The evidence presented in this article, which concurs with the authors cited below on this question, indicates that ablaut formations like draf are losing ground in Old English to derivatives with the vocalic grade of the infinitive such as gedrif.
In the first place, the scope of zero derivation is drastically widened with respect to the zero ablaut grade of Proto-Germanic, which, in nouns, is restricted to -a-stems (gecor "decision"), -ja-stems, -to-stems, -VCV-stems, -(s)T-r//a-stems (rifter "sickle"), -o-stems, -Co-stems, i-stems (bryce "fraction"), -ti-stems (flyht "flight"), -tu-stems (purst "thirst"), -Cu-stems and n-stems (wiga "fighter") (Mailhammer 2008, 286).
The number of formations on the ablaut of the verb is 587.
The ablaut of the verb is avoided as alternant although it is not totally excluded: the first candidate for alternant is the infinitive of the strong verb, then the past participle (as in cwe[??]en, from cwe[??]an "to say") and then the preterit (as is the case with barn, from biernan "to burn"); and the infinitive of the weak verb without exception.
The seven classes of Old English strong verbs Infinitive Preterite Preterite Past singular plural Participle I drifan 'to drive' draf drifon drifen II cleofan 'to cleave' cleaf clufon clofen III drincan 'to drink' dranc druncon drunken IV beran 'to bear' basr bxron boren V giefan 'to give' geaf geafon giefen VI standan 'to stand' stod stodon standen VII slsBpan 'to sleep' slep slepon slsBpen The vocalic contrasts displayed by figure 1 have been largely discussed in the literature as ablaut (or apophony) and the different vocalic value are usually referred to as ablaut grades.
While the motivation of a significant part of the contrast holding between strong verbs and their derivatives is to be found in ablaut, some correspondences between the strong verb and its derivatives clearly fall out of the scope of this phenomenon.
The framework of alternations as put forward by Kastovsky (1968) constitutes a double synthesis: firstly, of contrasts motivated by ablaut and by other phenomena and, secondly, of synchronic and diachronic facts.
Eventually, the phonological rules that produced ablaut were morphologized (Lass 1994; Kastovsky 2006; Ringe 2006).
(83) Likewise, Machek, emphasizing the presence of ablaut
in Lithuanian, rejects the notion that Slavic vlad- represents a borrowing from Germanic.