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How come rude is not pronounced as /rjuːd/?
It used to; the [j] was regularly dropped after certain consonants:
Phonological history of English consonant clusters – Wikipedia
The change of [ɪ] to [j] in these positions (as described above) produced some clusters which would have been difficult or impossible to pronounce; this led to what John Wells calls Early Yod Dropping, in which the [j] was elided in the following environments:
- After /ʃ, tʃ, dʒ/, for example chute /ʃuːt/, chew /tʃuː/, juice /dʒuːs/
- After /j/, for example yew /juː/ (compare [jɪʊ̯] in some conservative dialects)
- After /r/, for example rude /ruːd/
- After stop+/l/ clusters, for example blue /bluː/
Apparently Welsh and some other dialects kept [ju] as [ɪu], did not undergo yod dropping, and as a result they pronounce chews /tʃɪʊ̯z/ and choose /tʃuːz/ differently. I can’t tell from Wikipedia whether that extends to rude being pronounced as ree-ood.
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