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Leppaenen, Ville; Alho, Tommi (2018): On The Mergers Of Latin Close-Mid Vowels. In: Transactions of the Philological Society, Vol. 116, No. 3: pp. 460-483
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In this article, we examine the details and dating of the mergers of Latin i, e into e;and u;, o into o. While these mergers have long since been recognised as a matter of historical fact within the broader development of Latin into Romance, their micro-level mechanics present several problems. By re-examining the available evidence from various empirical and theoretical perspectives, we argue that the mergers were the result of two phonological processes: the rise of peripherality distinctions in the vowel system on the one hand and the loss of contrastive vowel length in the fifth century AD on the other.