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#466 - 07/12/00 06:23 PM Re: Word puzzles
Jackie Offline
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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11605
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Howdy and welcome, JMike!

Gee, you don't think w is a consonant in "vowel"? :-)


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#467 - 07/13/00 12:41 AM Re: Word puzzles
Bingley Offline
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Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
I'm still waiting to find out why y or w should be a noun.

Bingley
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#468 - 07/13/00 05:24 PM Re: Word puzzles
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
I'd have to agree with Bingley on the w part. I've never even thought of considering w a vowel. Whenever a child recites the vowels he doesn't say a-e-i-o-u and sometimes w. Just because it's silent in words such as hollow doesn't make it a vowel, it's not producing any sound, it's just there because that's how they liked to spell it in Old English, and it's just there for looks now.

If we're going to consider w a vowel, then we'd have to make h a vowel as well, because most people don't pronounce the h in honor. These silent letters are just there to balance the word and make it look better. And remember, we have the silent e also.

For the most part, I'm hesitant to consider y a vowel as well, but I'd say that such usage originates in other languages, most likely Welsh.


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#469 - 07/14/00 01:46 PM Re: Word puzzles
Jackie Offline
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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11605
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
>>I've never even thought of considering w a vowel. Whenever a child recites the vowels he doesn't say a-e-i-o-u and sometimes w.<<

Guess our age difference is showing, Jazzy--I was taught to say, a e i o u, and sometimes w and y.


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#470 - 07/14/00 03:05 PM Re: Word puzzles
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
>>I was taught to say, a e i o u, and sometimes w and y.

Are you serious? If so, then it's rather strange how a simple phrase would change like that. Really, I've never heard of w being considered a vowel before reading this thread.


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#471 - 07/15/00 08:10 AM Re: Word puzzles
Jackie Offline
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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11605
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
>>>>I was taught to say, a e i o u, and sometimes w and y.

Are you serious? If so, then it's rather strange how a simple phrase would change like that. Really, I've never heard of w being considered a vowel before reading this thread.<<

Well, yes, I'm serious. Right here in Kentucky,
approx. 1963. Drummed it into my head pretty well, since I
still remember it after all these years.




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#472 - 07/15/00 02:50 PM Re: Word puzzles
tsuwm Offline
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Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10508
Loc: this too shall pass
'w' is a vowel in some Welsh words which have some usage in English writing, such as cwm (a valley) and crwth (a stringed instrument).


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#473 - 07/17/00 02:10 PM Re: Word puzzles
JMike Offline
stranger

Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 7
Loc: Combine (East of Dallas) Texas
I was also taught "sometimes y and w." That was what prompted my original post - I never could see w as a vowel. (I never thought of the Welsh usage - translations from other languages lead to some awkward constructs. Anyone ever figure out how Xristoul Colon ended up as Christopher Columbus?)

Of course there are the Latin vowels j and v, or is that the Latin consonants i and u? Distinguishing between i/j or u/v didn't happen until about 900 AD (I think - help me here some classical scholar.)


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#474 - 07/18/00 07:38 AM Re: Word puzzles
Bingley Offline
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Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
From David Crystal's "Encyclopedia of the English Language":

Page 260:
J
The history of this letter in English dates only from the medieval period. Originally a graphic variant of i (a lengthened form with a bottom-left facing curve), it gradually came to replace i whenever that letter represented a consonant, as in major and jewel. The lower-case distinction did not become standard until the mid-17th century, and there was uncertainty about the upper-case even as late as the early 19th century.

Page 263:
U
The ancestor of U is to be found in the Semitic alphabet, eventually emerging in Latin as V used for both consonant and vowel. The lower-case letter developed as a smaller and rounded form in uncial script. In Middle English both v and u appear variously as consonant and vowel, in some scribal practice v being found initially and u medially. This eventually led to v being reserved for the consonant and u for the vowel, though it was not until the late 17th century that this distinction became standard.


Bingley
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#475 - 07/21/00 08:16 AM Re: Word puzzles
TEd Remington Offline
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Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
vowel: a speech sound produced by the relatively free passage of breath through the larynx and oral cavity, usually forming the most promitnent and central sound of a syllable.

consonant: a speech sound produced by a partial or complete obstruction of the air stream by any of various constrictions of the speech organs.

There are people who specialize in this stuff but I'm not one of them, so I could easily be proven wrong here. (where is Enry Iggins when we need im???) But I would say that the w in vowel is a diphthong (a compound vowel sound) -- ooh eh with the first part rhyming with the vowel sound in cool. Bear in mind that letters are merely an attempt to show us graphically what a word should sound like when spoken.

I think I'll take the rest of the day of for a ghoti-ing trip!

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