BL: hag (revision)
Posted: 21 September 2013 05:15 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ve redone this one.

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Posted: 21 September 2013 09:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Interesting, I would have assumed that hæg (in hægtesse) would be pronounced like “hay,” but apparently the g was pronounced as in modern hag.

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Posted: 21 September 2013 02:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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No, your assumption was right. In Old English <g> takes a /y/ sound when next to a fronted vowel. Dæg (day), for instance is pronounced /di-ja/.

I assume the hard /g/ in hag came in Middle English with the shift in the vowel from <æ> to <a>.

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Posted: 22 September 2013 06:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’m finding it hard to imagine how that happened, though.  By then /y/ and /g/ were presumably different phonemes; why would the lowering of the vowel cause people to start saying the latter for the former?  It seems likelier to me that there was an unrecorded variant /hag/ in OE that came out of hiding in ME.

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