Fragment of a discussion from User talk:CodeCat
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It's syllable length as a whole that counts, not just the vowel. Sweart has a long stem because it ends in two consonants. A short stem ends in at most one consonant preceded by a short vowel, anything else is long.

Another way to look at it is to imagine how the syllables are divided up when the neuter plural ending -u is added. A syllable is heavy when the vowel and anything following it together make up two "moras":

ēas-tu = 3 swear-tu = 2 gō-du = 2 cwi-cu = 1

The ending -u disappears when preceded by a heavy syllable (more than one mora), so the end forms are ēast, sweart, gōd, cwicu.

20:31, 11 January 2013

Oh, I see. Thank you for the explanation. Always good to have a Germanicist on call.

00:21, 12 January 2013