Augment (linguistics)

In linguistics is called Augment (Latin Augmentum, " the Enlarged " ) refers to a prefix that is prepended to a verb in some Indo-European languages ​​to form tenses of the past such as the pluperfect, the past tense or aorist. When used in this function, the augment in Greek, the Armenian, Phrygian and the Indo-Iranian languages ​​like Sanskrit. Within the Indo-European, it is disputed whether the augment has developed only within these branches of Indo-European, or whether it already existed in the Indo-European proto-language, but later lost in all but the said successor languages ​​went.

The augment is not used in all language levels throughout the marking of past tenses. In Greek, there is, for example, Homer does not always before the exact reasons are discussed today.


The formation of the past imperfect and aorist representational forms in Modern Greek in each case requires an emphasis on the antepenultimate syllable. Thus, for example, forms the verb πληρώνω ( pliróno ) " I pay (be) " the imperfect πλήρωνα ( plírona ) " I paid (be) " [ linear past: always, continually and constantly ], or the aorist πλήρωσα ( plírosa ) " I (be) paid " [ punctual past: a short time, and once completed ]. Verbs, but the association is composed of two syllables, an augment is prefixed, which thus replaces the third to last syllable, not included in the root word. Thus, for example, forms the verb λέγω ( lego ) " I speak " the past tense έλεγα ( ELEGA, Ancient Greek ἔλεγον élegon ) " I spoke ." The Leader on ε represents the so-called word-initial vowel Silbenaugment dar. verbs, however, have the so-called Dehnungsaugment. In this case, the word-initial vowel is stretched. That is in Ancient Greek the aorist formed with Augment of ἀκούω ( akoúō ) ἤκουσα ( ḗkousa ). In today's Greek but falls here in the aorist the augment away: άκουσα ( ákousa ).

Similarly, the augment is formed in Sanskrit: Here the Silbenaugment अ is a way is to भवति bhavati " he is " the past tense अभवत् abhavat " he was ". In verbs beginning with a vowel of the word-initial vowel appears in the lengthened grade ( vṛddhi ): The past tense of इच्छति icchati " he wants " is ऐच्छत् aicchat " he wanted. "

In Armenian the augment occurs only in word forms that would otherwise be monosyllabic, to strengthen their phonetic content. It is therefore used here not to the past mark: aorist 1st person sg beri "I added " without augment, but 3rd person sg e -ber "he added, " with Augment

Interior Augment

In a few words in Greek, which include a prefix, the augment is not inserted to the letters, but between the prefix and the root word. One then speaks of an inner augment. The verb stem begins with a vowel, also arises here Dehnungsaugment. It should be noted that by an inner Augment also can reconvert the (possibly assimilated ) prefix in their basic form ( συμ. .. > συν ε ...).

  • Examples (both present and aorist ): εισπράττω - εισέπραξα, συμπίπτω - συνέπεσα, αναγγέλλω - ανήγγειλα, εμπεριέχω - εμπεριείχα.

In Modern Greek, there are many verbs in which the inner Augment is optional and is used depending on the speech situation or level of education of the speaker or not.

  • Examples: μεταφράζω - μετάφρασα or μετέφρασα, αναθέτω - ανάθεσα or ανέθεσα, παραγγέλνω - παράγγειλα or παρήγγειλα.