Tuesday, October 17, 2006

a e i o u and . . .

sometimes y

when not y?


  • The letter Y stands for a consonant in "yoke" but for a vowel in "myth." The answer to the question is that Y is the only letter commonly used as both vowel and consonant in English. A consonant is a sound in spoken language (or alphabetic letter denoting the sound) that has no vocal sound of its own but relies upon a nearby vowel with which it can sound. Consonant is from the Latin words con 'with' and sonant 'sound'. A vowel is a sound in spoken language that has a vocal sound of its own; it is made by a fairly open configuration of the vocal tract. The letter Y is probably used more often as a vowel, but in the role of vowel it is often interchangeable with the letter I. They overlap, so Y is often pronounced like short or long I ("myth," "fly"), although sometimes like long E ("messy") and occasionally as a schwa ("myrtle," "satyr"). In "say" and "boy," Y forms a single sound with the preceding vowel, similar to the double-vowel combinations in "paid" and "void." The consonant sound Y is not consistently represented in English spelling by any other letter, which is probably why we tend to think of it mainly as a consonant. It has just one sound, the y of "youth" and "yearning." Around AD 100, about 700 years after the Roman alphabet had been created, the Romans added the letters Y and Z. They were copied directly from the Athenian Greek alphabet of the day and this was done to help in transliterating Greek words into Latin. The use of Y as a consonant goes back to medieval French and it was forcibly imported to England with the Norman Conquest of AD 1066.

    and stuff.

    By Anonymous pyehammer, at October 17, 2006 at 3:25 PM  

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    By Blogger anna, at October 17, 2006 at 3:45 PM  

  • you kids today and your blorgs.

    By Anonymous piehammer, at October 18, 2006 at 9:19 AM  

  • wow --
    what an explanation!!!
    That sounds like it is straight from the dictionary!!!

    Anna -- where you been -- missed ya!!!

    By Anonymous Susan, at October 18, 2006 at 9:52 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 9, 2010 at 8:42 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home