Vowel Mutation (Ablaut)


Vowel mutation is a shift from one vowel to another in some word or root to indicate a change of word meaning. There are similar processes in English, for example, with irregular plural nouns such as foot~feet or irregular verbs such as run~ran.


Hul’q’umi’num’: Suttles (2003) describes an ablaut effect found in some Hul’q’umi’num’ suffixes, exemplified in the following example (p. 20).

This example demonstrates the [ə] shifting to [á] when it is found in a suffix added to a root (Suttles, 2003, p. 20).