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Before the merger of ι and υ, there was a previous merger between υ, υι, and οι. υι makes sense as it was the long equivalent of υ. I’m still unsure how οι came to be pronounced as /y/.

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First, οι /oj/ and αι /aj/ monophthongized into something like /ø/ and /æ/. Then those monophthongs merged with the slightly higher vowels /y/ and /e/.

This is why υ and ε, the previous letters for /y/ and /e/, started to be called "y psilon" and "e psilon"—that is, "plain" /y/ and /e/, written with a single letter instead of two.

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