Friday, April 29, 2011

On Y

Why is "Y" pronounced "why" when "U" is pronounced "you"?

Why were we all talking about "Y2K", but now we're onto "year 2012". Shouldn't it be "Y2K-and-then-some"? "YMMXII"? Y not?

Why do words like "year", "you", and "Yalta" start with a Y when they're pronounced with a j-sound?

Why use a Y in "Y2K" in the first place, when the Y isn't really pronounced as a Y in "year"? "Why-two-key?"

Why is Y the only letter that gets a pronoun named after it? I suppose R almost counts, and we've already discussed U. But what about W? Double-U (and in all fairness, isn't it actually a double-V?) = y'all/you'se/yibus?

Why can't "where" or "what" also have a letter? ("X were U yesterday?" "Z are you asking that for?" "Y not? R U hiding something?")

Why is the y-axis always the vertical one? Isn't that vertically asking Y?

Why isn't Yaltavertically a word recognized by The Free Dictionary by Fairlex?

Why did Kate and Wills pick "National Hairball Awareness Day" to get married?

Why Y? Why?!

13 comments:

mooderino said...

I don't know. Sorry.

Cold As Heaven said...

It's kind of funny now to look back at what was known as the Y2K problem. Computer systems was expected to break down when we entered the new millenium, because years were given by two-digit numbers, and computers wouldn't know the difference between years 2000 and 1900.

We entered the new milennium with no serious problems, but there was a bunch of cimputer consultants who made fortunes on peoples fear >:)

Cold As Heaven

Astrid said...

This post made me smile.
Hope you figure out why :)

Madeleine said...

LOL! I love the twist in this Y blog.
As an SLT I'd say most pronunciations occur because the sounds are affected by what comes before or after rolling off the tongue more easily. People don't say handbag they say hambag because it's quicker, easier. i guess that Y! ;O)

Jan Morrison said...

ha ha ha! I particularly like National Hairball Day - I'm having one here because I'm a lazy slattern who hasn't vacuumed (except our bedroom) for a week or so...and it is doggy shedding season.
It's raining here - hey when do you head out? oh...

welcome to my world of poetry said...

When I am asked for the intial of my name and I answer "Y" people think I am asking a question.
Gets confusing at times.

Yvonne.

Stephanie V said...

Who knew that Y could generate so many questions?

My gd is at the Why? stage. If I don't quite ctach what she's saying, I'll just nod and murmur something agreeable. Then she slams me with the Why?

Michael Offutt said...

Letters are pronounced the way they are due to the alphabet song.

Marjorie said...

Words like you, young, and yell might be the J sound to a Norwegian, but to us it a completely different sound. But you know that! As to the other questions I have no idea!

Cruella Collett said...

Mooderino - K. U R forgiven. Y? Y not.

CAH - I remember for the longest time wondering what this Y2K everyone were talking about, and why no one was talking about the real problem: the fact that computers wouldn't survive the millennium change. I didn't realize what Y2K meant...

Astrid - I hope so too!

Madeleine - ..and now you made me google SLT ;) And you're probably right.

Jan - I think I'm having a National Hairball Month, and I don't even have a dog/cat/furry friend...
(I head out on Tuesday)

Yvonne - Haha, I can imagine how that would get confusing!

Stephanie - that's the problem with not paying attention (or understanding), eh? I have the same issue with my smallest nephew..

Michael - this explains so much! And it makes me want to make a new alphabet song..

Marjorie - yeah, I'm aware. It occurred to me while I was writing, but then I wrote it anyway and hoped no one would notice :P The funny thing is that Norwegian don't actually make that mistake very often when speaking English (we make plenty others), but Swedes do! If you want to speak English with a Swedish accent it suffices to pronounce "just" the way it reads to me... ("yust" to you)

Kelly said...

Wait, you, year and Yalta start with a J sound? I'm confused!

Holly Ruggiero said...

Hah! Great questions.

Why is Y sometime have the I sound like in yttrium?

Pat Tillett said...

Why do you ask?
You are really on a funny streak!
I'm going to have to back track here... have a great week!

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