I noticed that the form with the u vowel was kept only in High German. All other germanic languages use the form with i,such as Dutch and English. Why is that?Is this the result of some sort of sound change? The existence of two alternative forms with such different vowels seems really strange to me.

  • It's called ablaut.
    – Sverre
    Feb 25, 2019 at 18:00
  • @Sverre Does this apophony have any meaning or is it just random?
    – X30Marco
    Feb 25, 2019 at 18:09
  • 1
    @Sverre Isn't ablaut specifically the e/o changing in PIE?
    – Draconis
    Feb 25, 2019 at 20:31
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    @sumelic I see! Thank you for that explanation
    – Draconis
    Feb 25, 2019 at 23:31

1 Answer 1


The feminine suffix variants *-ingō/-ungō correspond to the masculine *-inga-/-unga-, which go back to PIE *-en-ko-/-n̥-ko- (see Krahe 1969 'Germanische Sprachwissenschaft III' p. 206). The relationship between *-en- and *-n̥- is called ablaut.

  • 1
    Very nice answer: concise and well-sourced.
    – mach
    Feb 27, 2019 at 11:51

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