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Ablaut

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Ablaut

Postby Scyld Scefing » Wed Mar 02, 2005 12:47 am

This may be an advanced question, but I am so curious that I had to post it:

I was just wondering if the Greek ablaut grades can be traced back to their correspondent grades in Proto-Indoeuropean. If so, could all the ablaut grades in the indo-european languages be interrelated according to the sound changes relevant to each language? Even in english?

thanks in advance
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Postby ximo » Wed Mar 02, 2005 11:02 pm

By ablaut I think you refer to the possibility in some stems or words of using different vowels, in my language we talk about vocallic alternation. So in Greek, there's the word lego "to speak" and logos "word" with alternation e/o. In Latin there are examples too, but less than in Greek; so tego "to cover" and toga "dress, thing that covers". In English some similar examples appear in the verbs with different vowels in present, past or participle: begin-began-begun.
Finally if this procedure has examples in Greek, Latin and other languages, possibly in protoindoeuropean existed too, but it is only a reconstruction, nobody can offer you examples in protoindoeuropean.
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Re: Ablaut

Postby annis » Thu Mar 03, 2005 12:33 am

Scyld Scefing wrote:I was just wondering if the Greek ablaut grades can be traced back to their correspondent grades in Proto-Indoeuropean.


Sometimes. If the word is IE in the first place. Greek imported a huge non-IE vocabulary.

If so, could all the ablaut grades in the indo-european languages be interrelated according to the sound changes relevant to each language? Even in english?


I'm not entirely sure what you're asking here. We can tease apart the IE ablaut changes (in IE, most often o, e, -, where the dash is nothing) even in English. It's tricky because the vowels in OE were highly, um, suggestable, and various kinds of umlaut and "breaking" occured, masking the original sound system.

The entire field of Historical Linguistics is devoted to these questions. Fortson's "Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction" is an excellent book to start with.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Postby Scyld Scefing » Thu Mar 03, 2005 2:07 am

That's fascinating!
I'll try to get my hands on this book right now. :wink:

Maybe my question was a little confusing because I'm just a beginner, and I must admit, sometimes I dont know just exactly what I'm talking about. :oops: :D

But I think you gave me a starting point here. Thanks!

The question came into my mind because I was just wandering through a Gothic Grammar and realised that the grades(vowels) of the strong verbs could be 'transformed' into those of OE just looking at the vowel changes chart and respective changes(breaking, etc).This set my imagination on fire, and suddenly I was thinking about greek and latin too, my tendency for 'generalization' flying high....but now I'll take the time and think better about it!

kopio, in my language ablaut is called vocallic alternation too. "Alternancia Vocalica." But I just discovered it recently!

-If you could tell me about other good books in this subject that would be great. Specially the best ones 'cause I couldn't afford for lots of them.
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Postby Paul » Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:45 am

Scyld Scefing wrote:-If you could tell me about other good books in this subject that would be great. Specially the best ones 'cause I couldn't afford for lots of them.


The Fortson book that Will recommends is very good. However, his discussion of ablaut is brief.

Leonard Palmer's "Descriptive and Comparative Linguistics" has a good discussion of ablaut. This book is, I think, readily available used and it's inexpensive.

The most extensive discussion I know of is in Sihler's "New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin". But this book is a bit on the pricey side.

I also know of, but have not read, these journal articles, both from the late 1800s:

C.D. Buck - Some General Problems of Ablaut; American Journal of Philology Vol 17, No. 3

Maurice Bloomfield - The Ablaut of Greek Roots Which Show Variation between e and o; American Journal of Philology Vol 1, No. 3

Cordially,

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