Eli5: Why is it that when we switch the letter “a” for an “e” in the word woman (to women), the sound of only the “o” changes when pronounced?

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Eli5: Why is it that when we switch the letter “a” for an “e” in the word woman (to women), the sound of only the “o” changes when pronounced?

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You must pronounce this differently than me. Do you go from woman to wimmin?

> The current pronunciation of the first vowel of the singular began to appear in western England in the 13th century under the rounding influence of the w, though the older pronunciation with /i/ (→ modern /ɪ/) remained in use into the 15th century. Although the vowel of the plural was sometimes also altered to /u/ (→ modern /ʊ/) beginning in the 14th century, the pronunciation with /ɪ/ ultimately won out there, possibly under the influence of pairs like foot-feet. However, many speakers (especially of New Zealand English or South African English) have either retained or reinnovated the pronunciation of the plural with /ʊ/. The modern spelling women for the plural is due to influence of the singular; it is attested from the 15th century.

> For a time in the 16th and 17th centuries, the pronunciation of the singular sometimes drifted even further back towards /uː/ or /ɔː~oː/ (→ modern /oʊ~əʊ/) and the plural sometimes drifted even further forward towards /iː/, leading to comparisons of the words to “woe man” or “we men”.)

[Wiktionary source](https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/woman#English)