A few remarks on the imperfect forms in Tocharian A.

2014. №2, 27-45

Il’ja B. Itkin
Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 107031, Russia;
National Research University «Higher School of Economics», Moscow, 101000, Russia;


The paper is dedicated to the problem of two past tenses in the Tocharian languages conventionally named «imperfect» and «preterit». It is demonstrated that the existing descriptions of semantics and usage of these two forms are unsatisfactory and the treatment of many verbal forms in Tocharian A, in which the formation of imperfect and preterit can follow the same pattern, is arbitrary. The paper introduces a distributional-syntactic criterion of distinction between imperfect and preterit in Tocharian A and proposes a new interpretation of some verbal forms and their contexts. The question of why the imperfect of the verb «to go» behaves so strange is particularly regarded.