Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tocharian B Love Poetry

On pg. 22 I quote the famous love poem (Krause and Thomas 1960–64:2.72) as a text sample of Tocharian B:

[mā] ñ[i ci]sa noṣ śomo ñ[e]m [wno]lme [l]āre tāka, 
mā ra postaṃ cisa lāre mäsketär-ñ

But the translation I offered there (No person was dearer to me than you previously, nor will any be afterward) was not very precise. Pinault 20083:32 offers a more accurate rendering: "D'être vivant portant le nom d'humain, il n'en fut pas auparavant de plus cher pour moi que toi, et il n'en sera pas non plus dans l'avenir de plus cher que toi pour moi." śomo ñem wnolme literally means "a being (wnolme) the name (ñem) human (śomo)" and is the Tocharian reflex of the construction familiar from Skt. (āsīd rājā Nalo nāma) and elsewhere. Notice that Tocharian, like many languages, has no distinct comparative form of the adjective but just uses the positive form plus the standard of comparison in the perlative (ci-sa 'than you').

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