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How did Proto-Germanic "e" break into "ja" in Old Norse?
I can't realize it.
for instance helpaną hjalpa

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  • What are you asking, exactly? How it developed, or how it's pronounced? It's a straightforward onglide, if you speak English you're already familiar with more of them than most.
    – Cairnarvon
    Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 17:35
  • How it developed
    – fedor
    Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 18:11
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    I don’t think anyone knows for sure, but the ‘default’ way to get there would be to have diphthongisation of /ɛ/ to /iɛ/, and then opening of /iɛ/ to /iæ/ and finally /ia/. All these developments are commonly attested – in fact, almost exactly that sequence of events is found in Eastern dialects of Finnish: long /eː/ diphthongised to /ie/ (in all of Finnish), then opened to /iæ ~ ia/ (depending on vowel harmony) in eastern dialects. Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 8:26

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