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The Vocabulary of Tocharian Medical Manuscripts

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image of Asian Medicine

This paper will give a survey of the Tocharian medical vocabulary as known from fragments of manuscripts preserved in Buddhist monasteries along the Northern route of the Silk Road. The origin of the medical vocabulary reflects the influx of loanwords and cultural influences from neighbouring languages as well as the written lingua franca of the region, Sanskrit. However, different parts of the vocabulary reflect different types of vocabulary, e.g., indigenous words, calques, loan translations or borrowings. Tocharian medical texts represent, in almost all instances, translations from Sanskrit. This has of course influenced the vocabulary, even though traces of an indigenous tradition can be found in the vocabulary.


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