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>At 8:43 PM +0000 07/13/02, Ray Brown wrote:

>Could the -th be the same as found on words like truth, width,
>length, breadth, filth, strength, health, etc? The French root would
>then be fai- ...

I don't know exactly, but I am sure that french used to have  word /fe:D/  (sorry brackets don't work with this windows email client ). So it gave <foi> /fu^a/ (one could say this in not  a diphtong, but I believe it is) from /e:/ > /e^i/ (diphtonguization) > /o^i/ (dissimation) > /u^e/ (mutual assimilation) > /u^E/ (influence of the velar /u/) > /u^a/ . The /D/ comes from regular latin intervocalic /d/ (<fides> if I remember well).
But <oi> was concurrenced by <ai>, "I was" was <j'estois> or <j'estais> (now <j'étais>), and that should explain the <ai> in english.