This is a blog I wrote in September 2006. I decided to pull it out and dust it out today, partly to share it with you all, and partly because I can't think of much to blog about at the moment. I hope you enjoy it.
For generations people have been asking themselves.. "What the hell is the letter y? Is it like.. a vowel.. or a consonant.. or some strange combination of the two?" And now, NOW.. thanks to the Internet and text messaging, the letter Y has also become a whole word (ie Y are you doing this?), as well as a whole question and sentance (ie. Y?)
And I know that we have all spent many sleepless nights wondering, why should one letter have to take on so many duties? Well, below are transcripts two seperate conversations which took place between the letter Y and the other letters, one when the letters were originally dishing out the workloads as to who is to appear in what words and another more recently when Y was trying to shift some of it's ever growing workload. Some parts of these conversations may not be pretty, there are points when the English language is brutally raped so be warned.. but I hope this sheds some light on the whole situation for you, and helps you sleep at night.. read on, if you will, and join me in answering one of the greatest mysteries known to man.
So as I said, this first conversation was many years ago, when the letters were first splitting their workloads between them
Y: Wait wait wait.. what did you just say? I'm going to have to perform the work of a vowel in "why, my, by, shy, fly, try" and so on? Well that doesn't really seem fair now, does it? I mean.. I thought I was a consonant.. so why can't one of the vowels do it? Like I.. why can't I do it?
I: But.. you are doing it..
Y: That's not what I meant and you know it. Why can't you do it? After all, the sound I'm producing is a sound you're supposed to create. Why can't you do it? And make the words "whi, mi, bi, shi, fli, tri"?
I: Think about it for a second.. how can we have a word "ski" which describes what people do in the snow, and another word "ski" which describes the big blue thing hanging over them.. I don't produce that sound when I'm on my own.
Y: Sure you do.. what about in words like "bi" and "tri"..
I: Those are different, they're descendants from the latin words for "two" and "three" In terms of words that are strictly english words, I don't produce that sound unless I have another vowel with me.
Y: What? That's ridiculous. You're just being lazy an..
I: Lazy? Dude, I've already got my hands full with words like "Mississippi".. I'm used on my own every time somebody says something about themselves.. which you know people are going to do on a regular basis because there's nothing they like to do more than talk about themselves. You? What do you do? You appear in words like "you" and "they" and.. well.. that's about it. How often do people use those words? As I said, people much rather talk about themselves than to include others in their stories..
Y: It looks like I'm going to be in "my".. won't people use that all the time as well? Besides,l I work a hell of a lot harder than X does that's for damn sure. I mean, other than xylophone, x-ray and Xenedes what else does X do?
X: Leave me out of this. Young men everywhere will be using me on a regular basis.
Y: Well, whatever, it's not about that. You know you're going to confuse people with this? They're not going to realise what the hell I'm meant to be
I: That's not what this is about, you just don't want the extra workload. People are smarter than you give them credit for, they'll work it out, trust me.
Y: I still don't see why it should be me that does a vowels work.. if you can't do it on your own I how about getting E in there? That will produce the I sound.. as in "pie"
E: Whoa whoa hold up. I'm already appearing in a whole lot of words myself, several times in words like everyone and people mmm.. Don't you go trying to bring me into this and unloading more work on me
Y: Oh this is messed up. It seems like you're all against me just cos I'm at the end of the alpabet
Y: Yeah whatever. If you wanna give all this extra work to me then fine, but I'm promising people aren't going to understand, and they're going to be making jokes about it for centuries.. "That y eh.. vowel or consonant? Nudge nudge nudge" "Yeah that's a tricky one isn't it? Wink wink wink".. if you want me to be the but of everyones jokes then fine, but I'm telling you all now I won't forget this..
Anyway, it went on like this awhile longer with Y complaining and the others assuring Y that everything would be ok. And for a few centuries it was ok, as Y said it became the but of everyones jokes with nobody really being sure what it was supposed to be and although Y tried several times to get the other to reconsider, they said that as everything was already in place and people had become used to the way it was (even if they didn't understand it), they couldn't change things now.
As technology improved however, people were able to communicate in ways they never had before. The handwritten letter and the personal touch went out the window as this was all taken over by the far less personal text messaging and email. People saw these new technologies as an excuse to get lazy.. words like "aren't" became "RNT".. "envious" became "NVS".. "see you later" became "cya l8r" and "laughing out loud" became "lol"..
Nobody questioned it and everybody understood what these things meant. That was just the way it was. But as much of a travesty these brutal attacks on the english language were, they are not the topic in this next conversation. The next conversation, as you will see, was a debate once again, where the letter Y felt it was overworked after now being given the workload of being the whole word "why"
Y: Now do you guys think I am overworked? Not only am I have to do vowel and consonant work, I've been given the job of being a whole word to myself as well
I: Big deal, I've been a word of my own since this whole language began
A: Me too, and you don't hear us complaining
Y: Yeah but those are one letter words, that is the way it was intended. I've been given the job of a three letter word without even being consulted.. the all round laziness of the human race made that decision for me.. and you know I, they haven't even started saying "eye" as "i" yet.. e and myself still have that job.
S: So what would you like us to do? It's not like we made this decision.. as you said, it was the laziness of the people that have done it, and it's not something we can control.
8: Y's right though. There must be something we should do. I mean, I shouldn't even be here.. I'm a number for christ's sake
B: What can we do though? We don't control them. We gave ourselves to them as a tool for communication a long time ago, and now that their methods of communication have improved they're able to do with us as they wish.
Y: Well I still don't think it's fair. I'm now a consonant, a vowel, a word and a question.. and not only do you guys not appreciate that, people don't appreciate it either. It just gives them more excuses to mock me because now it's even harder for them to work out what I'm supposed to be, even if this is wholy due to their own recent creations and original ignorance.
M: We do appreciate it man, we know you got it hard.. but hey.. like.. there's nothing we can do, right? Like.. I mean.. even if we wanted to.. which.. like.. I swear we do and all.. but.. right?.. like.. what can we do to help and all you know what I'm saying? Cos.. right.. even if we wanted to change the language and all.. it is now what is is and people will just keep using it that way..
P: M's right, we're not to blame, people are to blame. All we did was hand out original designations which we were all happy with and over time, they have raped and destroyed what we agreed on for their own benefit. But hey, that's what they do and there's nothing we can do about it, except, to say we're sorry and we feel your pain..
Y: You're right.. I know you are.. and I know you do appreciate the work I do, it's just.. well.. sometimes it all gets a bit much you know? And I'm sorry about all that but I guess I just needed to hear you say how much you appreciated what I do.. and I'll try not to let it happen again, I promise.
I: And if I could turn back time and take on those few extra words you wanted me to, I would. But I can't, and so until people find their appreaciation for the english language again, this is how it's got to be I'm afraid.
Anyway, I guess we should probably end the transcipt there. Not much happened after this point except for a brief letter orgy, but if that's your thing, buy some alphabet soup.
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