On 09/04/09 21:29:39, Benct Philip Jonsson wrote: ... > i: > íi > Ii > I\i > @i > ai / Ii > ei > Ei > &i > ai (and other related things) I don't get what the [íi] 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 [bíid] and "car" as [káa], 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 æ (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.