John Cowan: > And Rosta wrote: > > > > What about "boy" [boj] and "boil" [bojl]? > > > > ... which, fortunately, has the distinction of being about the least > > mutable of English vowels both cross-dialectally and diachronically > > (especially in open syllables). > > Diachronically immutable!? A mere two centuries ago, English poets were > rhyming "join" with "line" (Pope's _Essay on Criticism_) and > "cry" with "joy" ("To Anacreon In Heaven"). I deliberately said "about the least mutable", along with, say, short /e/. The phenomenon you cite seems to be about the most significant event in the life of /oj/ (at least until very recently when it tends to monophthongize in closed sylls in Cockney), and it had hardly any longterm effects at all, either because it was only ever a near-merger or because the merging dialects were supplanted by nonmerging dialects. (I prefer the near-merger explanation, but am very inexpert on the subject.) And compare all this with the hectic, fickle, flighty, capricious, restless, promiscuous, schismatic life led by all the other vowels... [BTW, I'm reckoning the history of Mod Eng vowels as having begun in early Middle English, not earlier than that.] --And.