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NATLANGS: Difthongization across Europa

From:John Vertical <johnvertical@...>
Date:Monday, February 18, 2008, 10:49
A thing I've been wondering. I've noticed that some quite similar vowel
shifts occur in several European languages around the beginning of the
Middle Ages... Most prominently, this bunch:
Romance - E: O: > je wo
West Slavic - o: > u / wo
SW Germanic - e: 2: o: > i@ y@ u@ <ie üe uo>
Baltic - e: o: > ie uo
Finnish - e: 2: o: > ie y2 uo
Northern Sami - E: O: > ie uo
which does not look co-incidental at all...

But I also recently noticed Faroese has &: A: > ea oa. I understand this
also happens in various other Scandinavian 'lects, as well as dialectally in
Finnish. I wonder if the pre-GVS change of &: A: > E: O: in English went
thru this stage too, seeing that they're spelled <ea oa>?

So anyone kno of any crosslinguistic reserch on the chronology & propagation
of these sound changes? Where did they start and when? Were languages such
as Estonian or Swedish simply standardized from a non-difthongizing 'lect or
did the sound change "jump over" them in some fashion? etc.

John Vertical
(PS. Sorry to mess with your email filters. I couldn't decide whether to put
this under NATLANG or THEORY.)


Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>