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On 09/04/09 21:29:39, Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:
...
>      i: > i > Ii > I\i > @i > ai / Ii > ei > Ei > &i > ai
(and other related things)

I don't get what the [i] is meant to represent. I assume it *doesn't* 
mean high tone as it does in the IPA. With my long vowels the pitch 
does drop off during a long vowel in isolation so that you might 
transcribe "beard" as [bid] and "car" as [ka], but I doubt that's 
anywhere near as noticeable in connected speech. And of course in 
questions exactly the opposite thing happens. And it doesn't agree with 
your distinction between high and low vowels.

Maybe my vowel length distinction is too recent/significant to have 
developed any of these tendencies, I guess...

...
> BTW IMHO the path of development from Germanic
> _*au_ to Old English /E@/ has been misunderstood.
> The key to the right explanation lien in the fact
> that Germanic _*ai_ becomes Old English /a:/.
> Clearly Gmc. _*ai_ was [ai] and Gmc. _*au_ was
> [Au].  My guess is that both first monophthongized
> *[ai] > *[a:] and *[Au] > *[A:]. The *[a:] was
> already maximally 'vowelly' and wouldn't break,
> but *[A:] broke to [A@], wich was later fronted
> to [&@] along with short *[A] > [&].  IMO Gmc. _*&:_
> from PIE _*e_ probably never became a-ish in
> Anglo-Frisian: it remained as [&:] or became [e:],
> which explains its non-merger with _*ai_ or
> _*au_.  It seems highly unparsimonous to posit
> [&:] > [a:] > [&:] as was traditionally done.
> Falling diphthongs don't monophthongize by
> centralizing their off-glide, but by losing the
> off-glide with compensatory lengthening of the
> peak.  I'm prepared to duel at sunrise with anyone
> who thinks differently! ;-)

I'm prepared to take you up on that. It's worth pointing out that in 
Australian English, we have a clear case of 

    &u -> &O ( -> &: )

The AusE sound conventionally represented /O/ in /O/ and /&O/ and /@/ 
in /@u\/ [which I spell as /Ou\/] is not strongly rounded, and possibly 
not rounded at all. The brackets around the last step in the above 
transition represent that it's standard only before certain consonants 
(typically remaining /r/ and any /l/, such that "vowel" and "Val" are 
homophones /v&:l/).

/ai/, the English counterpart of /au/, has taken a comparable path in 
AusE:

    Ai -> Ae (- > A: )

The brackets here represent that it tends to be monophthongised in the 
small number of words that have /Ae/ before /l/ --- in stressed 
syllables, a [j@] was added, so it's in words like "while (conj)", 
"I'll", "missile". nb this causes no homophones because the AusE 
equivalent of RP /A:/ is a central [a:], so the brackets represent a 
purely phonetic process.

These two processes are clear evidence disproving your statement 
(requoting):

> Falling diphthongs don't monophthongize by
> centralizing their off-glide, but by losing the
> off-glide with compensatory lengthening of the
> peak.

In fact, the first case here is *directly*comparable* to the case in 
Old English. So we know it does happen. I like finding these case of 
English doing the same thing over and over; it seems obsessed with a 
front-back distinction in low vowels as well as long vowels and 
diphthongs like /ai/ and /au/, so I guess it's going to do the same 
thing over and over.

Now, you say (requoting):

> Clearly Gmc. _*ai_ was [ai] and Gmc. _*au_ was
> [Au].

without providing adequate justification. Why is that "clear"?  Afaik 
they have equivalent origins being PIE [ai oi] and PIE [au ou]. Why 
should they have "clearly" developed in some praticular way in Common 
Germanic? This might be the traditional analysis but I'm not aware of 
it and nothing about it seems "clear".

In fact, your argument fails to account for that fact that Gmc. *ai 
develops into ME /O:/ and Gmc *au develops into ME /E:/; it requires 
[a:] and [A:] to fully swap places. 

I also must admit I don't understand what you're getting at by:

> _*au_.  It seems highly unparsimonous to posit
> [&:] > [a:] > [&:] as was traditionally done.

I'm assuming by "was" you mean "is", but I'm really not sure where the 
&: > a: > &: process comes in. What stages are represented by each 
change? PIE *e becomes OE  (ash) doesn't it? In any case, the 
unparsimonousness of a change doesn't mean it didn't happen, consider:

ME O -> EMnE A -> AusE O

(plenty of evidence in borrowings like "coffee")

or 

OE & -> ME a -> EMnE a -> E20thC RP & -> E21stC RP a

So in short, I just don't see why the traditional view that 
OE "ea" /&A/ came about by diphthong height harmonisation should be 
discarded. And the usefulness of the notion (e.g. "eo" and the breaking 
before various velar-ish consonants following the same path, such 
that /&/+velar -> /&A/ just the same as /au/ -> /&:A/ really not only 
can't I discard it, but so far you've given me no alternative!

--
Tristan.