Dirk Elzinga sikayal:

> >    Or, I can explain orthographic choices in terms of the original sounds.
> >_oe_, for example, was much less of a j-glide diphthong at one point, and
> >more like a w-glide diphthong, something like /wI/, only with a very much
> >weaker /w/. Maybe something like a frontish schwa that was eventually
> >strengthened.
> This is another way to go.

This is probably a better way to go, assuming that you're trying to make a
naturalistic orthography.  It's not too hard, either--vowels and
diphthongs are notoriously unstable, so you can justify just about any
change you want to, and thereby justify almost any orthography ;-).

The explanation you gave about orthographic {a}'s seeping into
pronunciation is also highly suspect.  Orthography rarely affects
pronunciation, and then usually only in isolated items, not across a whole
system.  I strongly suggest that you work the other way, and establish
pronunciation and history first and then hammer out the orthography.
Dirk's suggestion of working entirely in IPA first was an excellent one.

Jesse S. Bangs [log in to unmask]

"If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are
perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in
frightful danger of seeing it for the first time."
--G.K. Chesterton