Definition of vowel shift in English:

Share this entry

vowel shift


1A phonetic change in a vowel or vowels.
Example sentences
  • Observations suggest that some Australians may be following the NZ lead in the vowel shift, but the pattern appears to be increasing divergence from the old near-identity.
  • I can accept that cks could become x, but why the vowel shift?
  • All of these languages are characterized by a highly inflected grammar, meaning that grammatical structure is indicated by prefixes, suffixes, vowel shifts, and other changes of words within a sentence.
1.1 (the Great Vowel Shift) A series of changes between medieval and modern English affecting the long vowels of the standard language.
Example sentences
  • The Great Vowel Shift is something of a mystery, and linguists have been unable to account for why it took place.
  • When the Great Vowel Shift took place, the vowels rose upward, pushing the next higher vowel into the slot above.
  • English had genuine ‘long vowels’ until the Great Vowel Shift between 1400 and 1600.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: vowel shift

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.