In linguistics, the augment is a syllable added to the beginning of the word in certain Indo-European languages, most notably Greek, Armenian, and the Indo-Iranian languages such as Sanskrit, to form the past tenses.
Indo-European languages 
Historical linguists are uncertain whether the augment is a feature that was added to these branches of Indo-European, or whether the augment was present in the parent language and lost by all other branches (see also Proto-Greek).
Ancient Greek 
In Ancient Greek, the verb λέγω légo “I say” has the aorist ἔλεξα élexa “I said”. The initial ε e is the augment. When this comes before a consonant, it is called the "syllabic augment", because it adds a syllable. Sometimes the syllabic augment appears before a vowel, because the initial consonant of the verbal root (usually digamma) was lost:
- *έ-ϝιδον → (loss of digamma) *ἔιδον → (synaeresis) εἶδον
When the augment is added before a vowel, the augment and the vowel are contracted, and the vowel becomes long: akoúō "I hear", ḗkousa "I heard". This is sometimes called the "temporal augment", because it increases the time needed to pronounce the vowel.
Homeric Greek 
- ὣς φάτο — ὣς ἔφατο
hṑs pháto — hṑs éphato
"so he/she said"
- ἦμος δ᾿ ἠριγένεια φάνη ῥοδοδάκτυλος Ἠώς,
êmos d' ērigéneia phánē rhododáktulos Ēṓs,
"And when rose-fingered Dawn appeared, early-born,"
Modern Greek 
Unaccented syllabic augment disappeared during the Byzantine period as a result of the loss of unstressed initial syllables. However, accented syllabic augments remained in place So Ancient ἔλυσα, ἐλύσαμεν "I loosened, we loosened" corresponds to Modern έλυσα, λύσαμε.  Temporal augment has not survived in the vernacular, which leaves the initial vowel unaltered: Ancient ἀγαπῶ, ἠγάπησα "I love, I loved", Modern αγαπώ, αγάπησα.
|ध / dhã||दधति / dadhãti||अधत् / adhãt||अदधत् / adadhãt||put|
|गम् / gam||गच्छति / gacchati||अगमत् / agamat||अगच्छत् / agacchat||go|
- Phrygian seems to have had an augment.
- Classical Armenian had an augment.
- Yaghnobi, an East Iranian language spoken in Tajikistan, has an augment.
Non-Indo-European languages 
The term has also been extended to describe similar features in non-Indo-European languages. For example, in Nahuatl, the perfect ō- prefix is called an augment. It is also a common term in Bantu linguistics.
- Herbert Weir Smyth. Greek Grammar. par. 429: syllabic augment.
- Smyth. par. 435: temporal augment.
- Browning, Robert (1983). Medieval and Modern Greek (p58)
- Sophroniou, S.A. Modern Greek. Teach Yourself Books, 1962, Sevenoaks, p79
- Coulson, Michael. Teach yourself Sanskrit. p. 244. Hodder and Stoughton, 1976, Sevenoaks.
- Clackson, James. 1994. The Linguistic Relationship Between Armenian and Greek. London: Publications of the Philological Society, No 30. (and Oxford: Blackwell Publishing)
|This linguistic morphology article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|