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|The Latin alphabet|
Y is the twenty-fifth (number 25) letter in the English alphabet. It is sometimes considered a vowel. In words like year, yell, and yes, the Y is a consonant. In words like cry, fly, and sky, the Y is considered a vowel.
Where it came from
Semitic, Phoenician, Greek and Latin
"Y" has appeared as the Semitic letter "waw". This was the first time it appeared in an alphabet. F, U, V, and W also come from the Semitic alphabet. The Greek and Latin alphabets used the Phoenician form of this early alphabet. There are similarities to the old English letter yogh (Ȝȝ). The table shows where the letter "y" came from.
|Phoenician||Greek||Latin||English (approximate times of changes)|
|→||U →||/U/UU →||/U/|
|→||(vowel /y/) →||(vowel /i/) →||(vowels)|
|G →||Ȝ →||G →|
|consonantal /j/ →||(consonant)|
Meanings for Y
- In chemistry, Y is the symbol for yttrium.
- In Mathematics, y is another unknown variable, used as a second unknown variable ("x" is used as the first unknown variable)
- "Y" Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989); Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (1993); "wy," op. cit.