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.