ablaut

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ABLAUT. A term used in PHILOLOGY for both the diachronic shifting of vowels (also known as VOWEL SHIFT) and the synchronic grading of vowels (also known as vowel gradation), especially in the INDO-EUROPEAN languages. Vowel gradation occurs in English in the formation of some irregular noun plurals (man, men; goose, geese) and some irregular verbs (sing, sang, sung; swim, swam, swum). Compare STRONG VERB.

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ablaut (äp´lout) [Ger.,=off-sound], in inflection, vowel variation (as in English sing, sang, sung, song) caused by former differences in syllabic accent. In a prehistoric period the corresponding inflected forms of the language (known through internal reconstruction) had differences in accent rather than in vowel. Phonological change resulted in alteration of syllable structure and in vowel gradation. See umlaut.

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ab·laut / ˈabˌlout/ • n. a change of vowel in related words or forms, e.g., in Germanic strong verbs (e.g., in sing, sang, sung).

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ablaut alternation in the vowels of related word forms, especially in Germanic strong verbs (e.g. in sing, sang, sung).

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ablaut (philol.) vowel gradation, as in sing, sang, sung. XIX. — G., f. ab OFF + laut sound.