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On Sat, 6 Nov 1999, Nik Taylor wrote:

> Also speaking of Japanese, I read on a web page about Japanese that it's
> believed that Japanese once had eight vowels, but the other three were
> listed as /i"/, /o"/, and /e"/.  I would suppose that /o"/ would be
> fronted /o/, but what would the other two represent?  Centralized
> vowels, maybe?

The Old Japanese (reconstructed) vowels that are customarily reprsented
with umlauts are NOT fronted.  The mark was originally meant just as a
diacritic to distinguish them from the "other" /i o e/, and wasn't meant
to suggest a particular phonetic shape.  Unfortunately, this hasn't always
been noticed by people using O.J. reconstructions for other work.

Kenji