The Tocharians composed verse in hierarchical structures, with the verse dominating major cola, and the major colon in turn dominating one or more minor cola. After providing much-needed descriptive data on Tocharian meter, we assess the evidence for the distinction between major vs. minor caesurae in some of the most popular Tocharian B meters, finding support for the commonly assumed colometries in some but not all cases. Of particular interest is the recurring 4+3 syllable colon, since the violability of its internal (putatively minor) caesurae varies significantly across meters. We argue that this varying strictness is indeed a function of the meter as opposed to position in the verse, verse length, idiosyncrasies of certain texts, and so forth. We then use a systematic prose comparison method to test the meters for bridges, finding evidence for monosyllable avoidance in (certain) colon-final positions, despite and overall preference for monosyllables in verse vis-à-vis prose. Finally, we discuss the implications that our study has for the restoration of fragmentary Tocharian texts.

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Post-print Article

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© 2014 Brill. Article first published online: 2014.

DOI: 10.1163/22125892-00201005

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Bross, Christoph, Dieter Gunkel, and Kevin M. Ryan. "Caesurae, Bridges, and the Colometry of Four Tocharian B Meters." Indo-European Linguistics 2, no.1 (2014): 1-23. doi: 10.1163/22125892-00201005.