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The influence of other dialects is felt.

In the word “busy” the spelling reflects the influence of the Western dialects. The same is true about the verb “to build”. The pronunciation of the verb “to bury” is due to the South-East dialects, while the spelling is of Western origin.

A) Old Diphthongs

All the Old English diphthongs were monophthongized as early as the 11th century, losing their second elements:

OE ME    
ēā [ε:] ē OE ēāst, strēām > ME eest, streem (east, stream)
ea a OE earm, heard > ME arm, hard
ēō [e:] ē OE dēōp, sēōn > ME deep, see (deep, see)
eo e OE feor, deorc > OE heorte > ME fer, derk (far, dark) ME herte (heart)
īe i [i:] e OE līehtan > OE hierde > ME lighten [li:x’tən] (lighten) ME herd (shepherd)

a) New Diphthongs

As a result of the vocalization of [j] and [w] new diphthongs were formed whose second element was either [i] (the letters, i, y) or [u] (mostly w).

[ei] OE weg ME wey ModE way
[ai] [au]   [ou]     [au + x]   dæg sagu lagu boga snāw cnāwan brāhte   day saw(e) lawe [lauə] bowe [bouə] snou knowen [knouən] braughte [brauxtə]   day saw law bow snow know brought

Besides the above-mentioned diphthongs which developed from native sources, similar diphthongs (with i and u – glides) are found in some ME borrowings, e.g.

[oi] in ME boy, joy
[au] in ME pause [pauzə], cause

The formation of new diphthongs in ME was an important event. By that time the OE diphthongs had been contracted into monophthongs. The new ME diphthongs differed from the OE ones in structure: they had an open nucleus and a closer glide; they were not contrasted through quantity as long to short.

Unit 22


Date: 2014-12-22; view: 1109


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Qualitative Changes | Middle English Morphology Nouns
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