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Lars Henrik Mathiesen wrote:
> In Old French, when the pronunciation was in fact /-aus/, they wrote
> something like animax, reusing an old x-like manuscript abbreviation
> for (Latin) -us. By the time the pronunciation had become /-o:/, the
> <u> was reintroduced in analogy with other cases of <au> = /o/.

I'd read that it was written animaus, but the <us> was written in such a
way as to look like <ux>.

Incidentally, Portuguese has a change of -al -> -ais; with -al being
pronounced (at least in some dialects, I don't know if this is standard
or not) /au/.

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