A Letter in Limbo

Somehow, two of my four classes (in different disciplines) have recently started discussing language. We’ve talked about things like, where did language come from? How do reading things in different languages change our perceptions of certain novels? How does language– and where it comes from– serve to connect or disconnect us from the natural world?

As I’m sure you can imagine they’ve all been intellectually stimulating, seriously rewarding, blah blah blah. So when I woke up this morning thinking about language, of all things, I felt like I was making great connections to these discussions! I could contribute to the worldwide linguistics discourse! I could write a blog post!! Until I realized that in my half-sleep I was just ranting about the letter Y.

Apparently Y isn't even a vowel? Seriously, WTF is it??

But seriously, Y? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great letter. I suppose. I’ve actually never really thought about it until this morning, which I guess means that I don’t hate it or anything. Maybe I’m just a normal human being. But this morning I woke up incensed and confused. Why does Y get to be both a consonant AND a vowel? Not even I gets to be both things and it stands on its own as a word! It represents the self, for chrissake! What more important vowel is there in the english language?

I was mildly comforted by the fact that being both a consonant and a vowel could lead to some serious identity problems. And then, in my half-awake state, I began to feel sorry for the letter Y.  What if, all these years, kindergarten teachers had been fostering discrimination by denying Y a place as either a vowel or a consonant? What if Y never reaches its potential, and all because it doesn’t know where it fits in??

Then I woke up fully and realized that I needed to start going to bed at normal-people times again. Language is fun, but analyzing the alphabet is obviously not my forte.


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