Definition of vowel gradation in English:

vowel gradation

noun

  • another term for ablaut
    • ‘Says Cassidy in his well-known book Jamaica Talk: ‘In Standard English one finds three kinds of iterative: the simple ones like hush-hush…; those with vowel gradation like ding-dong…; and the rhyming ones like handy-dandy’.’
    • ‘The old inflection has been preserved in the verbs of the type: infinitive - preterite - past participle which retain both the full vowel gradation and the past participle en ending, e.g. ride - rode - ridden.’
    • ‘The Semitic languages preserve an admirable art of fine distinctions of meaning through many vowel gradations.’
    • ‘When ablaut is a regular feature of a language's grammar, it is often called vowel gradation.’
    • ‘There are 17 lettered consonants and 11 lettered vowels in alternate combination with vowel gradations to signify plurals and tenses.’