TANAKA, Toshiya (March 2011). A Morphological Conflation Approach to the Historical Development of Preterite-Present Verbs: Old English, Proto-Germanic, and Proto-Indo-European (The Faculty of Languages and Cultures Library II), xiii + 320 pages. Fukuoka: Hana Shoin. ISBN: 978-4-903554-91-4, JPY 4,700.


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Preterite-present verbs show morphological peculiarities: their present singular typically exhibits the o-grade radical vocalism, to conform with the preterite singular of a strong verb, whilst their preterite is formed with a dental suffix, which accords with the preterite of a weak verb. English and Germanic philologists have construed these characteristics as the result of an original o-grade perfect having been reinterpreted as the new present, along with the suppression of the original e-grade present, and of the PGmc. dental or weak preterite having been newly adopted for the preterite formation; this standpoint may be labelled the estrong verb originf theory. The present work calls this view into question by focusing on its inherent difficulties.

Authentic Indo-European studies have taken the present tense formations of the OE or PGmc. preterite-presents to be reflexes of the PIE stative perfects. Whilst this understanding, dubbed the estative perfect originf theory, provides a far better explanation than the estrong verb originf theory, several significant issues remain to be resolved. First, how did the PGmc. preterite-present verbs lose their original reduplication? Second, the IE comparative evidence does not guarantee that all the preterite-presents unequivocally refer back to a PIE stative perfect. Third, how can the PGmc. 3 pl. ending *-un be explained, given that the PIE 3 pl. perfect should develop into PGmc. *-ur? Fourth, which PIE formation should the peculiar morphology of the infinitive of a PGmc. preterite-present reflect? These matters are interconnected to a remarkable extent, and a systematic account can be offered if we recognize that the OE or PGmc. preterite-presents are in essence a historical product within the Gmc. branch, resulting from the morphological conflation of the PIE stative perfect active and a PIE athematic present middle formation which can convey a present stative meaning; this perspective may be tagged as the emorphological conflationf theory.

The current work adopts the eh2e-conjugation theoryf advocated by Jay H. Jasanoff and demonstrates that the same theory, remarkable in its explanatory power in treating the origin of the Anatolian hi-verbs, is also effective when giving a historical account of the OE or PGmc. preterite-present verbs. The core members of the preterite-present group have arisen from what is called a PIE stative-intransitive system within the framework of the h2e-conjugation theory, whilst there are also other preterite-present members which to some extent deviate from this pattern.


@ This work is reviewed by

     Ringe, Don 2011, The Journal of Indo-European Studies Volume 39 Numbers 3 & 4 (Fall/Winter 2011), pp.503-507.

@Kim, Ronald I. 2012. Kratylos: Kritisches Berichts- und Rezensionsorgan für indogermanische und allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Jahrgang 57, 2012, pp.204-208.

     Frotscher, Michael 2014. International Journal of Diachronic Linguistics and Linguistic Reconstruction Volume 11 Number 1, pp.67-78.


     It is also referred to by

@Kümmel, Martin Addenda und Corrigenda zu LIV2 2015, 2017; see the items of *ĝneh3- and *magh- there.

     Ringe, Don and Ann Taylor 2014 A Linguistic History of English, Volume 2: The Development of Old English. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Randall, William and Howard Jones 2015 gOn the Early Origins of the Germanic Preterite Presents,h Transactions of the Philological Society 113/2, pp.137-176.

Jimenéz Delgado, José Miguel 2017 gMycenaean words realted to уέ΃ and ЃуέӃ: A story of conflationh Indo-European Linguistics 5, pp.31-48: see p.42.

Ringe, Don 2017 A Linguistic History of English, Volume 1: From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic, 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press; see p.291 Footnote 17.

@Harðarson, Jón Alex 2017 gThe morphology of Germanich, In Klein, Jared, Brian Joseph, and Matthias Fritz (eds.) 2017 Handbook of Comparative and Historical Indo-European Linguistics, Vol. 2, Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter, pp.913-954; see p.939 6.3.3 Preterite-presents.

@Fulk, R. D. 2018 A Comparative Grammar of the Early Germanic Languages, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins: see p.323 Note 1.

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