yeah, it depends on what's happening, it often depends on the historical
source of the particular phenomenon, if it's known. however such
alternations often aren't as simple as a simple vowel alternation like
umlaut and ablaut. take arabic:



is there a plural morpheme anywhere in *kutub*? no. but the words are
clearly related.

the particular example you gave (draw/drew) is in fact properly called
ablaut, since this difference comes from the usage of two different vowels
even in proto-indo-european.  cf. the OE counterparts (dragan~drōg). in
germanic languages, "strong" verbs morphologize through the tenses by
ablaut, and "weak" verbs with the -ed suffix you mentioned.

umlaut (usually meaning the assimilation of a vowel to a following vowel's
front- or back-ness), as in man/men (or, more obscurely, tell/told) has a
more obvious cause (in these cases, an original */i/ fronting the vowel in
one form but not the other); ablaut is a term generally restricted to IE
morphology, and is basically the scientific way of saying "PIE speakers
just used a different vowel here, and there's no phonologically accounting
for it."

but to answer your question there is no general term for ALL kinds of
internal alternations (esp. given the ones as drastic and inexplicable as
the arabic one above; not all internal alternations are vowel
alternations).  call it whatever you want!


On Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 4:18 PM, Patrick Dunn <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Brian,
> I believe the general term is "alternation" or "apophony" but each kind has
> its own name.  If a vowel gets fronted, for example, that umlaut.  If it's
> a series of vowels that are lengthened in particular ways, that's ablaut.
>  "sing, sang, sung" in English is ablaut.  But man/men is umlaut.
> In many languages, apophony is perfectly regular -- including in Old
> English.  It's only irregular in contemporary English because of sound
> change.
> On Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 4:13 PM, Brian Woodward <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> > What is the term for an internal change in a word for a different
> > inflection? For example: draw/drew versus the regular talk/talked.
> >
> > I'll try to clarify if need be. Just let me know.
> >
> > Brian
> > Sent from my iPhone
> >
> --
> Second Person, a chapbook of poetry by Patrick Dunn, is now available for
> order from Finishing Line
> Press<
> and
> Amazon<
> >.