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zompist bboard • View topic - Yod-dropping: why is it there in the first place?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:27 pm 
Sanci
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Okay, n00b question time.

Reading about English phonology at Wikipedia, I came across a brief discussion of the phenomenon of "yod-dropping". I don't understand where the /j/ comes from to be dropped. When I pronounce 'cute', I habitually say it k-yoo-t; when I say 'union', it's yoon-yun. And of course the name of the letter U is yu. I know from experience that 'u' can mean either oo or yoo, depending on context. I've never given it any thought before; now that I have, I'm completely perplexed.

Why is the palatal aspect of the sound so integral that its omission is considered sufficiently noteworthy to have its own formal term? Why is it there in the first place?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:50 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:01 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:59 pm 
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The reason is historical. But it also covers a variety of different words and it is more common not to have it than to have it. Yod dropping in words like new or tune is very common, but in words like cute or union it is not. Some rural areas of England have in beautiful.

There's also yod coalescence, which is when another sound change happens to the cluster like tj > tS.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:58 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:11 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:36 am 
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I was always taught that /y:/ merged with /i:/, as in "bry:d" > "bride," and that the /iu/ and /eu/ clusters had a separate origin. Is that not right?

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:42 am 
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i think that old english's y: became i: but what we're talking about is y: that entered into middle english from french and was probably adapted there and then.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:27 pm 
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(Iirc, /y/ did deround in some English dialects but not in others, leading to a few couplets in later english where words come from different dialects. Couldn't cite you any, though, and I may have misrecalled)

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:09 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:26 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:33 pm 
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