Great Vowel Shift

pronunciation change in English between 1350 and 1700

The Great Vowel Shift is a sound change in the English language when all the long vowel sounds in English changed. This took place from the late Middle English period to the Early Modern English period.[1][2] This is the main reason why English words often sound different from how they are spelled.


  1. Dobson E.J. 1968. English Pronunciation 1500–1700. 2 vols, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press. (vol. 2, 594–713 for discussion of long stressed vowels).
  2. Nordquist, Richard 2018. [1]