working on her first novel. Some scholars believe the shift was influenced by the rapid migration of people from northern England to the southeast part of the country to escape the Black Death that killed over 25 million people across Europe. While the name makes the Great Vowel Shift sound like a momentous day when an event occurred, it was, in fact, a gradual process that started in the late 1300s. The changes can be defined as “independent”, as they were not caused by any apparent phonetic conditions in the syllable or in the word, but affected regularly every stressed long vowel in any position. The Great Vowel Shift has had long-term implications for, among other things, … So, for example, the "i" in Middle English had a long "e" sound, as in the word "sweet." Additionally, some words in class "ea" such as swear and bear retained their old pronunciations even after the shift. The spellings of some words changed to reflect the change in pronunciation (e.g. Others argue the Great Vowel Shift occurred in response to an increase in the number of French loanwords used in the English language. EME pronounces the long "o" as the "o" in "goal. Another exception to the Great Vowel Shift were loanwords such as soufflé and umlaut, which retained the spellings from their original languages. Examples of these changes in words include the pronunciation of "i" in the word bite, which was originally pronounced as /i:/ and became /ai/. Afterward, the long "i" sound was pronounced as it is currently, such as in the word "night.". The migration resulted in the mixing of accents, warranting changes in the standard London dialect. To distance themselves from prior French occupation and rule, the English ruling class may have deliberately changed the ways vowels were pronounced to reflect that theirs was a different language. The Great Vowel Shift gave rise to many of the oddities of English pronunciation, and now obscures the relationships between many English words and their foreign counterparts. The ‘vowel shift’ relates to the sound of long vowels. This little known plugin reveals the answer. The major changes that resulted from the Great Vowel Shift were that the pronunciation of "i" and "u" changed to either "ǝi" and "ǝu","e" and "o" were raised to "i" and "u", "a" was raised to "æ", "" became "e", "ͻ" became "o", "æ" was raised to "", "e" was raised to "i", and "ǝi" and "ǝu" dropped to "ai" and "au". This period can also be referred to as the change from Middle English, hereafter ME, to Early Modern English, hereafter EModE. The vowels (i:) and (u:) underwent breaking and became the diphthongs (aɪ) and (aʊ) The double "e" in the word meet was initially pronounced as /e:/ bu… Middle English (ME) "a" is pronounced as the "a" in "father." The Great Vowel Shift. It must be concluded that the problem of the Great Vowel Shift remains unresolved. This was a period of social upheavals, for many reasons, and the result was that people from Northern England, and from the Midlands came into greater contact, in larger … stone from stan , rope from rap , dark from derk , barn from bern , heart from herte , etc), but most did not. The Great Vowel Shift refers to the 15th century change in pronunciation of long vowels that occurred in England. To answer Post 1: The Shift was about pronunciation, not spelling. November 24, 2020 at 7:46 pm Thank you for your amazing teaching and oral history Kevin. By the sixteenth century English spelling was becoming increasingly out of step with pronunciation owing mainly to the fact that printing was fixing it in its late Middle English form just when various sound changes were having a far-reaching effect on pronunciation. Theoretically, "tool" could reasonably be spelled "tule," as is "mule." The first one is to do with the movement of people around the country. EME pronounces the long "i" as the "i" in "light. Some words such as father, broad, and room retained their Middle English pronunciations because they failed to pick up the new pronunciations. Whatever the theory, linguists look to the shift as the forebear of modern English pronunciation, and also as to why English speakers spell so many words in ways that make little sense from a phonetic standpoint. Within this time period, “The Great Vowel Shift” occurred, resulting in shorter vowel sounds. Some scholars[who?] The shortening of ante-penultimate syllables in Middle English created many … This has been really, really helpful. Some printers might still have employed an earlier vowel pronunciation when spelling, making English one of the most challenging languages to spell, because so many exceptions to spelling rules exist.