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PhD defence

Watañi lāntaṃ

  • F. Dragoni
Wednesday 13 April 2022
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof. A. Lubotsky


This dissertation offers the first comprehensive analysis of the linguistic contacts between Tocharian A and B and Khotanese and Tumshuqese. Tocharian A and B are two related Indo-European languages once spoken in the north of the Tarim basin, in today’s Xīnjiāng Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China. The extant manuscripts can be dated approximately from the 5th to the 10th c. CE. Khotanese and Tumshuqese are two related Eastern Middle Iranian languages once spoken in the south and in the north-west of the Tarim basin. These two languages are known from manuscripts that can be dated from the 5th to the 10th c. CE as well.

One of the conclusions of this dissertation is that the influence of Khotanese and Tumshuqese on Tocharian was much more extensive than previously thought and it spanned over almost two millennia, from the early Iron Age until the extinction of the four languages at the end of the first millennium CE. It is possible to distinguish this group of loanwords from the loanwords from Old Steppe Iranian, an unidentified Old Iranian language only known from loanwords into Tocharian, by means of precise sound correspondences. Moreover, the relative chronology of the Khotanese and Tumshuqese loanwords in Tocharian allows a unique glimpse into the linguistic prehistory of the two Eastern Middle Iranian languages.

PhD dissertations

Approximately one week after the defence, PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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