What a difference a vowel makes

I couldn’t sleep last night and my fevered brain stumbled across something nice in German verbs:

The consonant combination of "initial l + vowel(s) + b produces a useful set of variations:

Leben, lieben, loben. Then, of course, there is the, I guess, unrelated ‘laben’ and the definitely not related ‘labern’.

Similarly there is ‘legen, liegen, lügen’. Be careful which vowel you use!

I know that Arabic makes a lot of words based on consonants/vowel patterns. I suppose Russian does the same for verbs. Can’t think of any examples at the moment, though.

Nice idea. It made me immediately think about some more:
Wicht - Wacht - Wucht
List - Last - Lust - lest
Rast - Rost - Rest

The vowel changes in Germanic languages would be one of my favourite features of the branch. But at the same time, probably one of the most difficult.

Wow! Excellent idea! I’ve thought of three:

fallen (to fall), fällen (to cut down), füllen (to fill up) and by cheating a little and extending the vowel sound, I can get: fühlen (which means to feel or to perceive)

My little contribution consists of:

fallen, fällen, füllen (and a little cheat, still 6 letters mind you, fühlen")

…mmm…I forgot to thank Susanne and Vera!

Now I can increase my vocabulary by exploring the verbs provided, particularly as I’ve just noticed that I didn’t follow the rule and didn’t use the first person singular but used the infinitive form.


Perhaps grammar really does make a difference after all :wink:

It took me about 4 minutes to notice that… an excellent exercise.

After desperately seeking more examples (I am very impressed by Vera’s and by Maria’s), I found

sagen, siegen, sägen, saugen (but they do lack the sense of word families)

“fühlen” would just be a long vowel, so it’s not a cheat. The number of letters doesn’t matter.

vallen - vellen - vullen - voelen
to fall - to fell (a tree) - to fill - to feel
faln - * - filn - filn (feel and fill are homonyms - except in some dialects… :slight_smile: )

  • it fails on ‘to fell’ with arophakn


Lob, lieb, Laib, Leib, Laub
Raabe, raube, Reibe, Rübe, Rebe
Buch, Bach, Bauch
Brauch, brach, Bruch
Lüge, lege, liege, Liege, Lage, Loge — o.k., ‘Loge’ ist ein wenig geschummelt, wird nämlich anders gesprochen :slight_smile:

Wollte mich ursprünglich auf Wortfamilien beschränken, aber dies scheint mir eine gute Vokabellerngelegenheit zu sein!

Ich fand die Idee spaßig und ich musste sofort über neue Beispiele nachdenken - etwas Gehirnjogging eben.

ahem Open forum in English :wink:

Sorry, as they say in Germany!

Sorry for…?