Gegaderung > Old English Language


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How about g before 'æ' or 'ǽ'?

I've always palatised the 'g' before ea, but seldom and incosistently before 'æ' or 'ǽ'. Is there a pronuciation convention for this?

It'd be strange if I had to pronounce gǽst and gǽþ with /j/ but then going back to Swedish they do it with gick, gingo.

Graegwulf, agreed. I presume that we get the modern pronunciation of 'gate' from dialect of old English that either didn't palatise before front vowels or had a different vowel, likewise 'keen' which if derived from West saxon would be 'cheen' (?) - cēne (?). But most of what I'm reading is West Saxon, and I'd like an informed pronunciation for when Richard Branson starts offering those time travel holidays to 10th C Winchester


--- Quote ---It'd be strange if I had to pronounce gǽst and gǽþ with /j/ but then going back to Swedish they do it with gick, gingo.

--- End quote ---
Ah well, here's where the story ends, in this instance at least. Yes, Swedes say 'yick' for gick (not too many say 'gingo' these days ;) ) but palatalisation varies greatly amongst the Nordic languages, even among the dialects of the same language. For instance, Swedish göra is soft ('yer-a') whereas Danish gøre is hard ('ger-eh'). And this also applies to the unvoiced consonant, and I'm convinced it did dialectically in OE too. Having said that, I still refuse to accept that Geat was ever pronounced geet  ;D

I too, am confident certain about my pronunciation of gēat, which shall remain /jǽat/.

But I'm inconsistent with g before æ.

In my quest to plug this hole in my pronunciation, I consulted First Steps (which should have been among my first actions). Interestingly it was /g/ before y unless that y came from earlier ie. So, gyfan > giefan has /j/, but gyden and gylden have /g/. I've always pronounced them with /j/. Wrong!

Hurra! I found the answer I was looking for and valuable information that I was not looking for.

But this sets my cranial integuements abuzz with questions. Why was g palatised before simple æ but not a diphthong that started with æ? Does the later vowel push that g back to the soft palate, or did the 'ea' start with an /e/ at some point, wreak its havoc upon the g before retiring to the middle of the mouth. Or is it just one of those things?


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