than Tocharian A, and serves as the primary source for reconstructing Proto-Tocharian. Only Tocharian B preserves the following Proto-Tocharian features: stress distinctions, final vowels, diphthongs, and o vs. e distinction. In turn, the loss of final vowels in Tocharian A has led to the loss of certain Proto-Tocharian categories still found in Tocharian B, e.g. the vocative case and some of the noun, verb and adjective declensional classes.
In their declensional and conjugational endings, the two languages innovated in divergent ways, with neither clearly simpler than the other. For example, both languages show significant innovations in the present active indicative endings but in radically different ways, so that only the second-person singular ending is directly cognate between the two languages, and in most cases neither variant is directly cognate with the corresponding Proto-Indo-European (PIE) form. The agglutinative secondary case endings in the two languages likewise stem from different sources, showing parallel development of the secondary case system after the Proto-Tocharian period. Likewise, some of the verb classes show independent origins, e.g. the class II preterite, which uses reduplication in Tocharian A (possibly from the reduplicated aorist) but long PIE ē in Tocharian B (possibly from the long-vowel perfect found in Latin lēgī, fēcī, etc.).
Tocharian B shows an internal chronological development; three linguistic stages have been detected. The oldest stage is attested only in Kucha. There are also the middle ('classicalʼ), and the late stage.
Based on 3rd-century Loulan Gāndhārī Prakrit documents containing Tocharian loanwords such as kilme 'district', ṣoṣthaṃga 'tax collector', and ṣilpoga 'document', T. Burrow suggested in the 1930s the existence of a third Tocharian language, which has been labelled Tocharian C or "Kroränian", "Krorainic", or "Lolanisch".
In 2018, ten texts written in the Kharoṣṭhī alphabet from Loulan were published and analyzed in the posthumous papers of Tocharologist Klaus T. Schmidt as being written in Tocharian C. Phonetically, Tocharian C shows preservation of the Proto-Indo-European labiovelar *kʷ in the word okuson- "ox", compared to more divergent reflexes in B okso and A ops-. Based on morphology, Tocharian C is more closely related to Tocharian B than to Tocharian A, as shown by the secondary cases in Tocharian C are more closely related to Tocharian B than to A (e.g. ablative A –Vṣ, B –meṃ, C –maṃ; 3rd person singular present suffix A –ṣ, B –ṃ, C –ṃ). These similarities suggest that there may have been a continuum of Tocharian dialects north of the Tarim River ranging from Tocharian B around Kucha to Tocharian C around Loulan/Kroraina. On September 15 and 16, 2019, a group of linguists led by Georges Pinault and Michaël Peyrot met in Leiden to examine Schmidt's transcriptions and the original texts, and concluded they had all been transcribed entirely incorrectly. While a full report of what languages these texts represent is not yet available, their conclusions appear to have discredited Schmidt's Tocharian C claims.
Phonetically, Tocharian languages are "centum" Indo-European languages, meaning that they merge the palatovelar consonants (*ḱ, *ǵ, *ǵʰ) of Proto Indo-European with the plain velars (*k, *g, *gʰ) rather than palatalizing them to affricates or sibilants. Centum languages are mostly found in western and southern Europe (Greek, Italic, Celtic, Germanic). In that sense, Tocharian (to some extent like the Greek and the Anatolian languages) seems to have been an isolate in the "satem" (i.e. palatovelar to sibilant) phonetic regions of Indo-European-speaking populations. The discovery of Tocharian contributed to doubts that Proto-Indo-European had originally split into western and eastern branches; today, the centum–satem division is not seen as a real familial division.
|Close||i /i/||ä /ɨ/||u /u/|
|Mid||e /e/||a /ə/||o /o/|
Tocharian A and Tocharian B have the same set of vowels, but they often do not correspond to each other. For example, the sound a did not occur in Proto-Tocharian. Tocharian B a is derived from former stressed ä or unstressed ā (reflected unchanged in Tocharian A), while Tocharian A a stems from Proto-Tocharian /ɛ/ or /ɔ/ (reflected as /e/ and /o/ in Tocharian B), and Tocharian A e and o stem largely from monophthongization of former diphthongs (still present in Tocharian B).
Diphthongs occur in Tocharian B only.
|Opener component is unrounded||ai /əi/||au /əu/|
|Opener component is rounded||oy /oi/|
The following table lists the reconstructed phonemes in Tocharian along with their standard transcription. Because Tocharian is written in an alphabet used originally for Sanskrit and its descendants, the transcription of the sounds is directly based on the transcription of the corresponding Sanskrit sounds. The Tocharian alphabet also has letters representing all of the remaining Sanskrit sounds, but these appear only in Sanskrit loanwords and are not thought to have had distinct pronunciations in Tocharian. There is some uncertainty as to actual pronunciation of some of the letters, particularly those representing palatalized obstruents (see below).
|Plosive||p /p/||t /t/||c /tɕ/?2||k /k/|
|Fricative||s /s/||ś /ɕ/||ṣ /ʃ/?3|
|Nasal||m /m/||n ṃ /n/1||ñ /ɲ/||ṅ /ŋ/4|
|Approximant||y /j/||w /w/|
|Lateral approximant||l /l/||ly /ʎ/|
- /n/ is transcribed by two different letters in the Tocharian alphabet depending on position. Based on the corresponding letters in Sanskrit, these are transcribed ṃ (word-finally, including before certain clitics) and n (elsewhere), but ṃ represents /n/, not /m/.
- The sound written c is thought to correspond to a palatal stop /c/ in Sanskrit. The Tocharian pronunciation /tɕ/ is suggested by the common occurrence of the cluster śc, but the exact pronunciation cannot be determined with certainty.
- The sound written ṣ corresponds to retroflex sibilant /ʂ/ in Sanskrit, but it seems more likely to have been a palato-alveolar sibilant /ʃ/ (as in English "ship"), because it derives from a palatalized /s/.
- The sound ṅ /ŋ/ occurs only before k, or in some clusters where a k has been deleted between consonants. It is clearly phonemic because sequences nk and ñk also exist (from syncope of a former ä between them).
Tocharian has completely re-worked the nominal declension system of Proto-Indo-European. The only cases inherited from the proto-language are nominative, genitive, accusative, and (in Tocharian B only) vocative; in Tocharian the old accusative is known as the oblique case. In addition to these primary cases, however, each Tocharian language has six cases formed by the addition of an invariant suffix to the oblique case — although the set of six cases is not the same in each language, and the suffixes are largely non-cognate. For example, the Tocharian word yakwe (Toch B), yuk (Toch A) "horse" < PIE *eḱwos is declined as follows:
|Case||Tocharian B||Tocharian A|
The Tocharian A instrumental case rarely occurs with humans.
When referring to humans, the oblique singular of most adjectives and of some nouns is marked in both varieties by an ending -(a)ṃ, which also appears in the secondary cases. An example is eṅkwe (Toch B), oṅk (Toch A) "man", which belongs to the same declension as above, but has oblique singular eṅkweṃ (Toch B), oṅkaṃ (Toch A), and corresponding oblique stems eṅkweṃ- (Toch B), oṅkn- (Toch A) for the secondary cases. This is thought to stem from the generalization of n-stem adjectives as an indication of determinative semantics, seen most prominently in the weak adjective declension in the Germanic languages (where it cooccurs with definite articles and determiners), but also in Latin and Greek n-stem nouns (especially proper names) formed from adjectives, e.g. Latin Catō (genitive Catōnis) literally "the sly one" < catus "sly", Greek Plátōn literally "the broad-shouldered one" < platús "broad".
In contrast, the verb verbal conjugation system is quite conservative. The majority of Proto-Indo-European verbal classes and categories are represented in some manner in Tocharian, although not necessarily with the same function. Some examples: athematic and thematic present tenses, including null-, -y-, -sḱ-, -s-, -n- and -nH- suffixes as well as n-infixes and various laryngeal-ending stems; o-grade and possibly lengthened-grade perfects (although lacking reduplication or augment); sigmatic, reduplicated, thematic and possibly lengthened-grade aorists; optatives; imperatives; and possibly PIE subjunctives.
In addition, most PIE sets of endings are found in some form in Tocharian (although with significant innovations), including thematic and athematic endings, primary (non-past) and secondary (past) endings, active and mediopassive endings, and perfect endings. Dual endings are still found, although they are rarely attested and generally restricted to the third person. The mediopassive still reflects the distinction between primary -r and secondary -i, effaced in most Indo-European languages. Both root and suffix ablaut is still well-represented, although again with significant innovations.
Tocharian verbs are conjugated in the following categories:
- Mood: indicative, subjunctive, optative, imperative.
- Tense/aspect (in the indicative only): present, preterite, imperfect.
- Voice: active, mediopassive, deponent.
- Person: 1st, 2nd, 3rd.
- Number: singular, dual, plural.
- Causation: basic, causative.
- Non-finite: active participle, mediopassive participle, present gerundive, subjunctive gerundive.
A given verb belongs to one of a large number of classes, according to its conjugation. As in Sanskrit, Ancient Greek and (to a lesser extent) Latin, there are independent sets of classes in the indicative present, subjunctive, perfect, imperative, and to a limited extent optative and imperfect, and there is no general correspondence among the different sets of classes, meaning that each verb must be specified using a number of principal parts.
The most complex system is the present indicative, consisting of 12 classes, 8 thematic and 4 athematic, with distinct sets of thematic and athematic endings. The following classes occur in Tocharian B (some are missing in Tocharian A):
- I: Athematic without suffix < PIE root athematic.
- II: Thematic without suffix < PIE root thematic.
- III: Thematic with PToch suffix *-ë-. Mediopassive only. Apparently reflecting consistent PIE o theme rather than the normal alternating o/e theme.
- IV: Thematic with PToch suffix *-ɔ-. Mediopassive only. Same PIE origin as previous class, but diverging within Proto-Tocharian.
- V: Athematic with PToch suffix *-ā-, likely from either PIE verbs ending in a syllabic laryngeal or PIE derived verbs in *-eh₂- (but extended to other verbs).
- VI: Athematic with PToch suffix *-nā-, from PIE verbs in *-nH-.
- VII: Athematic with infixed nasal, from PIE infixed nasal verbs.
- VIII: Thematic with suffix -s-, possibly from PIE -sḱ-?
- IX: Thematic with suffix -sk- < PIE -sḱ-.
- X: Thematic with PToch suffix *-näsk/nāsk- (evidently a combination of classes VI and IX).
- XI: Thematic in PToch suffix *-säsk- (evidently a combination of classes VIII and IX).
- XII: Thematic with PToch suffix *-(ä)ññ- < either PIE *-n-y- (denominative to n-stem nouns) or PIE *-nH-y- (deverbative from PIE *-nH- verbs).
Palatalization of the final root consonant occurs in the 2nd singular, 3rd singular, 3rd dual and 2nd plural in thematic classes II and VIII-XII as a result of the original PIE thematic vowel e.
The subjunctive likewise has 12 classes, denoted i through xii. Most are conjugated identically to the corresponding indicative classes; indicative and subjunctive are distinguished by the fact that a verb in a given indicative class will usually belong to a different subjunctive class.
In addition, four subjunctive classes differ from the corresponding indicative classes, two "special subjunctive" classes with differing suffixes and two "varying subjunctive" classes with root ablaut reflecting the PIE perfect.
- iv: Thematic with suffix i < PIE -y-, with consistent palatalization of final root consonant. Tocharian B only, rare.
- vii: Thematic (not athematic, as in indicative class VII) with suffix ñ < PIE -n- (palatalized by thematic e, with palatalized variant generalized).
- i: Athematic without suffix, with root ablaut reflecting PIE o-grade in active singular, zero-grade elsewhere. Derived from PIE perfect.
- v: Identical to class i but with PToch suffix *-ā-, originally reflecting laryngeal-final roots but generalized.
The preterite has 6 classes:
- I: The most common class, with a suffix ā < PIE Ḥ (i.e. roots ending in a laryngeal, although widely extended to other roots). This class shows root ablaut, with original e-grade (and palatalization of the initial root consonant) in the active singular, contrasting with zero-grade (and no palatalization) elsewhere.
- II: This class has reduplication in Tocharian A (possibly reflecting the PIE reduplicated aorist). However, Tocharian B has a vowel reflecting long PIE ē, along with palatalization of the initial root consonant. There is no ablaut in this class.
- III: This class has a suffix s in the 3rd singular active and throughout the mediopassive, evidently reflecting the PIE sigmatic aorist. Root ablaut occurs between active and mediopassive. A few verbs have palatalization in the active along with s in the 3rd singular, but no palatalization and no s in the mediopassive, along with no root ablaut (the vowel reflects PToch ë). This suggests that, for these verbs in particular, the active originates in the PIE sigmatic aorist (with s suffix and ē vocalism) while the mediopassive stems from the PIE perfect (with o vocalism).
- IV: This class has suffix ṣṣā, with no ablaut. Most verbs in this class are causatives.
- V: This class has suffix ñ(ñ)ā, with no ablaut. Only a few verbs belong to this class.
- VI: This class, which has only two verbs, is derived from the PIE thematic aorist. As in Greek, this class has different endings from all the others, which partly reflect the PIE secondary endings (as expected for the thematic aorist).
All except preterite class VI have a common set of endings that stem from the PIE perfect endings, although with significant innovations.
The imperative likewise shows 6 classes, with a unique set of endings, found only in the second person, and a prefix beginning with p-. This prefix usually reflects Proto-Tocharian *pä- but unexpected connecting vowels occasionally occur, and the prefix combines with vowel-initial and glide-initial roots in unexpected ways. The prefix is often compared with the Slavic perfective prefix po-, although the phonology is difficult to explain.
Classes i through v tend to co-occur with preterite classes I through V, although there are many exceptions. Class vi is not so much a coherent class as an "irregular" class with all verbs not fitting in other categories. The imperative classes tend to share the same suffix as the corresponding preterite (if any), but to have root vocalism that matches the vocalism of a verb's subjunctive. This includes the root ablaut of subjunctive classes i and v, which tend to co-occur with imperative class i.
Optative and imperfect
The optative and imperfect have related formations. The optative is generally built by adding i onto the subjunctive stem. Tocharian B likewise forms the imperfect by adding i onto the present indicative stem, while Tocharian A has 4 separate imperfect formations: usually ā is added to the subjunctive stem, but occasionally to the indicative stem, and sometimes either ā or s is added directly onto the root. The endings differ between the two languages: Tocharian A uses present endings for the optative and preterite endings for the imperfect, while Tocharian B uses the same endings for both, which are a combination of preterite and unique endings (the latter used in the singular active).
As suggested by the above discussion, there are a large number of sets of endings. The present-tense endings come in both thematic and athematic variants, although they are related, with the thematic endings generally reflecting a theme vowel (PIE e or o) plus the athematic endings. There are different sets for the preterite classes I through V; preterite class VI; the imperative; and in Tocharian B, in the singular active of the optative and imperfect. Furthermore, each set of endings comes with both active and mediopassive forms. The mediopassive forms are quite conservative, directly reflecting the PIE variation between -r in the present and -i in the past. (Most other languages with the mediopassive have generalized one of the two.)
The present-tense endings are almost completely divergent between Tocharian A and B. The following shows the thematic endings, with their origin:
|Original PIE||Tocharian B||Tocharian A||Notes|
|PIE source||Actual form||PIE source||Actual form|
|1st sing||*-o-h₂||*-o-h₂ + PToch -u||-āu||*-o-mi||-am||*-mi < PIE athematic present|
|2nd sing||*-e-si||*-e-th₂e?||-'t||*-e-th₂e||-'t||*-th₂e < PIE perfect; previous consonant palatalized; Tocharian B form should be -'ta|
|3rd sing||*-e-ti||*-e-nu||-'(ä)ṃ||*-e-se||-'ṣ||*-nu < PIE *nu "now"; previous consonant palatalized|
|1st pl||*-o-mos?||*-o-mō?||-em(o)||*-o-mes + V||-amäs|
|2nd pl||*-e-te||*-e-tē-r + V||-'cer||*-e-te||-'c||*-r < PIE mediopassive?; previous consonant palatalized|
|3rd pl||*-o-nti||*-o-nt||-eṃ||*-o-nti||-eñc < *-añc||*-o-nt < PIE secondary ending|
Comparison to other Indo-European languages
|Tocharian vocabulary (sample)|
|English||Tocharian A||Tocharian B||Ancient Greek||Sanskrit||Latin||Proto-Germanic||Gothic||Old Irish||Proto-Slavic||Proto-Indo-European|
|one||sas||ṣe||heîs, hen||sa(kṛ́t)||semel[a]||*simla[a]||simle||samail[a]||*sǫ-[a]||*sḗm > PToch *sems|
|four||śtwar||śtwer||téttares, téssares||catvā́ras, catúras||quattuor||*fedwōr||fidwōr||cethair||*četỳre||*kʷetwóres|
|to milk||mālkā||mālkant||amélgein||–||mulgēre||*melkaną||miluks||bligid (MIr)||*melzti||*h₂melǵ-eye|
- Cognate, with shifted meaning
- Borrowed cognate, not native.
In traditional Indo-European studies, no hypothesis of a closer genealogical relationship of the Tocharian languages has been widely accepted by linguists. However, lexicostatistical and glottochronological approaches suggest the Anatolian languages, including Hittite, might be the closest relatives of Tocharian. As an example, the same Proto-Indo-European root *h₂wrg(h)- (but not a common suffixed formation) can be reconstructed to underlie the words for 'wheel': Tocharian A wärkänt, Tokharian B yerkwanto and Hittite ḫūrkis.
|Part of a series on|
- Mallory, J.P. (2010). "Bronze Age languages of the Tarim Basin" (PDF). Expedition. 52 (3): 44–53.
- Krause, Todd B.; Slocum, Jonathan. "Tocharian Online: Series Introduction". University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Tokharian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Adams, Douglas Q. "'Tocharian C' Again: The Plot Thickens and the Mystery Deepens". Language Log. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
- Kim, Ronald I. (2018). "One hundred years of re-reconstruction: Hittite, Tocharian, and the continuing revision of Proto-Indo-European". In Rieken, Elisabeth (ed.). 100 Jahre Entzifferung des Hethitischen. Morphosyntaktische Kategorien in Sprachgeschichte und Forschung. Akten der Arbeitstagung der Indogermanischen Gesellschaft vom 21. bis 23. September 2015 in Marburg. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag. p. 170 (footnote 44). Retrieved 13 September 2019.
- Mallory & Mair (2000), pp. 67, 68, 274.
- Deuel, Leo. 1970. Testaments of Time, ch. XXI, pp. 425–455. Baltimore, Pelican Books. Orig. publ. Knopf, NY, 1965.
- Renfrew (1990), pp. 107–108.
- Mallory & Mair (2000), pp. 281–282.
- Boltz (1999), p. 87; Schuessler (2007), p. 383; Baxter (1992), p. 191 harvp error: no target: CITEREFBaxter1992 (help); GSR 405r; Proto-Tocharian and Tocharian B forms from Peyrot (2008), p. 56 harvp error: no target: CITEREFPeyrot2008 (help).
- Mallory & Mair (2000), pp. 280–281.
- Mallory & Mair (2000), pp. 281.
- Beckwith (2009), pp. 380–383.
- Adams, Douglas Q. (2001). "Tocharian". In Garry, Jane; Rubino, Carl R. Galvez; Bodomo, Adams B.; Faber, Alice; French, Robert (eds.). Facts about the World's Languages: An Encyclopedia of the World's Major Languages, Past and Present. H.W. Wilson. p. 748. ISBN 978-0-8242-0970-4.
Also arguing against equating the Tocharians with the Tocharoi is the fact that the actual language of the Tocharoi, when attested to in the second and third centuries of our era, is indubitably Iranian.
- Hansen, Valerie (2012). The Silk Road. Oxford University Press. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-19-515931-8.
In fact, we know that the Yuezhi used Bactrian, an Iranian language written in Greek characters, as an official language. For this reason, Tocharian is a misnomer; no extant evidence suggests that the residents of the Tocharistan region of Afghanistan spoke the Tocharian language recorded in the documents found in the Kucha region.
- Henning (1949), p. 161: "At the same time we can now finally dispose of the name 'Tokharian'. This misnomer has been supported by three reasons, all of them now discredited."
- Mallory, J.P.; Adams, Douglas Q., eds. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. London: Fitzroy Dearborn. p. 509. ISBN 978-1-884964-98-5.
- Henning (1938), pp. 559–561.
- Hansen (2012), pp. 71–72. sfnp error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFHansen2012 (help)
- Sergent, Bernard (2005) . Les Indo-Européens: Histoire, langues, mythes (2nd ed.). Payot. pp. 113–117.
- Daniels (1996), p. 531.
- Campbell (2000), p. 1666.
- "Fragments of the Tocharian", Andrew Leonard, How the World Works, Salon.com, January 29, 2008. Archived 2008-02-01 at the Wayback Machine
- Wright, J.C. (1999). "Review: Fragments of the Tocharian A Maitreyasamiti-Nāṭaka of the Xinjiang Museum, China. In Collaboration with Werner Winter and Georges-Jean Pinault by Ji Xianlin". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. 62 (2): 367–370. doi:10.1017/S0041977X00017079. JSTOR 3107526.
- Ji, Xianlin; Winter, Werner; Pinault, Georges-Jean (1998). Fragments of the Tocharian A Maitreyasamiti-Nataka of the Zinjiang Museum, China. Mouton De Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-014904-3.
- Kim, Ronald (2006). "Tocharian". In Brown, Keith (ed.). Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (2nd ed.). Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-08-044299-0.
- M. Peyrot, Variation and Change in Tocharian B, Amsterdam and New York, 2008
- Michaël Peyrot (2015), TOCHARIAN LANGUAGE iranicaonline.org
- Mallory, J. P. "The Problem of Tocharian Origins: An Archaeological Perspective" (PDF). Sino-Platonic Papers. 259.
- Zimmer, Klaus T; Zimmer, Stefan; Dr. Ute Hempen (2019). K. T. Schmidt: Nachgelassene Schriften (in German). ISBN 9783944312538. OCLC 1086566510.
- "Language Log » Tocharian C: its discovery and implications". Retrieved 2019-04-04.
- Renfrew (1990), p. 107.
- Baldi, Philip The Foundations of Latin (1999), pg 39
- Ringe, Donald A. (1996). On the Chronology of Sound Changes in Tocharian: Volume I: From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Tocharian. New Haven, CT: American Oriental Society.
- Beekes (1995), p. 92.
- Beekes (1995), p. 20.
- Douglas Q. Adams, "On the Development of the Tocharian Verbal System", Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 98, No. 3 (Jul. – Sep., 1978), pp. 277- 288.
- Holm, Hans J. (2008). "The Distribution of Data in Word Lists and its Impact on the Subgrouping of Languages", In: Christine Preisach, Hans Burkhardt, Lars Schmidt-Thieme, Reinhold Decker (Editors): Data Analysis, Machine Learning, and Applications. Proc. of the 31st Annual Conference of the German Classification Society (GfKl), University of Freiburg, March 7–9, 2007. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg-Berlin.
- Václav Blažek (2007), "From August Schleicher to Sergej Starostin; On the development of the tree-diagram models of the Indo-European languages". Journal of Indo-European Studies 35 (1&2): 82–109.
- Bouckaert, Remco; Lemey, Philippe; Dunn, Michael; Greenhill, Simon J.; Alekseyenko, Alexander V.; Drummond, Alexei J.; Gray, Russell D.; Suchard, Marc A.; Atkinson, Quentin D. (2012). "Mapping the Origins and Expansion of the Indo-European Language Family". Science. 337 (6097): 957–960. Bibcode:2012Sci...337..957B. doi:10.1126/science.1219669. PMC 4112997. PMID 22923579.
- Adams, Douglas Q. (1988), Tocharian historical phonology and morphology, New Haven, CT: American Oriental Society, ISBN 978-0-940490-71-0.
- Adams, Douglas Q. A Dictionary of Tocharian B, 2nd revised and greatly enlarged edn. Amsterdam–NY: Rodopi, 2013.
- Baxter, William H. (1992), A Handbook of Old Chinese Phonology, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, ISBN 978-3-11-012324-1.
- Beckwith, Christopher (2009), Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Asia from the Bronze Age to the Present, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0-691-15034-5.
- Beekes, Robert S.P. (1995), Comparative Indo-European linguistics: an Introduction, J. Benjamins, ISBN 978-90-272-2151-3.
- Boltz, William (1999), "Language and Writing", in Loewe, Michael; Shaughnessy, Edward L. (eds.), The Cambridge History of Ancient China, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 74–123, ISBN 978-0-521-47030-8.
- Campbell, George (2000), Compendium of the World's Languages Second Edition: Volume II Ladkhi to Zuni, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-20298-5.
- Carling, Gerd (2009). Dictionary and Thesaurus of Tocharian A. Volume 1: a-j. (in collaboration with Georges-Jean Pinault and Werner Winter), Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3-447-05814-8.
- Daniels, Peter (1996), The Worlds Writing Systems, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-507993-0.
- Hansen, Valerie (2012), The Silk Road: A New History, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-515931-8.
- Henning, W.B. (1938), "Argi and the 'Tokharians'", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 9 (3): 545–571, doi:10.1017/S0041977X0007837X, JSTOR 608222.
- —— (1949), "The name of the 'Tokharian' language" (PDF), Asia Major, New Series, 1: 158–162.
- Karlgren, Bernhard (1957), Grammata Serica Recensa, Stockholm: Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, OCLC 1999753.
- Krause, Wolfgang; Thomas, Werner (1960), Tocharisches Elementarbuch, Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag.
- Lévi, Sylvain (1913). "Tokharian Pratimoksa Fragment". The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, pp. 109–120.
- Mallory, J.P.; Mair, Victor H. (2000), The Tarim Mummies, London: Thames & Hudson, ISBN 0-500-05101-1.
- Malzahn, Melanie (ed.) (2007). Instrumenta Tocharica. Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, ISBN 978-3-8253-5299-8.
- Peyrot, Michaël. Variation and Change in Tocharian B. Amsterdam: Rodopoi, 2008.
- Pinault, Georges-Jean (2008). Chrestomathie tokharienne: Textes et grammaire. Leuven-Paris: Peeters (Collection linguistique publiée par la Société de Linguistique de Paris, no. XCV), ISBN 978-90-429-2168-9.
- Renfrew, Colin (1990), Archaeology and Language: The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins, CUP Archive, ISBN 978-0-521-38675-3.
- Ringe, Donald A. (1996). On the Chronology of Sound Changes in Tocharian: Volume I: From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Tocharian. New Haven, CT: American Oriental Society.
- Schmalsteig, William R. (1974). "Tokharian and Baltic." Lituanus. v. 20, no. 3.
- Schuessler, Axel (2007), ABC Etymological Dictionary of Old Chinese, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 978-0-8248-2975-9.
- Winter, Werner (1998). "Tocharian." In Ramat, Giacalone Anna and Paolo Ramat (eds). The Indo-European languages, 154–168. London: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-06449-1.
- Lubotsky A.M. (1998), Tocharian loan words in Old Chinese: Chariots, chariot gear, and town building. In: Mair V.H. (Ed.) The Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Peoples of Eastern Central Asia. Washington D.C.: Institute for the Study of Man. 379-390. http://hdl.handle.net/1887/2683
- Lubotsky A.M. (2003), Turkic and Chinese loan words in Tocharian. In: Bauer B.L.M., Pinault G.-J. (Eds.) Language in time and space: A Festschrift for Werner Winter on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 257-269. http://hdl.handle.net/1887/16336
- Miliūtė-Chomičenkienė, Aleta. “Baltų-slavų-tocharų leksikos gretybės” [ETYMOLOGICAL PARALLELS IN BALTIC, SLAVIC AND TOCHARIAN IN “NAMES OF ANIMALS AND THEIR BODY PARTS"]. In: Baltistica XXVI (2): 135-143. 1990. DOI: 10.15388/baltistica.26.2.2075 (In Lithuanian)
- Tocharian alphabet (from Omniglot)
- Thesaurus Indogermanischer Text- und Sprachmaterialien (TITUS):
- Mark Dickens, "Everything you always wanted to know about Tocharian"
- Tocharian Online by Todd B. Krause and Jonathan Slocum, free online lessons at the Linguistics Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin
- Online dictionary of Tocharian B, based upon D. Q. Adams's A Dictionary of Tocharian B (1999)
- Tocharian B Swadesh list (From Wiktionary)
- Comprehensive Edition of Tocharian Manuscripts, University of Vienna, with images, transcriptions and (in many cases) translations and other information.
- Sieg, E.; Siegling, W. (1921). Tocharische Sprachreste, 1.A: Transcription. Walter de Gruyter. Transcriptions of Tocharian A manuscripts.
- Kim, Ronald I. (2012). "Introduction to Tocharian" (PDF). Institute for Comparative Linguistics, Charles University.