This might help - from the OED: http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/131358?rskey=194bWD&result=1&isAdvanced=false#eid
The expected Middle English form in the south and midlands would have open ō ( < Old English ā : see O n.1), a shortening of the reflex of which is reflected in the modern English regional pronunciation /wɒn/ . The vowel in the usual modern pronunciation arises from shortening of /uː/ , the reflex of Middle English close ō , in a variant showing the result of raising of the vowel from open ō to close ō . The usual modern pronunciation also reflects the development of a back glide before Middle English open ō and, more rarely, close ō , although this has been only rarely reflected in the spelling; compare oat n., oak n. The widespread non-standard enclitic 'un (evidenced in rhyme at least as early as the late 17th cent: compare quot. 1675 at sense C. 13b) represents the survival of a form without the back glide. English regional (northern) and Scots forms in y- reflect the development of a front glide before e ; compare oat n. and see further A. J. Aitken & C. Macafee Older Sc. Vowels (2002) §22.2.1. On the pronunciation history see discussion in E. J. Dobson Eng. Pronunc. 1500–1700 (ed. 2, 1968) II. §§ 36, 37, 150, 429, 431.
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013
One pronounced like wun - question answered by an expert (some do answer questions I write about!)
My question had been asked about the reason why "one" is more pronounced as "wun" than as "own". I asked it via the feedback on Simon Ager's omniglot site, and here is his answer: