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compensatory lengthening

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noun Historical Linguistics.

the lengthening of a vowel when a following consonant is weakened or lost, as the change from Old English niht [nikht] /nɪxt/ to night [nahyt], /naɪt/, with loss of [kh] /x/ and lengthening of [i] /ɪ/ to a vowel that eventually became [ahy]. /aɪ/.

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

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