Phonological History of English

The phonological history of English describes changing phonology of the English language over time, starting from its roots in proto-Germanic to diverse changes in different dialects of modern English.

Within each section, changes are in approximate chronological order.

NOTE: In the following description, abbreviations are used as follows:

  • OE = Old English
  • PreOE = Pre-Old English
  • ME = Middle English
  • NE = Modern English
  • PG = Proto-Germanic
  • PrePG = Pre-Proto-Germanic
  • NWG = Northwest Germanic
  • OHG = Old High German
  • MHG = Middle High German
  • NHG = Modern German
  • Goth = Gothic
  • PN = Proto-Norse
  • ON = Old Norse
  • OS = Old Saxon
  • PIE = Proto-Indo-European

The time periods for many of the following stages are extremely short due to the extensive population movements occurring during the early AD period, which resulted in rapid dialect fragmentation:

  • The migration of the Goths from southeast Sweden to the Baltic Sea area around AD 1, followed by the migration to southeast Romania around AD 200. (Later migrations carried the Crimean Goths eastward to the Crimea area in modern Ukraine, the Ostrogoths to Italy, and carried the Visigoths westward to Spain.)
  • The migration of the High German ancestors southward, starting around AD 260, and renewed in the 5th century AD.
  • The migration of the Anglo-Saxons westward into Britain, starting around AD 450.

Read more about Phonological History Of English:  Late Proto-Germanic Period, West Germanic Period, Ingvaeonic and Proto-Anglo-Frisian Period, Old English Period, Until Middle English, Up To Shakespeare's English, Up To The American–British Split, After American–British Split, Up To The 20th Century, After 1900

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Phonological History Of English - Summary of Vowel Developments - History of Middle English Diphthongs
... This table describes the main developments of Middle English diphthongs, starting with the Old English sound sequences that produced them (sequences of vowels and g, h or w) and ending with ... Late Old English (Anglian) Early Middle English Late Middle English Early Modern English Modern English Example æg, ǣg /ai/ /ai/ /eː/ /ei/ dæg > "day" grǣg ...

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