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Encyclopedia > Great vowel shift

The Great Vowel Shift was a major change in the pronunciation of the English language that took place in the south of England between 1200 and 1600.[1] The Great Vowel Shift was first studied by the Danish linguist and Anglicist Otto Jespersen (1860–1943), who coined the term.[2] Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Look up pronunciation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ... English studies is an academic discipline that includes the study of literatures written in the English language (including literatures from the U.K., U.S., Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, India, South Africa, and the Middle East, among other areas), English linguistics (including English phonetics, phonology... Jens Otto Harry Jespersen or Otto Jespersen (July 16, 1860-April 30, 1943) was a Danish linguist who specialized in the grammar of the English language. ...

Contents

Effect

The values of the long vowels form the main difference between the pronunciation of Middle English and Modern English, and the Great Vowel Shift is one of the historical events marking the separation of Middle and Modern English. Originally, these vowels had "continental" values much like those remaining in liturgical Latin. However, during the Great Vowel Shift, the two highest long vowels became diphthongs, and the other five underwent an increase in tongue height with one of them coming to the front. Middle English is the name given by historical linguistics to the diverse forms of the English language spoken between the Norman invasion of 1066 and the mid-to-late 15th century, when the Chancery Standard, a form of London-based English, began to become widespread, a process aided by the... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ... In phonetics, a diphthong (also gliding vowel) (Greek δίφθογγος, diphthongos, literally with two sounds, or with two tones) is a monosyllabic vowel combination involving a quick but smooth movement from one vowel to another, often interpreted by listeners as a single vowel sound or phoneme. ... In phonetics, vowel height refers to the position of the tongue relative to the roof of the mouth in a vowel sound. ...


The principal changes (with the vowels shown in IPA) are roughly as follows.[3] However, exceptions occur, the transitions were not always complete, and there were sometimes accompanying changes in orthography: Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... The orthography of a language specifies the correct way of writing in that language. ...

  • Middle English /aː/ (ā) fronted to [æː] and then raised to [ɛː], [eː] and generally diphthongised in Modern English to [eɪ] (as in make). Since Old English ā had mutated to [ɔː] in Middle English, Old English ā does not correspond to the Modern English diphthong /eɪ/.
  • Middle English /ɛː/ raised to [eː] and then to modern English [iː] (as in beak). In a few words beginning with consonant clusters, however, the vowel remained below [iː] as Modern English [eɪ] (as in break).
  • Middle English /eː/ raised to Modern English [iː] (as in feet).
  • Middle English /iː/ diphthongised to [ɪi], which was most likely followed by [əɪ] and finally Modern English [aɪ] (as in mice).
  • Middle English /ɔː/ raised to [oː], and in the eighteenth century this became Modern English [oʊ] or [əʊ] (as in boat).
  • Middle English /oː/ raised to Modern English [uː] (as in boot).
  • Middle English /uː/ was diphthongised in most environments to [uʊ], and this was followed by [əʊ], and then Modern English [aʊ] (as in mouse) in the eighteenth century. Before labial consonants, this shift did not occur, and [uː] remains as in room and droop).

This means that the vowel in the English word make was originally pronounced /a/; the vowel in feet was originally /eː/; the vowel in mice was originally /i/; the vowel in boot was originally /oː/; and the vowel in mouse was originally /u/. Middle English is the name given by historical linguistics to the diverse forms of the English language spoken between the Norman invasion of 1066 and the mid-to-late 15th century, when the Chancery Standard, a form of London-based English, began to become widespread, a process aided by the... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon[1], Old English: ) is an early form of the English language that was spoken in parts of what is now England and southern Scotland between the mid-fifth century and the mid-twelfth century. ... Labials are consonants articulated either with both lips (bilabial articulation) or with the lower lip and the upper teeth (labiodental articulation). ...


The effects of the shift were not entirely uniform, and differences in degree of vowel shifting can sometimes be detected in regional dialects both in written and spoken English, for example in the speech of much of Scotland.


History

The surprising speed and the exact cause of the shift are continuing mysteries in linguistics and cultural history, but some theories attach the cause to the mass immigration to South East England after the Black Death, where the difference in accents led to certain groups modifying their speech to allow for a standard pronunciation of vowel sounds. The different dialects and the rise of a standardised middle class in London led to changes in pronunciation, which continued to spread out from London. Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ... Cultural history (from the German term Kulturgeschichte), at least in its common definition since the 1970s, often combines the approaches of anthropology and history to look at popular cultural traditions and cultural interpretations of historical experience. ... It has been suggested that Plague doctor be merged into this article or section. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ...


The sudden social mobility after the Black Death may have caused the shift, with people from lower levels in society moving to higher levels (the pandemic hit the aristocracy too). Another explanation highlights the language of the ruling class—the medieval aristocracy had spoken French, but by the early fifteenth century they were using English. This may have caused a change to the "prestige accent" of English, either by making pronunciation more French in style, or by changing it in some other way, perhaps by hypercorrection to something thought to be "more English" (England was at war with France for much of this period). Another influence may have been the great political and social upheavals of the fifteenth century, which were largely contemporaneous with the Great Vowel Shift. Another influence cited is the sudden rise in importance given to the German language with the introduction of printed text from that country following the Gutenberg press. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (circa 1398 - February 3, 1468), a German metal-worker and inventor, achieved fame for his contributions to the technology of printing during about the 1450s, including a type metal alloy and oil-based inks, a mold for casting type accurately, and a new kind...


Because English spelling was becoming standardised in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Great Vowel Shift is responsible for many of the peculiarities of English spelling. Spellings that made sense according to Middle English pronunciation were retained in Modern English. English spelling (or orthography), although largely phonemic, has more complicated rules than many other spelling systems used by languages written in alphabetic scripts and contains many inconsistencies between spelling and pronunciation, necessitating rote learning for anyone learning to read or write English. ...


In other languages

German, Icelandic, and Dutch also experienced sound changes resembling the first stage of the Great Vowel Shift: long i changed to /ai/ and in Dutch to /ɛi/ (as in Eis and ijs, 'ice'), and long u to /au/ and the Dutch /œy/ (as in Haus and huis, 'house'). This is why in German "ei" is pronounced closer to /ai/ and in Dutch "ij" to /ɛi/; however, otherwise, those languages kept their spellings far more consistent. The words “ijsvrij” and “yoghurt” in various forms of handwriting. ...


The comparisons between English and the Continental Germanic languages is interesting for a variety of reasons. It's hardly surprising, given the huge differences between the structure of Old English and Old High German vowel phonology, that the "shifting" of long vowels would differ in detail as much as they resemble one another. Thus there is no indication that non-high long vowels in English (i.e., all vowels not [i: u:]) did anything but just move up in tongue-body position (there is no hint, for example, of the diphthongal features of Modern bee, bay, bone in any of the orthoepic [pronunciation] manuals of the 17th and 18th centuries). In German, original *[o:] is now /ū/, as Proto-Germanic *fōtuz "foot" > German Fuß, but the process was totally different (as well as much earlier than the English developments): already in the very earliest Old High German texts (9th cent.) the vowel in question is consistently written -uo-. That is, it had "broken" into a nucleus with a centering glide. This complex nucleus "smoothed" as the term has it in Middle High German, becoming the /ū/ of Modern German. The /ō/ of Modern German has a variety of sources, the oldest of which is Proto-Germanic *aw, which smoothed before /t d r χ/ (so rot 'red', Ohr 'ear', Floh 'flea', etc.) Elsewhere the sound was written -ou- in OHG. Similarly original *ay became /ē/ before /r h w/, remaining what was written -ei- elsewhere.


Then, once again in the 15th or 16th centuries (about the time that /uo/ was becoming /ū/), the long high vowels diphthongised much as in English, except that there were three of them: /ū/ > /au/, /ī/ > /ai/, and /ǖ/ > /öü/. In some German dialects original /ou, ei/ remain distinct from these new diphthongs, but in standard German they fell together as /au/ and /ai/, the latter somewhat eccentrically written -ei- as a rule, a holdover of the days when /ei/ was the only such diphthong. Note: the pronunciation /öü/ of what is written -eu- (or -äu-), as in neu "new" and bräu "brew", is accorded "standard" status, but is regional; in most places the phonetics of the diphthong are /oi/. (This account is very much simplified but accurate as far as it goes.)


Ideally, the term shift should be reserved for a sequence of interconnected changes, such as the two Germanic consonant shifts rather than used as a practical synonym of "sound change".[citation needed] The diphthongization of the long high vocoids of Middle High German might qualify as a "shift"; the breaking and raising of *ō (and the very rare *ē²) do not really qualify as "shifts", still less their smoothing into modern /ū/ and /ī/. Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ...


See also

English is a West Germanic language that originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain by Germanic settlers and auxiliary troops under Roman tutelage from various parts of what is now northwest Germany and the Northern Netherlands. ... // Phonological history of the low front vowels æ-tensing Bad-lad split Trap-bath split Phonological history of the low back vowels Main article: Phonological history of the low back vowels Father-bother merger Lot-cloth split Cot-caught merger Phonological history of the high back vowels Foot-goose merger and... In the study of phonetic changes, a chain shift is a type of sound shift in which a group of sounds all change at about the same time, with some sounds taking the place of others. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ...

References

  1. ^ Robert Stockwell (2002), "How much shifting actually occurred in the historical English vowel shift?", in Donka Minkova & Robert Stockwell, Studies in the History of the English Language: A Millennial Perspective, Mouton de Gruyter
  2. ^ Charles de Wolf (September 29, 2004). Chomsky's Empty Suit. FrontPageMagazine.com.
  3. ^ L. Kip Wheeler. Middle English consonant sounds.
  • George L. Dillon. Studying Phonetics on the Net.
    • See especially the section on American English vowels
  • Bill Rogers. A Simplified History of the Phonemes of English.
  • Baugh, Alfred C. and Thomas Cable. A History of the English Language, 4 ed. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1993.
  • Cable, Thomas. A Companion to Baugh & Cable's History of the English Language. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1983.
  • Dobson, E. J. English Pronunciation 1500-1700, 2 ed. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1968. (See vol. 2, 594-713 for discussion of long stressed vowels)
  • Freeborn, Dennis. From Old English to Standard English: A Course Book in Language Variation Across Time. Ottawa, Canada: University of Ottawa P, 1992
  • Görlach, Manfred. Introduction to Early Modern English. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991.
  • Kökeritz, Helge. Shakespeare's Pronunciation. New Haven: Yale UP, 1953.
  • Millward, Celia. A Biography of the English Language, 2 ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace, 1996.
  • Pyles, Thomas, and John Algeo. The Origins and Development of the English Language, 4 ed. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1993.

September 29 is the 272nd day of the year (273rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... shelby was here 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
What is the Great Vowel Shift? (0 words)
The Great Vowel Shift was a massive sound change affecting the long vowels of English during the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries.
Basically, the long vowels shifted upwards; that is, a vowel that used to be pronounced in one place in the mouth would be pronounced in a different place, higher up in the mouth.
The Great Vowel Shift has had long-term implications for, among other things, orthography, the teaching of reading, and the understanding of any English-language text written before or during the Shift.
NationMaster - Encyclopedia: Great Vowel Shift (2304 words)
The Great Vowel Shift was a major change in the pronunciation of the English language that took place in the south of England between 1200 and 1600.
The Great Vowel Shift was first studied by the Danish linguist and Anglicist Otto Jespersen (1860–1943), who coined the term.
The values of the long vowels form the main difference between the pronunciation of Middle English and Modern English, and the Great Vowel Shift is one of the historical events marking the separation of Middle and Modern English.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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