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Why are “put” and “but” different in their pronunciation? [closed]

I was editing my answer to a very similar question here: Why there is difference in pronunciation of words PUT and CUT? In fact, I think these questions should be merged. But I also think that the merged question should be re-opened, in case someone in the future has more useful information about this topic. Please post an answer explaining what you think.

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Yes.

The question is basically about the historical development of one part of the English language. It has a real answer supported by facts and not opinion; read Jon Hanna's post to see what it is.

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