Romanian has a broad process of alternating between a mid vowel and a "low" vowel: /e̯a/ alternates with /e/, /o̯a/ with /o/, and /a/ with /ə/.
Originally, this was the result of a phonological process wherein mid vowels (Balkan Latin, by this time, had merged the long and short mid vowels) lowered to and under stress; a subsequent change diphthongized these vowels. This has resulted in stress alternations, as shown in the examples below, where stressed vowels and diphthongs are highlighted in bold:
|a - ə||carte||'book'||cărticică||'book' (diminutive)|
|e̯a - e||beat||'drunk'||bețiv||'drunkard'|
|o̯a - o||poartă||'gate'||portar||'gatekeeper'|
This has since been morphologized and now shows up in verb conjugations and nominal inflection (e.g. oaste/oști, 'army'/'armies')
Other articles related to "vowel alternations, alternations":
... The most important alternations are those of short and long phonemes ... Some of these alternations are correlative, i.e ... changes in some phonemes (/oː/ → /uː/, /uː/ → /ou̯/), some alternations are disjunctive, i.e ...
Famous quotes containing the word vowel:
“Brute animals have the vowel sounds; man only can utter consonants.”
—Samuel Taylor Coleridge (17721834)