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ColoradoGuy
03-14-2008, 02:52 AM
I ran across this interesting site (http://facweb.furman.edu/~mmenzer/gvs/index.htm) that briefly describes and then has plug-in recordings of what I was taught to be one of the great linguistic morphs in the English language.

This Wiki summary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_vowel_shift) of the phenomenon is pretty good. As I understand it, the thing is still unexplained. Perhaps our resident linguists have some insight as to why tea no longer rhymes with say.

Medievalist
03-14-2008, 07:40 AM
Tea does rhyme with say; you need to go to Scotland :D

ColoradoGuy
03-14-2008, 08:34 AM
Tea does rhyme with say; you need to go to Scotland :D
Well yeah, but they didn't go all the way with the whole shifty vowel thing, right?

Priene
03-14-2008, 01:17 PM
Well yeah, but they didn't go all the way with the whole shifty vowel thing, right?

In Norfolk, part of the great vowel shift happened within living memory. Some time before 1970, pane (non-diphthong) gained a diphthong, and, as in the rest of the country, now sounds identical to pain.

ColoradoGuy
03-14-2008, 03:23 PM
One of the stranger explanations I've heard is that it began with folks copying some influential person who had a speech impediment.

Perks
03-14-2008, 03:50 PM
Well, you do wonder how these things happen. For instance, it had to be like one girl who was like really scattered and kept like buying time for her thoughts by like spacing every segment of her sentences with like this rock of a word.

I bet she was pretty and popular and now we're ruined because of her. I wonder if she, like, knows who she is.

Medievalist
03-15-2008, 07:41 AM
Well yeah, but they didn't go all the way with the whole shifty vowel thing, right?

Yeah, they did -- but the had slightly different starting points for key sounds -- they tended to use Old Norse forms rather then Old English.

Exir
03-15-2008, 09:35 AM
Well, you do wonder how these things happen. For instance, it had to be like one girl who was like really scattered and kept like buying time for her thoughts by like spacing every segment of her sentences with like this rock of a word.

I bet she was pretty and popular and now we're ruined because of her. I wonder if she, like, knows who she is.

LOL! The use of "like" was driving our English teacher up the wall, until she decided to make a rule: "All usage of 'like' without implying a comparison is considered a swear word."