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Tocharian languages

Tocharian is one of the most obscure branches of the Indo-European language group. The two languages, Tocharian A and Tocharian B, that made up this group have both been long extinct.

Both languages were once spoken in eastern Asia, to the northwest of China. Chinese records of the time mention this group of nomadic barbarians.

Documents written in the two languages with the Brahmi[?] alphabet were found only around the end of the 19th century. Since they contain mainly Buddhist and Manichaen religious texts, they shed little light on the people who spoke the languages, and the name "Tocharian" itself is highly speculative.

The Tocharian languages are a major geographic exception to the usual pattern of Indo-European branches, being the only one that spread directly east from the theoretical Indo-European starting point in southern Russia.



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