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Author Topic: The Great Vowel Shift  (Read 4803 times)

David

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The Great Vowel Shift
« on: August 03, 2014, 04:39:26 PM »
The other day I read that the great vowel shift in middle English was unique to English and did not take place on the continent. This was where

Hām     became     home
Swēte   became     sweet
Wīf      became     wife
Gōs      became     goose
Hūs      became     house  etc.

I do not know other languages but it looks as though German had some similar changes.
I think that Norwegian kept with hūs but German changed to haus.
I have heard some other German words which seem to suggest a vowel shift such as buch, maus, reich, weise and weisss.
I do not know old high German or modern German but is this a vowel shift? Does German or any other language have a great vowel shift like English?

Linden

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Re: The Great Vowel Shift
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2014, 06:58:04 PM »
The other day I read that the great vowel shift in middle English was unique to English and did not take place on the continent. This was where

Hām     became     home
Swēte   became     sweet
Wīf      became     wife
Gōs      became     goose
Hūs      became     house  etc.

I do not know other languages but it looks as though German had some similar changes.
I think that Norwegian kept with hūs but German changed to haus.
I have heard some other German words which seem to suggest a vowel shift such as buch, maus, reich, weise and weisss.
I do not know old high German or modern German but is this a vowel shift? Does German or any other language have a great vowel shift like English?

My husband is a Geordie, he is also English and speaks good English.  It does not sound the same as my southern English as it escaped much of the so-called 'Great Vowel Shift'. So when we are talking about 'Modern English', which variant?  The Great Vowel Shift was not so 'gre-at' 'oop' North but was generally more of an issue for 'uss' Southerners ('Soothrons').  Perhaps we should call it the 'Great Southern English vowel  Shift'?
The Germans also had a version of a significant vowel shift but were generally much more sensible and changed the spellings too! But perhaps this left the German equivalent of the Geordies and other Northern English with the problem of pronouncing 'maus' as 'moos'? Pure speculation - no idea about German regional accents.
Cræft biþ betere ðonne æhta

David

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Re: The Great Vowel Shift
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2014, 08:46:42 AM »

It sounds as though German developed in a similar way to English for this vowel shift. That is the "Standard" language changing the sounds and then the spelling but with some of the dialects not making the change.

brian farrell

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Re: The Great Vowel Shift
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2014, 10:50:59 AM »
Can confirm that I've never considered the vowel shift as affecting the north-east.
Words (pronounced as standard English "wards") like "work" (pronounced as standard English "walk") & "gannen t' mi hoos in the toon"

Perhaps we speak standard  "Angle-ish" and the Saxon-achs (sic) speak the dialect {tongue-in-cheek !!!}

David

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Re: The Great Vowel Shift
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2014, 03:34:30 PM »
This is very interesting. I knew that the shift started in London and did not completely cover the whole of the country. I had even come across hūs in Geordie and Sunlan. However it would be interesting to hear just where the borders are between areas that changed and those that didn’t. It would also be interesting to hear about places where some of the vowels changed but others didn’t.

It appears that Germany had a similar shift. Where are their areas that changed and those that didn’t? I suspect most of the Swiss German dialects did not change. Just what were the old and the new sounds in German?

Then did anything similar happen in Dutch, Flemish and Frisian etc?