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Tocharian and Historical Sociolinguistics: Evidence from a Fragmentary Corpus

Melanie Malzahn
Published Online: 2017-06-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2017-0009


The two extinct languages Tocharian A and Tocharian B comprise a small text corpus that consists almost exclusively of fragments. Nevertheless, the corpus shows linguistic variation. This paper will argue that there are three reasons for genuine linguistic variation in the Tocharian corpus: diachronic variation, dialectal variation and sociolectal variation. Accordingly, it is not only possible to apply sociolinguistic methods to a fragmentary corpus, but it is even essential. Furthermore, the Tocharian material confirms patterns of sound change known from other sources and can therefore offer insights for the principles of language change.

Keywords : Historical sociolinguistics; Tocharian; Sound change


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About the article

Received: 2016-12-28

Accepted: 2017-04-07

Published Online: 2017-06-10

Published in Print: 2017-01-26

Citation Information: Open Linguistics, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 157–177, ISSN (Online) 2300-9969, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2017-0009.

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© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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