ABLAUT AND UMLAUT PDF

Active Oldest Votes 4 These two words cause a lot of confusion, which is mainly due to the fact that the difference between the two only becomes clear when you look at language history. An Ablaut is the systematic change of vowels to form the different tenses. It used to be very systematic in Indoeuropean and the only way to form the past tense, but in the Germanic languages, a new way of expressing this grammatical information emerged which led to the gradual degradation of this older set of rules. If you look at grammars of Middle High German for example, you will find seven Ablautreihen, but they already contain lots of exceptions.

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Active Oldest Votes 4 These two words cause a lot of confusion, which is mainly due to the fact that the difference between the two only becomes clear when you look at language history. An Ablaut is the systematic change of vowels to form the different tenses. It used to be very systematic in Indoeuropean and the only way to form the past tense, but in the Germanic languages, a new way of expressing this grammatical information emerged which led to the gradual degradation of this older set of rules.

If you look at grammars of Middle High German for example, you will find seven Ablautreihen, but they already contain lots of exceptions. This is why sing-sang-sung are Ablauts. Now for Umlaut. One meaning of the word are the two dots above a, o, u. But this meaning is secondary i.

But looking at it from an etymological perspective will reveal that the plural of maht used to be mahti in Old High German. The i is a common plural marker in Old High German and also a very high vowel. I suppose that an analogous process took place for foot. I only used the plural as an example here, the other uses of Umlaut e.

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Indo-European ablaut

In Indo-European historical linguistics the terms ablaut and umlaut refer to different phenomena and are not interchangeable. Ablaut is a process that dates back to Proto-Indo-European times, occurs in all Indo-European languages, and refers to phonologically unpredictable vowel alternations of a specific nature. From an Indo-European perspective, it typically appears as a variation between o, e, and no vowel, although various sound changes result in different vowel alternations appearing in different daughter languages. From a diachronic historical perspective, the distinction between ablaut and umlaut is very important, particularly in the Germanic languages, as it indicates where and how a specific vowel alternation originates. It is also important when taking a synchronic descriptive perspective on old Germanic languages such as Old English , as umlaut was still a very regular and productive process at the time. When taking a synchronic perspective on modern languages, however, both processes appear very similar. By analogy, descriptive linguists discussing synchronic grammars sometimes employ the terms ablaut and umlaut, using ablaut to refer to morphological vowel alternation generally which is unpredictable phonologically and umlaut to refer to any type of regressive vowel harmony which is phonologically predictable.

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