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

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

1. Toshiya Tanaka, On the Distribution of the Strong Preterite Plural and the Preterite-Present Present Plural Forms in the Proto-Germanic Verb System, 九州大学大学院言語文化研究院英語科『英語英文学論叢』 Studies in English Language and Literature (Department of English, Faculty of Languages and Cultures, Kyushu University), 33-51, 第70集 No.70, 2020.03, The aim of this paper is to provide a new idea upon the issue of what formations can be reconstructed at the Proto-Germanic stage for the strong class I-VI preterite plural system and for the preterite-present present plural system, after offering an outline sketch of a ‘morphological conflation’ model which is designed to explain how the system of the Germanic strong and preterite-present verbs grew out of the Proto-Indo-European verb system.
The current paper focuses 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 Proto-Germanic tend to be similar in form, there seem to be two crucial morpho(phono)logical differences:
(A) Class IV and V plural formations of the 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
(B) 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’ model attempts to give a consistent, explanatory account of these two apparently non-interrelated phenomena in the following two terms:
(C) 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.
As predicted by the proposed morphological conflation theory, this paper reaches the conclusion that the preterite plural of a class I-VI strong verb may have had two allomorphic formations such as *wǣzun and *wǣsun ‘they were’ (class V), whereas the present plural of a preterite-present verb must have had a single formation such as *þurƀun (but not †þurfun) ‘they need’, in the Proto-Germanic verb system.
2. On the relative chronology of the establishment of preterite-present verbs and that of strong verbs in the Germanic verbal system: With special reference to Osthoff’s law.
3. On morphological differences between class IV and V strong and preterite-present verbs in Germanic: A critical examination of Schumacher’s (2005) treatise and a new proposal based on morphological conflation, [URL].
4. Toshiya Tanaka, Remarks on Two Morphophonological Differences Between Strong and Preterite-Present Verbs in Germanic, 『英語英文学論叢(Studies in English Language and Literature)』(九州大学英語英文学研究会; The English Language and Literature Society, Kyushu University), 第65集, 17-29, 2015.03, The verb system of all the Old Germanic languages consists of the four types listed in (1):

(1) Germanic Verb System
a. Strong verbs: those which are inflected according to ablaut or vowel gradation such as PDE take, took, taken (productive)
b. Weak verbs: those which are characterised by dental preterites such as PDE love, loved, loved (highly productive)
c. Preterite-present verbs: those which use preterite tense formations as the present tense such as PDE I can and (s)he can (**(s)he cans; cf. I ran and (s)he ran/**rans) (limited in number; only 14 tokens reconstructable for Proto-Germanic)
d. Anomalous verbs: those which are inflected anomalously such as PDE be (am, are, is, was, were, been), do (does, did, done), and go (goes, went, gone) (restricted sharply in number)

This paper deals with two of these verb types, namely, strong and preteite-present verbs, and leaves aside weak and anomalous verbs. The preterite formations of strong verbs and the present formations of preterite-present verbs are traditionally thought to have inherited the perfect formation from Proto-Indo-European (PIE); see Brugmann (1904: pp.546-547, §710.5), Matzel (1970: 173), Jasanoff (1994: 272 and 277), and others. There are also a number of other theories. For example, one theory assumes that strong preterite formations result from a mixing of the perfect and the root aorist, but this view is not widely accepted; see Tanaka (2013a: §2), where it is argued that this thesis does not suffice to explain some important morphological properties of the forms at issue.
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;1F hence some new explanatory theory is needed. (Yet no specific proposal will be provided in this article. Part of one, however, is spelled out in my previous papers, and remaining issues will be postponed for future studies.)
5. On the sporadic voicing of the root-final fricative in the Germanic strong class V preterite plural formations: with special reference to the case of *wes- 'be, stay, dwell'.
6. Some Thoughts on the Origin and Development of the Germanic Strong IV and V Preterite Plural Formations.
7. Toshiya Tanaka, Osthoff's Law and the Rise of the Strong I-III Preterite Plural Formations in Proto-Germanic, 『言語文化論究』第25号(九州大学言語文化研究院), pp.7-15, 2010.03.
8. Toshiya Tanaka, The Proto-Germanic Third Person Strong Preterite and the Proto-Indo-European 'Type I' Thematic Present Formations: With Special Reference to the Strong IV and V Classes, 『言語科学』第44号(九州大学大学院言語文化研究院言語研究会), 第44号、pp.1-23, 2009.03.
9. Toshiya Tanaka, Old English e:t 'ate' and the Preterite Plural Formation of the Strong Class V Verbs, 九州大学英語英文学研究会 『英語英文学論叢』第56集, 第56集 pp.13-22, 2006.02.
10. Toshiya Tanaka, Towards Reconstruction of the Proto-Indo-European Inactive Class of Verbs: Five Categories and Sixteen Specimens, 『言語科学』第38号(九州大学大学院言語文化研究院言語研究会)pp.1-53, 2003.02.
11. Toshiya Tanaka, The Origin and Development of the *es- vs. *wes- Suppletion in the Germanic Copula: From a Non-Brugmannian Standpoint, NOWELE Volume 40 (Odense University Press), pp.3-27, 40, 3-27, 2002.04.
12. Toshiya Tanaka, Two Hidden Preterite-Present Verbs in Germanic: An argument for Their Inactive Lineage, 『言語文化論究』第15号(九州大学大学院言語文化研究院), pp.21-31., 2002.02.
13. Toshiya Tanaka, The Indo-European Background of Old English ge-neah 'is sufficient': Application of a Non-Brugmannian Method, 『言語文化論究』第14号(九州大学大学院言語文化研究院), pp.127-141, 2001.07.
14. Toshiya Tanaka, Towards Tracing the Quondam Morpho−Semantic Category of a Given Indo-European Verb: A Method Grounded upon the Hypothesis of Proto-Indo-European as an Active Language, 『言語科学』第36号(九州大学大学院言語文化研究院言語研究会), pp.29-59, 2001.02.
15. Toshiya Tanaka, Where does Gmc. *og- 'fear' Come From?: The Problem of the Original Base Structure, 『言語文化論究』第13号(九州大学大学院言語文化研究院), pp.139-148, 2001.02.
16. Toshiya Tanaka, Prosodic Features of Old English Preterite-Present Verbs: Evidence from Beowulf, 『英語英文学論叢』第51集(九州大学英語英文学研究会), pp.1-26, 2001.01.
17. Toshiya Tanaka, Gmc. *kann 'know' Revisited: A Possible New Explanation., 『言語科学』第35号(九州大学大学院言語文化部言語研究会), pp.1-13, 2000.02.
18. Toshiya Tanaka, Gmc. Preterite-Presents and IE Nouns of Agency: A Test for the Original Stativity, Synchronic and Diachronic Studies on Language; A Festscrift for Dr. Hirozo Nakano (Linguistics and Philology No.19) edd. Masachiyo Amano, Toshiya Tanaka, Masayuki Ohkado, Miho Nishio, Makoto Kondo, Tomoyuki Tanaka, Nagoya University. pp.291-305, 2000.01.
19. Toshiya Tanaka, A Non-Brugmannian Approach to the Historical Development of the Germanic Copula: How is the Suppletion to be Explained?, 『言語文化論究』第10号(九州大学言語文化部), pp.77-94, 1999.03.
20. Toshiya Tanaka, Remarks on Kurzova's Model of Indo-European Structural Change, from D-F to P-F, Part II., 『言語科学』第32号(九州大学言語文化部言語研究会), pp.39-95. , 1997.02.
21. Toshiya Tanaka, Remarks on Kurzova's Model of Indo-European Structural Change, from D-F to P-F, Part I., 『英語英文学論叢』第47集(九州大学英語英文学研究会), pp.93-116, 1997.02.
22. Toshiya Tanaka, Old English MAGAN and Related Verbs: Further Evidence for a Hyperlexical Approach., 天野政千代、他(編)『言語の深層を探ねて』(東京:英潮社), pp.489-506. , 1996.10.
23. Toshiya Tanaka, Paths of the Semantic Developments in Modals: Externalization and Internalization., Linguistics and Philology No. 13 (名古屋:晃学出版), pp. 1-23. , 1993.12.
24. Toshiya Tanaka, Mental Representations in Developing Modals: A Cross-Linguistic and Cross-Cultural Review., J. Altarriba (ed.) Cognition and Culture: A cross-cultural approach to cognitive psychology (Advances in psychology 103, Amsterdam: North-Holland), pp. 77-94., 103, 77-94, 1993.10.
25. Toshiya Tanaka, On the Coexistence of KNOW and CAN in the English Vocabulary: In terms of Germanic peculiarity., 『近代英語研究』編集委員会(編)『近代英語の諸相:近代英語協会10周年記念論文集』(東京:英潮社), pp.146-169. , 1993.05.
26. Toshiya Tanaka, English WIT and Related Verbs: A Semantic Quality., 有馬道子、他(編)『言葉の構造と歴史:荒木一雄博士古希記念論文集』(東京:英潮社), pp.403-416. , 1991.12.
27. Toshiya Tanaka, Characteristics of Ability-Signifying Verbs in Earlier English and Other Languages: A Synchronic and Diachronic Investigation., Linguistics Vol. 29, No. 3 (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter), pp.361-396., 10.1515/ling.1991.29.3.361, 29, 3, 361-396,,5&hl=ja
, 1991.08.
28. Toshiya Tanaka, Remarks on the Semantic Properties of Old English SCULAN: A Hypothesis for the rise of a Necessity Modal Meaning., Linguistics and Philology No. 10 (名古屋:晃学出版), pp. 1-15. , 1990.11.
29. Toshiya Tanaka, Semantic Changes of CAN and MAY: Differentiation and Implication., Linguistics Vol. 28, No. 1 (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter), pp.89-123., 28, 1, 89-123, 1990.05.
30. Toshiya Tanaka, Phonological Analogues in Semantics: Perspectives on Language Change., Linguistics and Philology No. 9 (名古屋:晃学出版), pp.57-69. , 1989.12.
31. Toshiya Tanaka, From Possibility/Necessity to Necessity/Possibility Modals: Evidence from Germanic Languages., 鹿児島大学『英語英文学論集』第20号, pp.111-132. , 1989.03.
32. Toshiya Tanaka, A Note on the History of AGAN: Another Case for Differentiation., Linguistics and Philology No. 8 (名古屋:晃学出版), pp.35-55. , 1988.12.
33. Toshiya Tanaka, On the Differential Property between OE CUNNAN and MAGAN: Cross-Linguistic Evidence., 名古屋短期大学『研究紀要』第25号、pp. 51-76. , 1987.12.
34. Toshiya Tanaka, 'Drift' を考える、 第2部、意味変化のDrift:ゲルマン語とロマンス語, 名古屋大学総合言語センター『言語文化論集』第VII巻 第1号、pp.33-52. , 1985.10.