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Re: Euphonic phonology (Was: 'Nor' in the World's Languages)

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Sunday, August 20, 2006, 21:05

Philip Newton writes:
> On 8/19/06, Dirk Elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...> wrote: > > See, here's my difficulty with ablaut -- this will mirror your own > > comments. In all of the cases I'm aware of, ablaut is synchronically > > arbitrary. There are examples where it makes sense historically, but > > none that I know of where it is a principled synchronic alternation > > (though I'd be happy to be corrected). > > Not sure whether this counts, but - the diminutive suffix -chen causes > ablaut in the preceding syllable (if that means what I think it > means). So that's something that's synchronically principled. >...
That's umlaut. Ablaut is found in German verbs: liegen - lag - gelegen. This comes from IE's three stem degrees with zero, -e-, and -o- degree, which causes most Greek verbs to be irregular, too, so this is much older a phenomenon than umlaut, and correspondingly much less principled in today's grammar of German. **Henrik