Y

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{god, call, give}
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Y (play /ˈw/; named wye or wy, plural wyes)[1] is the twenty-fifth letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet and represents a consonant in English.

Contents

History

Semitic

The ancestor of Y was the Semitic letter waw, from which also come F, U, V, and W. See F for details.

Vowel

The usage of Y in Latin dates back to the first century BC. It was used to transcribe loanwords from Greek, so it was not a native sound of Latin and was usually pronounced /u/ or /i/. The latter pronunciation was the most common in the Classical period and was used by most people except the educated ones. The Roman Emperor Claudius proposed introducing a new letter into the Latin alphabet to transcribe the so-called sonus medius (a short vowel before labial consonants), but in inscriptions was sometimes used for Greek upsilon instead.

Y first appeared as the Greek letter upsilon. The Romans borrowed upsilon first as the letter V, representing both /u/ and its consonantal variant /w/ — U and V in Latin loan words to English.

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