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Long-Vowel Shifts in English, c.1050–1700
Evidence from Spelling


Part of Studies in English Language

  • Date Published: January 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107677517

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About the Authors
  • The English language has undergone many sound changes in its long history. Some of these changes had a profound effect on the pronunciation of the language. A number of these significant instances of language evolution are generally grouped together and termed the 'Great Vowel Shift'. These changes are generally considered to be unrelated to other, similar long-vowel changes taking place a little earlier. This book assesses an extensive range of irregular Middle English spellings for all these changes, with a view to identifying the real course of events: the dates, the chronology, and the dialects that stand out as being innovative. Using empirical evidence to offer a fresh perspective and drawing new, convincing conclusions, Stenbrenden offers an interpretation of the history of the English language which may change our view of sound change completely.

    • Proposes a new view of Middle English long-vowel changes
    • Provides concrete answers to when and where long-vowel changes took place
    • Assesses a large collection of irregular Middle English spellings, to construct an argument based on factual examples
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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107677517
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.485kg
    • contains: 3 b/w illus. 75 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The development of OE ā
    3. The development of OE ǣ
    4. The development of OE ē and ēo
    5. The development of ME ī
    6. The development of OE ō
    7. The development of ME ū
    8. The development of OE ȳ
    9. Summary and conclusions.

  • Author

    Gjertrud Flermoen Stenbrenden, Universitetet i Oslo
    Gjertrud Flermoen Stenbrenden is Associate Professor of English Language at Universitetet i Oslo.

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