Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

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Ablaut (Apophony, Gradation)
(1,951 words)


Gradation (= apophony) or ablaut is a morphologically induced vowel change between the zero-grade (= no ablaut vowel), full grade (ablaut vowels e or o), and lengthened grade (ablaut vowels ē or ō). Due to phonological conservatism, the PIE gradation e/o/zero was well preserved in Greek roots while the lengthened grade was mostly given up. In derivational suffixes ē and ō ablaut was retained and even spread.


Cite this page
Melanie Malzahn, “Ablaut (Apophony, Gradation)”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, General Editor: Georgios K. Giannakis. Consulted online on 31 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_COM_00000144>
First published online: 2000

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