Year of publication
- On the relative chronology of Slavic accentual developments (2007)
- Last year Georg Holzer proposed a relative chronology of accentual developments in Slavic (2005). Here I shall compare his chronology with the one I put forward earlier (1975, 1989a, 2003) and discuss the differences. For the sake of convenience, I first reproduce the relevant parts of my chronology, omitting asterisks before pre-historic Slavic forms. 1. Proto-Indo-European. 2. Dialectal Indo-European. 3. Early Balto-Slavic. During this period the characteristic lateral mobility of Balto-Slavic accent patterns came into existence. 4. Late Balto-Slavic. During this period the Balto-Slavic accent patterns obtained their final shape.
- Are Mongolian and Tungus genetically related? (2006)
- It is no secret that Gerhard Doerfer has argued strongly against a genetic relationship between the Mongolic and Tungusic languages. Ten years ago he presented a detailed analysis of the Mongolo-Tungusic vocabulary (1985). In the following I intend to show that his material allows of a quite different conclusion.
- Nivkh as a Uralo-Siberian language (2007)
- In his magnificent book on the language relations across Bering Strait (1998), Michael Fortescue does not consider Nivkh (Gilyak) to be a Uralo-Siberian language. Elsewhere I have argued that the Indo-European verbal system can be understood in terms of its Indo-Uralic origins (2001). All of these languages belong to Joseph Greenberg’s Eurasiatic macro-family (2000). In the following I intend to reconsider the grammatical evidence for including Nivkh into the Uralo-Siberian language family. The Indo-Uralic evidence is of particular importance because it guarantees a time depth which cannot otherwise be attained.
- Japanese aru, iru, oru 'to be' : [oru ist bin aru] (2007)
- Among the Japanese expressions for 'to be', the verbs aru (unmarked), iru (animate subject) and oru (humble variant of iru) are of special interest (cf. Martin 1975: 194f. for a descriptive account). We may look for cognates of these verbs in the (other) Altaic languages.
- General linguistics and Indo-European reconstruction (2002)
- There is good reason to be ambivalent about the usefulness of general considerations in linguistic reconstruction. As a heuristic device, a theoretical framework can certainly be helpful, but the negative potential of aprioristic considerations must not be underestimated. E.g., there is a whole range of phenomena which receive a natural explanation when we assume that glottalization is ancient in Germanic. The methodological question is: why have scholars been reluctant to identify the vestjysk stød with the English glottalization as a historical reality which may have been inherited from the proto-language? The role of general linguistics is to provide an idea of what can be expected in linguistic development, not by theoretical reasoning but by inspection of what actually happens.
- The origin of the Goths (2004)
- Witold Ma´nczak has argued that Gothic is closer to Upper German than to Middle German, closer to High German than to Low German, closer to German than to Scandinavian, closer to Danish than to Swedish, and that the original homeland of the Goths must therefore be located in the southernmost part of the Germanic territories, not in Scandinavia (1982, 1984, 1987a, 1987b, 1992). I think that his argument is correct and that it is time to abandon Iordanes’ classic view that the Goths came from Scandinavia. We must therefore reconsider the grounds for adopting the latter position and the reasons why it always has remained popular.