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By V. Y. Plotkin

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28). The mid diphthongoid /oe/ lasted longer, for it was documented in the 8th century. The high diphthongoid /ui/ was naturally the most stable one. But in the ninth century it was replaced by monophthongal front round /y/; /oe/, where it still existed, became /0/. The replacement of the class of back-to-front diphthongoids by the class of front round monophthongs manifests the destruction of the pair of related phonemic oppositions of timbre and timbre gliding and the emergence of a new pair of timbre oppositions, based on tongue-position and lip-position as two separate distinctive features.

In that language /i u/ together with /r l m n/ constituted the distributional class of semi-vocalic phonemes which could make the second mora in the syllabic centre. The syllabic centre was followed by one or two noise consonants, which could begin a new syllable. In other words, the simplest succession A+T (where A stands for any monomoric vowel, T for any noise consonant) could be developed into AU+ST or AR+ST (where U stands for /if or /u/, R - for /if, /If, /m/ or /n/). The sonant R in the succession ART, just like U in AUT, belonged to the syllabic centre, not to the consonantal periphery which the sonant could join only before a vowel.

17 N. S. Trubetzkoy, "Gedanken ber das Indogermanenproblem", Acta linguistica I. 2 (Copenhagen, 1939): 84. 48 SONORITY AND PROTENSITY FEATURES bywa pozycja. synkretyzmu (neutralizacji)" (Kurylowicz, 1960, 221). e. 18 It is noteworthy that the maximal extension of the consonantal opposition of tenseness, seemingly increasing the symmetry of the whole phonological system, in fact contradicted the requirements of symmetry. In intervocalic position consonants are highly susceptible to assimilative influences like voicing, fricativization, vocalization.

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