Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A vowel change, characteristic of Indo-European languages, that accompanies a change in grammatical function; for example, i, a, u in sing, sang, sung. Also called gradation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The substitution of one root vowel for another, thus indicating a corresponding modification of use or meaning; vowel permutation; as, get, gat, got; sing, song; hang, hung.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In philology, a substitution of one vowel for another in the body of the root of a word, accompanying a modification of use or meaning: as, bind, band, bound, bond, German bund; more especially, the change of a vowel to indicate tense-change in strong verbs, instead of the addition of a syllable (-ed), as in weak verbs: as, get, gat, got; sink, sank, sunk.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a vowel whose quality or length is changed to indicate linguistic distinctions (such as sing sang sung song)

Etymologies

German : ab, off (from Middle High German ab, abe, from Old High German aba; see apo- in Indo-European roots) + Laut, sound (from Middle High German lūt, from Old High German hlūt; see kleu- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From German Ablaut ("off-sound"), from ab ("off"), + Laut ("sound"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • They exhibit perfectly the features of quantitative ablaut, which is the older form.

    Diachrony of PIE

  • I doubt ablaut was still a productive system at the time that one could speak of 'Greek'.

    Missing honey

  • Hittite and Greek do show words with ablaut. βλιττω is difficult to explain any differently.

    Missing honey

  • No ablaut in a Greek noun can not be used as evidence that it isn't Indo-European.

    Missing honey

  • I'm sure this wasn't the implication of what you were trying to say, as you must be aware that root-ablaut in Greek is non-existent in Greek.

    Missing honey

  • "Hittite and Greek do show words with ablaut. βλιττω is difficult to explain any differently."

    Missing honey

  • And ablaut in the root of consonant stems is unheard of in any form of Greek.

    Missing honey

  • 'Some words of this root in some languages have zero grade so it must be from the Genitive with ablaut.'

    Missing honey

  • While the word is still clearly of foreign origin it is no surprised that we have no ablaut in the root.

    Missing honey

  • "No ablaut in a Greek noun can not be used as evidence that it isn't Indo-European."

    Missing honey

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Comments

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  • Oooh! Nice word too! Thanks, colleen.

    August 27, 2007

  • fantastic word, and it reminded me to add bliaut, which is not at all similiar.

    August 25, 2007

  • A vowel change, characteristic of Indo-European languages, that accompanies a change in grammatical function: for example, the i, a, and u in sing, sang, sung.

    August 24, 2007