Anent the OE pronunciation for agen, OE pronunciation is a minefield. Below are a few outtakes from a writ by Cyril Babaev. Most of the bolding is mine:
- Scandinavian languages were close relatives with Old English, so the mutual influence was strong enough to develop also the Old English morphology, strengthening its analytic processes. Many words in the language were either changed to sound more Scandinavian, or borrowed.
- Palatalization :This is the process which went under the influence of g, c, sc before vowels in the beginning of the word: ...
- Interesting to know that this palatalization (or softening) is thought by some linguists to influence not vowels but consonants themselves. This means that in some particular position sounds g, c, sc became respectively [g'], [k'], [sk'], and this was marked by a soft vowel after them. So opinions vary on this problem.
- Palatalization appears only in Late Old English, but significantly changes the pronunciation making it closer to today's English:
- cild [kild] > [child]; scip [skip] > [ship]; everywhere [g], [cg] sounds turn into [dj]: bricg [bricg] > [bridj]
- … Certainly there were other changes as well …
- In general, Old English phonetics suffered great changes during the whole period from the 5th to the 11th century. Anglo-Saxons did not live in isolation from the world - they contacted with Germanic tribes in France, with Vikings from Scandinavia, with Celtic tribes in Britain, and all these contacts could not but influence the language's pronunciation somehow. Besides, the internal development of the English language after languages of Angles, Saxons and Jutes were unified, was rather fast, and sometimes it took only half a century to change some form of the language or replace it with another one. That is why we cannot regard the Old English language as the state: it was the constant movement.
Academia usually teaches what they THINK is the Late West Saxon dialect. There were sundry dialects over about 500 years. It all very subjectiv and that's why I usually stay away from it. I think that those who put pronunciations for OE should mark them Late West Saxon if that is what they're using. The core of the problem is that there are no Anglo-Saxons to upstay or gainsay pronunciations so one can use the early periods where the g's, c', and sc's were hard (see above) or the perceived Late West Saxon when they were soft.
Here, we truly hav an odd one. We kno that the hard g survived (in again) and we also kno that the soft g was also benoted since we sometimes see the yogh in ME. Thus both pronunciations were likely and we see both ayen and agen.
Here are the two likely pronunciations from Wiktionary:English pronunciation key, take your pick:
--AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 23:04, 6 December 2011 (UTC)