Kyushu University Academic Staff Educational and Research Activities Database
List of Presentations
Toshiya Tanaka Last modified date:2021.07.29

Professor / Department of Linguistic Environment / Department of Linguistic Environment / Faculty of Languages and Cultures

1. English uncouth ’rude, socially unacceptable’.
2. Toshiya Tanaka, Osthoff’s law in Germanic and some aspects of its relative chronology, LVC (Language Variation and Change) Network 2017, 2017.05, [URL], Osthoff’s law refers to the sound change v: > v / __ RC, observable in most Indo-European languages, except for Indo-Iranian and Tocharian. This sound law was first discovered by Hermann Osthoff at the end of the 19th century. As Ringe (2006: 75-78) illustrates, some nominal forms in Germanic show clear effects of this sound law. However, the relationship between verbal forms in Germanic and Osthoff's law has so far been only infrequently dealt with by scholars. This presentation provides various verbal forms that have something to do with Osthoff' law in Germanic, proposing a significant scheme of relative chronology in relation to the sound law at issue..
3. Toshiya Tanaka, Verner's law effects and analogical levelling, LVC (Language Variation and Change) Network 2016, 2016.05, [URL], This presentation points out that there are some serious problems about the traditional understanding of the relationship between Verner's law effects and analogical levelling in Old Germanic languages such as Gothic, Old English, Old High German, Old Ice.
4. Toshiya Tanaka, A Scheme for a Morphological Conflation Approach to the Origin and Development of the Germanic Strong and Preterite-Present Verbs, Japan Society of Historical Linguistics (日本歴史言語学会), 2015.12, The aim of this oral presentation is to offer an outline sketch of a ‘morphological conflation theory’ which aims to explain how the system of the Germanic strong and preterite-present verbs grew out of the Proto-Indo-European verb system.
The current talk will focus on the fact that, although the preterite tense formations of the strong verbs and the present tense formations of the preterite-present verbs in ancient Germanic languages and/or Proto-Germanic tend to be similar in form, there seem to be two crucial morpho(phono)logical differences:

(1) Class IV and V plural formations of these two distinct verbs at issue show an outstanding morphological discrepancy, as represented below:
  strong preterite plurals    preterite-present present plurals
having a long vowel in the root pointing to an original zero-grade radix
Class IV *bǣr-un ‘they bore, carried’ *skul-un ‘they owe, shall, should’
     < pre-PGmc. *bhēr-n̥t   < pre-PGmc. *skl̥-n̥t
Class V *mǣt-un ‘they measured’ *nuǥ-un ‘they are enough, suffice’
  < pre-PGmc. *mēd-n̥t   < pre-PGmc. *nek̂-n̥t

(2) As far as Gothic is concerned, strong class I-VI verbs do not exhibit any Verner’s law effect in their preterite plural formations (e.g. class V preterite plural wesun ‘they were’ but not **wezun), whereas two of the preterite-present verbs retain forms with an outcome of Verner’s law (e.g. áigum and áigun ‘we/they possess’ as well as þaúrbum, þaúrbuþ, þaúrbun ‘we/you/they need’).

The proposed ‘morphological conflation approach’ attempts to give a consistent, explanatory account of these two apparently non-interrelated phenomena in the following two terms:

(3) The content of the morphological conflation theory in question
A: The PGmc. strong preterite tense formation was created from an amalgamation of two types of the imperfect active (i.e. the acrostatic 1 and amphikinetic types) and the reduplicating perfect active.
B: The PGmc. preterite-present present tense formation system arose from a mixture of the athematic present middle (more exactly, the medium tantum or root stative-intransitive present; or otherwise, the reduplicating perfect middle) and the reduplicating perfect active.

Despite the necessarily limited empirical evidence that is available, only through such a conflation theory does it seem possible to account for the attested Germanic strong and preterite-present verb formations.
5. Toshiya Tanaka, The Laryngeal Theory and the Narten Hypothesis: Towards an Explanation of Some Morphophonological Characteristics of the Germanic Strong Verbs, LVC (Language Variation and Change) Reseach Forum 2015, 2015.05, [URL], There are some morphophonological differences between strong and preterite-present verbs in Germanic, which have long remained theoretically unexplained. Although, at first glance, they appear mutually unrelated, some theory might give solutions to them at the same time, disclosing their invisible or concealed interrelationship. A proposed ‘morphological conflation theory’, which might shed a new light on a hidden interrelation between those issues, consists of the following two assumptions (cf. Tanaka 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013ab, 2015):
(1) Gmc. strong (at least class I-VI) verbs evolved from a mix of the PIE reduplicating perfect active and athematic root imperfect active (either the amphikinetic or acrostatic 1 = Narten type).
(2) Gmc. preterite-present verbs developed from an amalgamation of the PIE reduplicating perfect active and athematic present middle (or reduplicating perfect middle).
The assumption in (1) presupposes that the Narten or acrostatic 1 present (and imperfect) formation was at least to some extent productive in the PIE verbal system. In other words, it does not expect that the Narten present/imperfect paradigm was limited only to a small number of PIE verbs. It remains a debatable problem that no IE language shows the Narten or acrostatic 1 present/imperfect inflection in a productive fashion. In Vedic Sanskrit, one of the oldest documented IE languages, for example, only a small number of verbs exhibit Narten present/imperfect active forms (cf. Gotō 2013: pp.102-103 §
The hypothesis spelled out in (1) and (2) might appear to be simple and elegant, but it is a critical problem that no IE language directly attests the Narten (or acrostatic 1) present/imperfect inflection in a productive manner. Nevertheless, this situation is comparable to how the laryngeal theory had been exposed to criticisms since de Saussure’s (1879) original proposal. It had taken much time before the laryngeal theory was accepted widely, for no daughter lE language showed direct evidence of the three distinctive laryngeal phonemes, *h1, *h2, and *h3. (Hittite velar or pharyngeal fricatives h and hh reflect mainly *h2, possibly along with *h3.) Yet the theory was finally accepted widely at the beginning of the 21st century, probably because around that time sufficient amount of evidence for it had been gathered up and because the laryngeal theory consists of simple and elegant assumptions and is capable of disclosing hidden interrelationship of various apparently independent phenomena observable in IE languages.
As for the Narten hypothesis, this talk claims that the Kümmel-Melchert interpretation of a Narten present/imperfect is plausible: A Narten present/imperfect is a derivative formation with an é-infix and a type of characterised present/imperfect. If this idea is correct, any PIE verbal root (either an atelic/durative or telic/momentary radix) was at least potentially capable of deriving a Narten present/imperfect by means of an é-infix. Thereafter, the pre-PGmc. verbal system might have inherited a significant number of Narten presents and imperfects from the PIE system, so Narten imperfects could contribute to newly creating the system of strong preterites, whilst Narten presents had become extinct before the PGmc. period.
In any case, in order to make the case that the Narten present/imperfect formation was at least potentially productive in the PIE verbal system, independent pieces of supporting evidence for the Narten present/imperfect ought to be piled up, just as evidence for the laryngeal theory used to be gathered together during the last century..
6. Toshiya Tanaka, Remarks on some Morphophonological Differences Between Strong and Preterite-Present Verbs in Germanic, LVC (Language Variation and Change) Research Forum 2014, 2014.05, [URL], This paper focuses on the fact that when, we carefully compare specific morphophonological features of the Germanic strong preterite and preterite-present present tense formations, we find two remarkable differences between them. Recognition of this fact leads to the conclusion that those differences cannot be sufficiently explained by simply assuming that both of them come from the PIE perfect alone; hence, some new explanatory theory is needed. Though no specifically new proposal will be provided in this talk, part of one is spelled out in my previous papers, and remaining issues will be postponed for future studies..
7. Verner's Law in Germanic Strong Class V Preterite Plural Formations: With Special Reference to the Case of *wes- 'be, stay, dwell'.
8. Why do the Germanic Strong IV and V Preterite Plural Formations Morphologically Differ from the Preterite-Present IV and V Present Plural?: A Critical Examination of Schumacher’s (2005) Treatise and a New Proposal in View of a Morphological Conflation Theory
9. Toshiya Tanaka "Some Thoughts on the Origin and Development of the Gmc. Strong IV and V Preterite Plural Formations." A Paper read on 18 December 2011 at the first conference of the Japan Society for Historical Linguisitcs held at Toyonaka Campus, Osaka University..
10. On the New Curriculum for English Education at Kyushu University.
11. On the Semantic Change of CAN: With Sprecial Reference to Its Syntactic Properties.
12. 'Drift' in Semantic Changes: Evidence from Germanic and Romance languages.