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On Dec 5, 2007, at 7:07 PM, T. A. McLeay wrote:
> In English, the high front rounded vowels were unrounded towards  
> the end
> of the Old English period. Mid front rounded vowels were either lost
> much earlier, or generally not written. Decent (;) dialects of English
> have since re-created them from things like [u:] and [@:].

A rounded [@:]? Does that belong to the phoneme which in rhotic  
dialects is /r=/? In which case, I wonder if that's why German /2/  
and /9/ sometimes get pronounced in English as /r=/, e.g.  
_Göthe_ /"gr=t@/, _danke schön_ /"daNk@ Sr=n/.

A related thing I've been wondering: How rare is it for front rounded  
vowels to become back rounded vowels? I don't think I've ever run  
across that sound change, but it seems plausible to me.