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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

Vowel Variations

17. The parent language showed great variation in the vowel sounds of kindred words.1

a. This variation is often called by the German name Ablaut. It has left considerable traces in the forms of Latin words, appearing sometimes as a difference of quantity in the same vowel (as, u, ū; e, ē), sometimes as a difference in the vowel itself (as, e, o; i, ae):— 2

tegō, I cover, toga, a robe; pendō, I weigh, pondus, weight; fidēs, faith, fīdus, faithful, foedus, a treaty; miser, wretched, maestus, sad; dare, to give, dōnum, a gift; regō, I rule, rēx, a king; dux, a leader, dūcō (for older doucō), I lead. Compare English drive, drove (drave), driven; bind, bound, band; sing, sang, sung; etc.

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Notes
1
This variation was not without regularity, but was confined within definite limits.
2
In Greek, however, it is more extensively preserved.