Ablaut in Latin

Ablaut, by my reading, is the phenomenon of vowel gradation (phonetic variation) within related words of the same language, derived from parallel variations in the parent language.

Some English ablaut variations:

  • ‘strong verbs’ : sing, sang and sung / ring, rang and rung
  • nouns : man, men / goose, geese

This same variation exists within Latin:

  • tegō, I cover; toga, robe
  • pendō, I weigh; pondus, weight
  • fidēs, faith; fīdus, faithful, foedus, treaty
  • regō, I rule; rēx, king
  • dūcō, I lead; dux, leader

Ablaut will often demonstrate grammatical demarcations between nouns and related verbs, but also between various tense-stems of the same verb:

  • cadō, I fall; cecidī, I fell

The Essential AG: 17

I knew nothing whatsoever about ablaut before designing this post, so if any visiting linguists would like to expand in the comments below, I encourage them to do so.

2 comments on “Ablaut in Latin

  1. RGJ says:

    Really helpful post, thanks!

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