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Re: Germanic vowel correspondences (was: Scots.)

From:Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
Date:Monday, July 21, 2008, 14:41
On 2008-07-21 Tristan McLeay wrote:
 > Yes indeed. I observed in an earlier email that
 > in Australian English the phone corresponding to
 > RP /au/ is very similar to the OE vowel
 > i.e.a backing diphthong of which both segments
 >     are low.

Also some dialects have a /ai/ > /aM/ shift!

I don't want to spoil the fun or anything, but
this might be 'evidence' that the OE vowel
resulting from Germanic *au and written _ea_ was
actually a diphthong and not a back monophthong.
In the diphthongist--back-monophthongist debate I
am a compromissist in that I believe the so-
called 'long diphthongs' were actual diphtongs
_ea, eo, io/ie_ /&@/, /EV/ or /e7/ -- actually of
mean mid height of course! --, /iM/ while the so-
called 'short diphthongs' were short back or
central unrounded monophthongs /3/--/6/, /V/--
/7/, /i\/--/M/.

That the OE writing system could use the same
symbols for both should not be surprising: they
were similar if not identical and could be
construed as long--short pairs, and most
importantly breaking of long vowels **had**
probably resulted in just these diphthongal
qualities whiöle breaking of short vowels had
resulted in these short monophthongs. The *au >
/&@/ shift just increased the incidence of that
diphthong. Contrary to belief the OE writing
system was by no means 'perfect' or 'one to one':
long and short vowels were usually not
distinguished and palatal and velar consonants
weren't distinguished, so it would be no great
wonder if horizontal diphthongs and back unrounded
monophthongs of approx. the same height were
written with the same symbols too.

Now I know some English dialects are developing
new back unrounded monophthongs as well.

/BP 8^)>
Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
  "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient
  à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil
  ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*,
  c'est qu'elles meurent."           (Victor Hugo)


Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>OE diphthongs/breaking (was: Re: Germanic vowel correspondences (was: Scots.))