Present Tense Verbal Ablaut in Hielepes

Written by Dyami Millarson

Some verbs in Hielepes exhibit ablaut in the present tense. This means practically that the verb looks different from what you would expext, because the vowel of the verbal stem has changed. I may talk about it in much more detail, but it is easier to understand with real examples:

Reikje, to reach for, touch, hit; jó rekket, she touches; wie reikje, we touches.

Meikje, to make; ‘t mekket, it makes; jimme meikje, you guys make.

Staaₑn, to stand; hie stéét, he stands; iek staaₑn, I stand.

Gaan, to go; hie géét, he goes; wie gaane, we go.

Dwaan, to do; doe dweist, you do; jèè dwaane, they do.

We may remember the above three types as: ei : e, aa : éé and aa : ei. All that one truly needs to remember is the relationship between these pairs of stem vowels, so that one may understand the system.

When learning Hielepes, ablaut was a somewhat difficult aspect of the language for me because it was not well-described in the dictionary that I was using; I had to piece things together based on sentences I encountered to figure out the system. I know that my overview does not give the learner a complete overview either, but this article is merely meant to illustrate the concept of ablaut in Hielepes.

I have not included examples such as wèèze to be and sèèn to see here, because not only the vowel changes but the entire stem (that is to say, the surrounding consonants, by which we can recognise the basic word, change as well, which potentially renders the entire word unrecognisable at first encounter).


  1. Interesting. Perhaps my name is known to you. I once wrote a book on Frisian studies. Please send me your e-mail address. Thank you.


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