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Questions tagged [great-vowel-shift]

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Why didn't spelling of words keep track of pronunciation changes during the great vowel shift?

In the English language, words are written according to the way they were pronounced before the great vowel shift. Take e.g. the sentence: "I came from my house, now I'm here". If we ...
Count Iblis's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
475 views

Why is English not constantly updated to better match written and spoken versions? [closed]

I understand that English has a lot of history and lots of weird corner cases come from French or German origins. However, even native English speakers no longer speak nor write identical to ...
Mikko Rantalainen's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
541 views

When did animal sounds get codified?

Every kindergartner knows that a sheep says baa, a cow says moo, a cat says meow and a goat says maa. But this is just in English. In other languages, they say other things. When did animal sounds ...
Charles's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
477 views

Some residual effects of the Great Vowel Shift

Here's the complete text of a poem by Rudyard Kipling (from "Just So Stories"): The Camel's hump is an ugly lump Which well you may see at the Zoo; But uglier yet is the hump we get From ...
Ricky's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
169 views

A Vowel Shift Question

Two lines from Byron's Don Juan: 'T is said that Donna Julia's grandmamma Produced her Don more heirs at love than law. This is the coda to an octave, the finalizing couplet, and it's supposed to ...
Ricky's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
345 views

The Great Vowel Shift: when did it really end?

The Wikipedia article states that the Great Vowel Shift ended in 1700: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Vowel_Shift Why is it, then, that Lord Byron (to pick a name at random) rhymes "I" and "...
Ricky's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
1k views

<u> pronounced "ew"

I'm wondering about the modern English pronunciation of "u" like the vowel in "few" in open syllables, such as "pure", "cute", "tribunal", "u", etc. What's the origin of this? (This question is not ...
Kaninchen's user avatar
  • 149
2 votes
2 answers
435 views

Did the Great Vowel Shift on the long vowel /i/ occur in non-primary stressed syllables?

From the Wikipedia article on the Great Vowel Shift . Middle English [iː] diphthongized to [ɪi], which was most likely followed by [əɪ] and finally Modern English [aɪ] (as in mice). I think the ...
ivanhoescott's user avatar
  • 1,511
53 votes
4 answers
13k views

Why is ‘i’ in milk pronounced differently from ‘i’ in find?

As far as I know, in words of the structure CVCC, the vowel is usually short. Examples include milk, front, clamp, wasp, sport, etc. However, with some CC types, the vowel seems to always be long (...
Abdulmajeed Odeh's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

In a combination of two vowels (such as "ae"), what rule determines if the first ("a") or second ("e") is silent?

In a combination of two vowels (such as "ae"), what English rule determines if the first ("a") or second ("e") is silent? For example, in the word "praetor", the vowel "a" is silent but in the word "...
Yetimwork Beyene's user avatar
1 vote
5 answers
18k views

Why does the pronunciation of "U" vary in English?

The letter U is pronounced differently in different words such as Umbrella and Utensils, as well as when it is Used inside of words such as stUdent and stUdy. Can I please have a grammatical ...
Jibon's user avatar
  • 45
0 votes
2 answers
3k views

Payed or paid, is there a rule for this change in vowels?

Why do some verbs combine the "y" and the "e" in the past tense, while others retain "ye"? For example, pay to paid, but flay to flayed? Is there a rule for this change? Any help would be ...
John Hiner's user avatar
34 votes
4 answers
17k views

Why did only English undergo the Great Vowel Shift, making pronunciation stray so far from spelling?

Lots of people have wondered why English seems to be one of very few languages with such irregular spelling, far from its pronunciation. The answers include the Norman invasion, and the Great Vowel ...
Stefan Monov's user avatar
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