Indo-European ablaut  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In linguistics, ablaut is a system of apophony (regular vowel variations) in Proto-Indo-European (PIE) and its far-reaching consequences in all of the modern Indo-European languages. An example of ablaut in English is the strong verb sing, sang, sung and its related noun song.

The term ablaut (from German ab- in the sense "down, reducing" + Laut "sound") was coined in the early nineteenth century by the linguist Jacob Grimm. However, the phenomenon itself was first observed more than 2,000 years earlier by the Sanskrit grammarians and codified by Pāṇini in his Ashtadhyayi, where the terms [[guṇa|Template:IAST]] and [[vṛddhi|Template:IAST]] were used to describe the phenomena now known as the full grade and lengthened grade, respectively. In the context of European languages, the phenomenon was first described in the early 18th century by the Dutch linguist Lambert ten Kate in his book Gemeenschap tussen de Gottische spraeke en de Nederduytsche ("Commonality between the Gothic language and Lower German (Dutch)", 1710).

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