Why vin in vine sounds similar to vice, but vin in vineyard is similar to that in the name Vincent?

I would expect since both vine and vineyard are related to grape in some way, they probably should share the root. As a result their pronunciation should be similar. What is the history behind the difference?

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    In Latin vitis means grape, vinea means vine and vineyard, and vinum means wine. All of a family, with family resemblances; they've been together a long long time. As for the vowels, well, vowels are not stable. The fact that /vɪnyərd/ is spelled vineyard while /vayn/ is spelled vine is just one more predictable result of using a system designed (and well-suited) for Middle English to spell Modern English. How well would your computer work if it were limited to technology from 1575? – John Lawler Jul 30 '14 at 2:58
  • It sounds like a great answer. Do you mind to put your comment in an answer so I can upvote you? – Anthony Kong Jul 30 '14 at 6:00
  • @JohnLawler - but apart from spelling, there is a reasonable question about pronunciation. I don't think it is far-fetched to assume vineyard being a compound of vine and yard, a yard with vines. The shortening of the i is not an obvious phenomenon. Might it be related to similar shortening in, for instance, place names ending in -ton (shortened from -town)? – oerkelens Jul 30 '14 at 7:10
  • All the Latin words has a short /i/ in the first syllable. Some got lengthened during their French lives, or after their borrowing into English. Then the Great Vowel Shift moved all the long vowels up, while leaving the short vowels where they were -- and incidentally erasing phonemic vowel length in English. – John Lawler Jul 30 '14 at 14:09

Etymonline has this to say:

vineyard (n.) c.1300, replacing Old English wingeard, from vine + yard (n.1). Compare German weingarten.

If it is a compound of vine and yard there would be little reason to shorten the i of vine. However, I can see two reasons why it would have shortened.

The first would be that the "replacement" was really just a spelling change, and teh word never was seen as really different from wingeard, which I can imagine to be pronounced in a similar way as teh modern pronunciation of vineyard (at the very least with a short [i]).

A second one, but this is mere speculation, is that longer vowels tend to get shortened in compounds over time. Many place names that where formed as town became ton.

I would assume it is pronounced in a similar way to wingeard, since that is the actual word, even though someone decided to change the spelling to make it look like a compound that it may never actually have been. If you wonder how this could be possible, look up the history of the word colonel!

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There are thousands of illogical sounds/spellings in English and you can become exhausted even reading the reasons why. I am sorry that English sounds are so illogical and it amazes me that English became the international language. I am sorry to say that, until there is a language revolution, as George Bernard Shaw would have liked, you just have to learn each one, as you would learn each Chinese pictogram.

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    This would be more appropriate as a comment, as it certainly doesn't attempt to answer the question. Even though a part of me agrees with you. – jocap Dec 17 '14 at 1:08

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