Ablaut and umlaut are two different phonological mutations, and often refer to vowel changes under inflection. the umlout, as in the diacritic. The textbook I’m using in my *History of the English Language* class doesn’t have a very good account of the difference. So far, I’ve gathered. Also, is there a difference between ”ablaut” and ”umlaut”? Does one apply to a sequence like ”sing/sang/sung” (i.e. verbs) while the other is reserved for nouns.

Author: Dousar Teran
Country: Papua New Guinea
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Medical
Published (Last): 19 April 2013
Pages: 247
PDF File Size: 18.12 Mb
ePub File Size: 7.35 Mb
ISBN: 531-9-55624-585-8
Downloads: 72677
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Tenos

AskDefine Define ablaut Printer Friendly. Noun The substitution of one root vowel for another, thus indicating a corresponding modification of use or meaning; vowel permutation ; as, get, gat, and got; sing and song; hang and hung, distinct from the phonetic influence of a succeeding vowel. Synonyms gradationalternationapophony. In linguisticsapophony also ablaut, gradation, alternation, internal modification, stem modification, stem alternation, replacive morphology, stem mutation, internal inflection is the alternation of sounds within a word that indicates grammatical information often inflectional.

Description Apophony is exemplified in English as the internal vowel alternations that produce such related words as. The difference in these vowels marks variously a difference in tense or aspect e. That these sound alternations function grammatically can be seen as they are often equivalent to grammatical suffixes an external modification.

Here the past tense is indicated by the vowel a just as the past tense is indicated on the verb jump with the past tense suffix -ed. Most instances of apophony develop historically from changes due to phonological assimilation that are later grammaticalized or morphologized when the environment causing the assimilation is lost.

Apophony as a kind of word formation Ablaut reduplication or ablaut-motivated compounding is a type of word formation of “expressives” in English such as onomatopoeia. Examples of these include:. Here the words are formed by a reduplication of a base and an alternation of the internal vowel.

Some examples in Japanese: In Indo-European linguistics Indo-European ablaut In Indo-European linguistics, ablaut is the vowel alternation that produces such related words as sing, sang, sung, and song. The difference in the vowels results from the alternation in the Proto-Indo-European language of the vowel e with the vowel o or with no vowel.

For a more detailed explanation see Indo-European ablaut. To cite a few other examples of Indo-European ablaut, English has a certain class of verbs i. As the examples above show, a change in the vowel of the verb stem creates a different verb form. Note that some of the verbs also have a suffix in the past participle form.


See also English grammar: For a more detailed explanation of how strong verbs are formed in English and related languages, see Germanic strong verb. In Indo-European linguistics, umlaut is the vowel alternation that produces such related words as foot and feet or tell and told.

The difference in the vowels results from the influence in Proto-Germanic or a later Germanic language of an i or y which has since been lost on the vowel which in these examples becomes e. For a more detailed explanation see Germanic umlaut or I-mutation. To cite another example of umlaut, some English weak verbs show umlaut in the present tense. A-mutation and U-mutation are processes analogous to umlaut but involving the influence of an a or other non-high vowel or u respectively instead of an i.

Ask a linguist – Message details

Note that in Indo-European historical linguistics the terms ablaut and umlaut refer to different phenomena. They are not interchangeable. The same terms umkaut also used in linguistics to generally refer to analogous processes as described in the ablaut vs.

The Germanic scholars who abllaut the terms ablaut and umlaut in the 19th century used them to distinguish two types of vowel alternation patterns with differing origins and differing reflexes in the modern languages.

In this usage, umlaut is a specific case of vowel alternation that has developed from a historical instance of regressive vowel harmony. Indo-European ablaut is a different vowel alternation of uncertain origin. In purely descriptive synchronic terms, Germanic umlaut is a regular system that always involves vowel fronting, whereas in the modern languages ablaut appears to have no regularity.

This traditional distinction is retained by historical diachronic linguistsand is particularly important ablut the context of Indo-European evolution. However, the regularity of Germanic umlaut means that this distinction remains standard in textbooks for learners umlsut German, Dutch and Scandinavian languages.

As an illustration, the preceding examples translate as follows into German: Umluat linguists have broadened the meaning of ablaut to refer to vowel alternation generally, and of umlaut to refer also to other types and instances of regressive vowel harmony. When the terminology is used in this more inclusive way, umlaut is considered a sub-set of ablaut.


Ambiguity can of course be avoided by using alternative terms apophony, gradation, alternation, internal modification for the broader sense of the word.

Much ado about Ablaut and Umlaut

Types of apophony Apophony may involve various types of alternations, including vowel s, consonant s, prosodic elements such as tonesyllable lengthand even smaller features, such as nasality on vowels. The sound alternations may be used inflection ally or derivationally.

The particular function of a given alternation will depend on the language. Apophony often involves vowels.

Indo-European ablaut also called Indo-European vowel gradation is a well attested example. The English example cited above demonstrates vowel ablaut.

Another example is from Dinka:. The vowel alternation may ymlaut more than just a change in vowel quality. In Athabascan languages, such as Navajoverbs have series of stems where the vowel alternates sometimes with an added suffix indicating a different tense-aspect.

LINGUIST List Home Page

Prosodic apophony Various prosodic elements, such as tone, syllable length, and stressmay be found in alternations. For example, Vietnamese has the following tone alternations which are used derivationally:.

Albanian uses different vowel lengths to indicate number and grammatical gender on nouns:. English has alternating stress patterns that indicate whether related words are nouns first syllable stressed or verbs second syllable stressed:.

Prosodic alternations are sometimes analyzed as not as abkaut type of apophony but ablwut as prosodic affix es, which are known, variously, as suprafixes, superfixes, or simulfixes. Consonant alternation is commonly known as consonant mutation or consonant gradation.

Bemba indicates causative verbs through alternation of the stem-final consonant. Here the alternation involves spirantization and palatalization:.

Celtic languages are well-known for their initial consonant mutations. Stem alternations and other morphological processes Stem modifications i. An example of this is in the formation of plural nouns in German:. English also displays similar forms with a -ren suffix in the plural an a -en suffix in the past participle forms along with the internal vowel alternation:. The alternation patterns in many of these languages is quite extensive involving vowels and consonant gemination i.