Understanding what has happened 
with the ablaut

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This article first examines the status of ablaut in comparative Indo-European linguistics, especially in Franz Bopp <i>(Vocalismus, oder sprachvergleichende Kritiken)</i>, Jakob Grimm, Karl Brugmann, Ferdinand de Saussure <i>(M&#233;moire sur le syst&#232;me primitif des voyelles dans les langues indo-europ&#233;ennes)</i> and Jan Baudouin de Courtenay <i>(Versuch einer Theorie phonetischer Alternationen)</i>. The existence of affixation in this language family led to the denial of a morphology based on ablaut until 1870s. It is then shown that following the redefinition of the relationship between phonology and morphology in SPE, analyses of Afro-Asiatic languages (especially Jean Lowenstamm&#8217;s apophonic path) shed new light on the matter.


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