Otso Santeri Vanhala

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Institut für deutsche Sprache und Linguistik

Otso Vanhala is working in the project B02 on the Old Lithuanian postil of Johannes Bretke.
At the same time, he is working on a doctoral dissertation about verbal derivation in Old Lithuanian in Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
He is mainly interested in diachronic language change and development with an emphasis on the historical
and comparative linguistics of the Indo-European language family.
He completed his master’s degree in Latin language and Roman literature in the University of Helsinki.


B02 Emergence and change of registers: The case of Lithuanian and Latvian


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Dorotheenstraße 24, 10117 Berlin


Publications & Presentations


  • Vanhala, Otso; Thies, Felix  (2023) The grammatically annotated corpus of the pericopes of the Old Lithuanian Postil of Jonas Bretkūnas [DOI] [ViVo]

    This grammatically annoted corpus aims at facilitating linguistic research on Old Lithuanian based on the Postil of Jonas Bretkūnas from the year 1591. The corpus is divided into two subcorpora, "pericopes" and "homilies" to make register related research easier.

    The pericopes were annotated using SIL Toolbox and converted to be used in the search-tool ANNIS using the conversion tool PEPPER.

    Three formats are provided in this release: 1. the Toolbox files, 2. the transitional Excel files and 3. a zipped folder to be imported into ANNIS.

    Created in the project B02, Emergence and change of registers: The case of Lithuanian and Latvian of the CRC 1412 "Register" (funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft: DFG, German Research Foundation: 416591334).

  • Vanhala, Otso  (2023) Momentaneous derived verbs in Vilentas’s texts  In: Linguistica Lettica [ViVo]

    As the first part of the analysis of deverbal verb derivation in the Prussian Lithuanian texts up to the 17th century,  I investigated the relationship between the prefixed momentaneous verbs in the Gospels and Epistles and in the Catechism of Baltramiejus Vilentas. Based on an empirical study of the verbs in their contexts, I allocated each verb under investigation into the Vendler (1957) classes (state, activity, achievement, accomplishment) and annotated the verbs by valency. After this, I compared the momentaneous derived verbs with their attested unprefixed base verbs which mostly are of the mixed type. Morphologically, it turns out that the mixed verbs are to be seen as primary and not as derivatives as the formant (-ė- or -o-) of the infinitive stem might suggest since there are no attested primary verbs without the formant, e.g. *mokti, *moksta. The prefixed momentaneous verbs have the infix/sta-formant in the present stem, the prefix in all stems, and additionally no suffix in the infinitive stem in contrast to their base verbs.

    Semantically, the base verbs are in the activity and state classes, and their derivatives in the achievement class. By this comparison, the derived achievement verbs are allocated into the class of momentaneous (including ingressives and terminatives) aktionsart, derived from their activity and state base verbs.
  • Vanhala, Otso  (2022) Verbal derived stems and semantics in prefixed verbs in the earliest Lithuanian texts  In: Lietuvių kalba [ViVo]

    This article discusses the deverbal verb derivation by the means of the prefixes in the Old Lithuanian language based on the data of about 110 primary verbs and their approximately 460 derivates attested in the Gospels and Epistles (ViE) and the Catechism (ViC) of Baltramiejus Vilentas, with additional data from other contemporary sources.

    By comparing the derived verbs with their bases occurring in the texts, the co-occurring morphological and semantical changes were found out. Attention is brought on the together occurring morphological and semantical changes used in deriving telic verbs from their often atelic bases, e.g. the loss infinitive formants -ė-, and -o-, as in giedoti “to sing”→ pragysti “to start to sing, to start to crow”, or the ablaut change in šaukti “to shout” → prašukti “to cry out, to exclaim”. The change in telicity can be used to classify the derived verbs into aktionsart classes (e.g. ingressive, delimitative). The telic ingressive and momentaneous derivatives also have the nasal infix or sta formant in the present tense.

    It is shown that the non-prefixed verbs with ingressive or momentaneous meaning of the type gysti occur extremely rarely in the oldest Lithuanian texts, and are better seen as later de-prefixed derivatives of the type pragysti. Similarly, the derived type pragiedoti is rare in Old Lithuanian as the prefixation is usually accompanied by the shortening of the infinitive stems in the derivatives of this semantic class, leading to pragysti, although the type pragiedoti also occurs. This has led to the formal patterning of the derivatives and base verbs into two new models similar to that of degtisudegti: gystipragysti and giedotipragiedoti.
  • Presentations

  • Vanhala, Otso  (2022) Verbal derived stems and semantics in prefixed verbs in the earliest Lithuanian texts  In: Third Pranas Skardžius Memorial Conference [ViVo]
  • Vanhala, Otso  (2021) Verbal derivation patterns in the writings of Vilentas  In: XIII International Congress of Balticists [ViVo]