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Great vowel shift Зиновьева Татьяна Николаевна
Great vowel shift - the systemic change in the pronunciation of English vowels (in phonetic terms, the raising and fronting of the long, stressed monophthongs) that occurred in England during the late Middle English period (roughly the period from Chaucer to Shakespeare).
GVS was first studied by Otto Jesperson Otto Jespersen (1860 –1943) was a Danish linguist who specialized in the grammar of the English language.
The reasons of GVS: the mass migration to south east England after the Black Death (1348-1350); a sudden social mobility after the Black Death; the change of language of the ruling class; the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453).
The principal changes: • Middle English [aː] (ā) fronted to [æː] and then raised to [ɛː], [eː] and in many dialects diphthongised in Modern English to [eɪ] (as in make). • Middle English [ɛː] raised to [eː] and then to modern English [iː] (as in beak). • 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 [ʊu], and this was followed by [əʊ], and then Modern English [aʊ] (as in mouse) in the eighteenth century
Exceptions: ea [iː] in words great, break, steak, swear, and bear; the word father failed to become [ɛː]; The word broad, which failed to become [oʊ]. The word room (spelled as roum in ME) is an exception to the shifting of [uː] to [aʊ].
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