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Suppose I should have used 'h&v':
Uk English: bat, bet, bit, but Australian: (almost) bet, bit, (tighter i), but NZ (to Australian ears) bet, bit, but, (not sure)
'halve' is 'hahv'. Is the latter the same vowel you have in the first 'a' of 'lava'?

There are a few words which tend to have the "father" vowel in BrE and the "bath" vowel in AmE (of course in southern England these are the same) - half, halve, calf, can't, shan't, banana, rather.

Australians also use a different vowel from BrE in words like 'dance, pasty, etc.', but I think it's the same vowel we use in 'father'. There's still a distinction between 'have' and 'halve'.

Indeed. I wonder whether speakers of that accent distinguish in the same places as Americans do.

Rob Bannister
You should hear what happens when I try to "pronounce ... pronunciations of the letters. The result is weird and unrecognizable.

I'm surprised. It ought to come out vaguely Chaucerian (all those final e's).

You have to consider that every written letter is pronounced, and that the vowel sounds in most words are quite different from those in English. It's sort of like Hawaiian in that respect.

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I'm surprised. It ought to come out vaguely Chaucerian (all those final e's).

You have to consider that every written letter is pronounced, and that the vowel sounds in most words are quite different from those in English.

This is true for Chaucer as well, with the exception that final E's are dropped if the next word in the sentence starts with a vowel and initial H's are dropped if the previous word in the sentence ends with a consonant. (If you get a combination like the "ferne halwes" (foreign holy places) of the General Prologue, neither rule fires and everything gets pronounced.)

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You have to consider that every written letter is pronounced, and that the vowel sounds in most words are quite different from those in English.

This is true for Chaucer as well, with the exception that final E's are dropped if the next word in ... a combination like the "ferne halwes" (foreign holy places) of the General Prologue, neither rule fires and everything gets pronounced.)

You mean, the "l" in "halwes" is distinctly pronounced, like /'halvEs/? It would be in Latvian.
"Writes" would be said as /'vrItEs/ (BTW, there is no "w" in Latvian).

I hope I have the ASCII IPA symbols right.

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This is true for Chaucer as well, with the exception ... the General Prologue, neither rule fires and everything gets pronounced.)

You mean, the "l" in "halwes" is distinctly pronounced, like /'halvEs/? It would be in Latvian.

Yup. /'halwes/. Sort of like "hallways", but with a vowel closer to /A/ than to /O/ and with /s/ rather than /z/ at the end. "Half" is similarly "halve", two syllables, with the /l/.
"Writes" would be said as /'vrItEs/ (BTW, there is no "w" in Latvian).

I think that this one may have disappeared by Chaucer's time (I don't remember being taught how to pronounce it I don't think it would have been /vr/), but I could be wrong.

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"Writes" would be said as /'vrItEs/ (BTW, there is no "w" in Latvian).

I think that this one may have disappeared by Chaucer's time (I don't remember being taught how to pronounce it I don't think it would have been /vr/), but I could be wrong.

Only thing is, it is very hard to imagine a sound not using 'v'; that is to say, a real w+r seems extraordinarily difficult to say, though no doubt not impossible. I think you're right about it being a plain 'r' in Chaucer's time.

Rob Bannister
I think that this one may have disappeared by Chaucer's ... it would have been /vr/), but I could be wrong.

Only thing is, it is very hard to imagine a sound not using 'v'; that is to say, a real w+r seems extraordinarily difficult to say, though no doubt not impossible.

The Oxford Companion to the English Language says that in Old English it was indeed /wr/, the example they give being "writan" (with a macron over the "i").
I think you're right about it being a plain 'r' in Chaucer's time.

Somewhat surprisingly, their article on Middle English doesn't list this as a change (as, for example, OE "cn", which became ME "kn" became /n/ "only in the later stages of ME"), so it may be that /wr/ persisted until Modern English.

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Only thing is, it is very hard to imagine a ... seems extraordinarily difficult to say, though no doubt not impossible.

The Oxford Companion to the English Language says that in Old English it was indeed /wr/, the example ... the 'w' comes before the 'r', unlike 'wh') comes out like a southern BrE speaker with a slight speech impediment.

Rob Bannister
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The Oxford Companion to the English Language says ... they give being "writan" (with a macron over the "i").

(Still tying my mouth in knots trying to pronounce it) I wonder, then, if it represented a sound close to ... the 'w' comes before the 'r', unlike 'wh') comes out like a southern BrE speaker with a slight speech impediment.

Maybe it's something as simple as "were," "world," and "worry." I put a schwa sound in all those.

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