The letter Y is the twenty-fifth letter in the modern
Latin alphabet. Its name in English is spelled wye or occasionally wy (pronEng|waɪ), plural wyes. ["Y" "Oxford English Dictionary," 2nd edition (1989); "Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged" (1993); "wy," op. cit.]
The original ancestor of Y was the Semitic letter "Waw", which was also the ultimate origin of the modern letters
F, U, V, and W. See Ffor details.
Ancient Greek, Υψιλον (" Upsilon") represented IPA2|/u/, then later on IPA|/y/ — close front rounded vowel. The Romans had already borrowed this as the letter V, to represent both the vowel IPA|/u/ as well as the consonant IPA|/w/, but in later times, because the pronunciation of "Ypsilon" in Greek had shifted to IPA|/y/, they borrowed it directly in its original form, stem and all, as Y — mainly to represent names and words taken from Greek.
The letter Y was used in Old English, as in
Latin, to represent IPA|/y/; however, some claim that this use was an independent invention in England created by stacking a V and an I, unrelated to the Latin use of the letter. Regardless, it is fairly likely that the letter, although technically named "Y Græca" (IPA IPA| [u gre:ka] ) meaning 'Greek u' in contradistinction from native Latin IPA|/u/, came to be analyzed as the letter V(called IPA|/uː/) atop the letter I(called IPA|/iː/). The letter was thus referred to as IPA| [uː iː] , which after IPA|/uː/ became the glide IPA|/w/ and after English's Great Vowel Shiftnaturally became IPA|/waɪ/.
Middle English, IPA|/y/ had lost its roundednessand merged with IPA|/i/, and Y came to be used with the same values as I, IPA|/iː/ and IPA|/ɪ/ as well as IPA|/j/. Those dialects that retained IPA|/y/ spelled it with U, under French influence.
Modern Englishuse of Y is a direct continuation of this Middle English use.Thus the words "myth" [of Greek origin] and "gift" [of Old English origin] ,which originally contained high front rounded vowels, both have IPA| [ɪ] .
With the introduction of printing, the letter Y was used by Caxton and other printers in
Englandto represent the letter thorn (Þ, þ) which was lacking from continental typefaces, resulting in the use of "ye" for the word "the".
In Spanish, Y is called "i/y griega", in Catalan "i grega", in French and Romanian "i grec", in Polish "igrek" - all meaning "Greek i" (except for Polish, where it is simply a phonetic transcription of the Latin name); in most other European languages the Greek name is still used; in German, for example, it is called "Ypsilon" (or also sometimes spelt "Üpsilon") and in Portuguese it's called "ípsilon" or "ípsilo" (although in Portuguese there is also the name "Greek i"). [http://www.omniglot.com/writing/portuguese.htm] The letter Y was originally established as a vowel. In the standard English language, the letter Y is traditionally regarded as a consonant, but a survey of almost any English text will show that Y more commonly functions as a vowel. In many cases, it is known as a
semivowel(a type of consonant).
After fronting from IPA|/u/, Greek IPA|/y/ de-rounded to IPA|/i/.
Other Germanic and Scandinavian Languages
When not serving as the second vowel in a
diphthong, it has the sound value IPA|/y/ in the Scandinavian languages and IPA|/ʏ/ in German. Y can never be a consonant (except for loanwords), but in diphthongs, as in the name Meyer, it serves as a variant of "i".
In Dutch, Y appears only in
loanwords and names and usually represents IPA|/i/. It is often left out of the Dutch alphabet and replaced with the "ligature IJ". In Afrikaans, a development of Dutch, Y denotes the diphthong [EI] , probably as a result of mixing lower case i and y or may derive from the IJ ligature.
Spanish language, Y was used as a word-initial form of I that was more visible. (German has used Jin a similar way.) Hence "el Yugo y las Flechas" was a symbol sharing the initials of Isabella I of Castille("Ysabel") and Ferdinand II of Aragon. This spelling was reformed by the Royal Spanish Academyand currently is only found in proper names spelt archaically, such as Ybarraor CYII, the symbol of the Canal de Isabel II. Xis also still used in Spanish with a different sound in some archaisms.
Appearing alone as a word, the letter Y is a
grammatical conjunctionwith the meaning "and" in Spanish and is pronounced IPA|/i/.In Spanish family names, "y" can separate the father's surname from the mother's surname as in " Santiago Ramón y Cajal". Catalan names use "i" for this. Otherwise, Y represents IPA|/ ʝ/ in Spanish. When coming before the sound IPA|/i/, Y is replaced with E: "español e inglés". This is to avoid pronouncing IPA|/i/ twice.
The letter Y is called "I/Y griega", the "Greek I", after the Greek letter
Italian, too, has Y ("i greca" or "ipsilon") in a small number of loanwords.
In Lithuanian Y is the 15th letter and is a vowel. It is called "the long i" and is pronounced /i:/ like in English "see".
Azerbaijani Y is pronounced as IPA|ya.
When used as a vowel in Vietnamese, the letter "y" represents the
close front unrounded vowel. When used as a monophthong, it is functionally equivalent to the Vietnamese letter "i". Thus, "Mỹ Lai" does not rhyme but "mỳ Lee" does. There have been efforts to replace all such uses with "i" altogether, but they have been largely unsuccessful.
Quechuaand Aymara, Y is always IPA|/j/.
ignificance in the IPA
In the , IPA| [y] corresponds to the
close front rounded vowel, and the slightly different character IPA| [ʏ] corresponds to the near-close near-front rounded vowel.
It is indicative of the rarity of front rounded vowels that IPA| [y] is the rarest sound represented in the IPA by a letter of the Latin alphabet, being cross-linguistically less than half as frequent as [voiceless uvular plosive|IPA| [q] ] or [voiceless palatal plosive|IPA| [c] ] and only about a quarter as frequent as [voiceless velar fricative|IPA| [x] ] .
Codes for computing
Unicodethe capital Y is codepoint U+0059 and the lower casey is U+0079.
ASCIIcode for capital Y is 89 and for lowercase y is 121; or in binary 01011001 and 01111001, correspondingly.
EBCDICcode for capital Y is 232 and for lowercase y is 168.
numeric character references in HTMLand XMLare "&#89;" and "&#121;" for upper and lower case respectively.
*Unicode|Υ, υ, the Greek upsilon
*Unicode|У, у, the Cyrillic U
*Unicode|ы, ы, the Cyrillic Yeru
*Unicode|Ү, ү, the Cyrillic Ue (Straight U)
Ɏ, a Y with a stroke in the Latin alphabet
Ƴ, a hooked Y in the Latin alphabet
¥, a currency symbol
* In the Japanese
resale price maintenancesystem for music and print publications, " saihan seido", the typographic symbol unicode|Ⓨ marks the first date for the fixed price and unicode| Ⓧmarks the last date.
af:Y als:Y ar:Y arc:Y ast:Y az:Y ca:Y cs:Y co:Y cy:Y da:Y de:Y et:Y el:Y es:Y eo:Y eu:Y fa:Y fur:Y gan:Y gd:Y gl:Y ko:Y hr:Y ilo:Y is:Y it:Y he:Y ka:Y kw:Y sw:Y ht:Y la:Y lv:Y lt:Y hu:Y ms:Y mzn:Y nah:Y ja:Y no:Y nn:Y nrm:Y pl:Y pt:Y ro:Y qu:Y simple:Y sk:Y sl:Y fi:Y sv:Y tl:Y th:Y vi:Y vo:Y yo:Y zh-yue:Y bat-smg:Y zh:Y
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