Tocharian

Puzzle by S.A. Burlak. Adaptation by Mirjam Fried.

Tocharian is an ancient language that was spoken in the Chinese province of Xinjiang in the 6th – 8th centuries C.E. Below are some words written in the "Tocharian A" script.  Like modern alphabets, this writing system is based on sounds (phonetics). Your task will be to determine how the writing system expresses the sounds. Be careful — it’s tricky, but perfectly consistent. To the right of each word, you will find its phonetic transcription and its meaning in English.

(Note: the sound written as “ä” is a special vowel of Tocharian A. It is very different than the vowel written as “a”):

Tocharian word

Transcription

English Meaning

lap

"head"

spaltäk

"intention"

maskäs

"lives"

pal

"law"

tmäk

"therefore"

pkäl

"bring!"

täm

"that"

sasak

"only, alone"

slamas

"fires"

pkal

"must be baked"

tamät

"he was born"

"jumping"

säksäk

"sixty"

"sit down!"

pat

"or"

Your task: Fill in the blanks, either the Tocharian or the transcription. Be sure to draw the Tocharian characters carefully. You can do it!