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Great' Vow'el Shift'



Ling.
a series of changes in the quality of the long vowels between Middle and Modern English as a result of which all were raised, while the high vowels (ē) and (OO), already at the upper limit, underwent breaking to become the diphthongs (ī) and (ou).

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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