Word-initial lenition in Old English
This document contains Old English words of the Old Norse origin, as found in Random House Webster’s College Dictionary (2001) and Collins Online Dictionary (2022), and thus English words of the Old Norse origin which were loaned into Middle English are excluded, such as vǣngir ‘wing’ and vindauga ‘window.’ A specific trajectory of the word-initial onset in Old Norse to the counterpart in Old English shows that the lenition of /v/ ~ /hv/ > [w] had occurred at what may be generally considered as “strong positions” (Ségéral and Scheer 2008: 131) in the Old English era. The strong positions refer to a position within the syllable where the occurrence of lenition is not favored, such as a word-initial onset position and a post-coda position (Honeybone 2012).
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The words are collected from Random House Webster’s College Dictionary (2001) and Collins Online Dictionary (2022).