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Plural vowel change

From:Raymond A. Brown <raybrown@...>
Date:Thursday, January 28, 1999, 7:01
At 9:08 pm -0500 27/1/99, Steg Belsky wrote:
>On Wed, 27 Jan 1999 21:33:51 +0000 "Raymond A. Brown" ><raybrown@...> writes: >>In Old English the rounded front vowels became unrounded, so it had: >>fo:t >>(sing.), fe:t (plural). These developed regularly to modern English >>'foot' >>and 'feet'. Thus, to answer one of your later questions, the change >>is a >>fronting of the vowel. > >>Ray. >> > >This only happened in Old English? I thought it happened someplace far >back in Germanic language's history, since the same exact thing exists in >Yiddish...the plural of /fus/ (foot) is /fis/ (feet).
But Standard German has /fus/ and /fys/. Umlaut happened way back in protoGermanic times and is common to all Germanic languages. But the unrounding of front rounded vowels most certainly is _not_ a common Germanic feature. The official Modern German language & many (most?) of its spoken dialects as well the Scandinavian languages, Dutch, Flemish & Afrikaans still preserve _rounded_ front vowels. I did not wish to imply that only English unrounded these vowels, however. But the Old English change from f=F8:t to fe:t was an Old English change & has nothing to do with Yiddish which developed at a later date in another place. Sure some other Germanic languages, e.g. Yiddish & some spoken German dialects have also unrounded these vowels. Ray.