Wikipedia has a helpful page on Middle English phonology: but there are two diphthongs in its table which I cannot identify: the close-mid diphthongs “/oi/, developing into /ui/” and “/ei/, developing into /i:/”.

Which words had these sounds?

table of Middle English diphthongs

  • FWIW Blackwell’s A History of English doesn’t seem to list those, only the open-mid /ɛɪ/ /ɔɪ/. May 13, 2018 at 7:51

1 Answer 1


Actually I found the (partial) answer in the same page: early /ei/, the result of e + a palatalized g, merged into /i:/ early. It was found in words like eye (OE ēage > ēġe > eye), to lie, meaning to deceive (OE lēogan > lēġan > to lie) and fly OE (flēoge > flēġe > fly)

I didn’t find out which words had /oi/, but I suppose it was just a transitional state of borrowed Oïl /oi/, before it was shifted to /ui̯/, and placed in table twice, by mistake.

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