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View Diary: Phenomena of Language: The Great English Vowel Shift (141 comments)

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  •  Mostly correct (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    daulton, Allogenes, unspeakable

    In most cases, you are probably right. It gets complicated in the detail of course. "Chest" itself was originally Latin cista from Greek kisté via earlier Germanic. "Church" went the same way from Greek kyriakon, the Lord's house.

    And there are all the "exceptions", often cases where people thought if one word changed that way then another one should too.

    •  Another exception (5+ / 0-)

      Is when the i and e came from [y] (fronted u) and [ø] (fronted o) respectively.

      For instance, Proto-Germanic * kuningaz (ruler of a * kunjam, a tribe of related people) became in Old English a cyning (hard c) who was master of his cynn (hard c again) -- which words become modern English king and kin, respectively.

      Likewise, the king might be considered * ko:njaz "bold" in battle, but in Old English he was cœne, later céne (hard c), "brave", but in Modern English he would be merely keen.

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