Why Sometimes Y?

Look, Y isn’t a vowel.

No matter how often elementary school teachers get their students to repeat that annoying vowel rallying cry (“a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y”) there’s still no reason to the rhyme. A is a vowel, okay. E is one too, and I can support that. I can support the I and oh boy am I behind the O. And you gotta believe in the U.

But Y? Total vowel wannabe.

You English majors are going to get all up in my face about the definition of a vowel, I know you will. So before we start one of those horrible vowel-rumbles, let’s get clear on what a vowel is. It is:

…a speech sound that is produced by comparatively open configuration of the vocal tract with vibration of the vocal chords but without audible friction.

Now go ahead and say all the vowels and notice how you’re doing just fine with an open vocal tract and a pretty wide open mouth until you get to that silly little faux-grin when you say the letter Y. It just doesn’t fit, does it? It just doesn’t jive with the feeling you get when you go through the five illustrious vowels. Y is like generic peanut butter on a tortilla when the rest of the vowels represent Skippy (Chunky Style) on a nice fluffy piece of 7 Grain wheat bread.

When you go to a car dealership to buy a Ford, let’s say — you’ll notice that the dealership also has a bunch of non-Ford brand cars on the lot that have been traded in by people. You know, there’s a Nissan over there and a Toyota near the back — and they’re previously owned vehicles that you can buy while you’re there. But the thing is, you went to the Ford dealership to get a Ford — you don’t want to buy a car that’s sometimes available for sale like a Nissan or a Toyota. You want a Ford, 100%, no question about it.

So if you want a vowel, why pick up a Y?

Personally, I try to stay away from the Y as often as I can. Simply because the Y is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, trying to get in with the popular crowd like Patrick Dempsey did in Can’t Buy Me Love without actually potentially really belonging… Now, some of you will call me a hypocrite — here I am writing a post about how much I disagree with the Y’s plan for becoming a full-fledged vowel, yet I’m using Y in my writings.

Well, no more. From here forward, I refuse to use the Y as a vowel.

That being said, I think that writing without that letter is not a tough thing to do. I can live a life without ever crossing paths with such a thing. Just having written this last line, without even coming close with the previous-mentioned guilt-ridden individual — I can feel the potential of a world without that letter is something that is well within the reach of each one of us.

So there you go. I’m committed. No more of that letter.

At least not until it apologizes for pretending to be something it isn’t.

29 comments on “Why Sometimes Y?

  1. Alissa - March 29, 2006 at 8:36 am -

    I always go by Wheel of Fortune – I don’t think Y is an option when someone says “Pat, I’d like to buy a vowel”.

  2. Mark K - March 29, 2006 at 8:41 am -

    The title of your blog uses Y as a vowel.

    Except on Fridays.

  3. Hilary - March 29, 2006 at 8:45 am -

    But…without Y, you wouldn’t be Pauly D. That has to count for something…

  4. Chase - March 29, 2006 at 8:46 am -

    Then I hope you’re not planning on writing about hymns or rhythm…because then you’re screwed, boy.

  5. Wendi - March 29, 2006 at 8:46 am -

    y ask y…

  6. monkeyinabox - March 29, 2006 at 8:49 am -

    But…without Y, you wouldn’t be Pauly D. That has to count for something…

    You couldn’t be P-Diddy either.

  7. TERI - March 29, 2006 at 8:49 am -

    Y It is a vowel in French…

  8. annabel lee - March 29, 2006 at 8:59 am -

    “So there you go. I’m committed. No more of that letter.”

    Isn’t it ironic?

  9. Pauly D - March 29, 2006 at 9:21 am -

    AL – It is ironic, don’t you think?

  10. susan - March 29, 2006 at 9:39 am -

    There you go again with the inflammatory topics! Down with trees, the letter Y wannabe vowel – next thing you know you’ll be cursing Moms, apple pie, Chevrolets. Rabble rouser, uh, English Major rouser.

  11. dgm - March 29, 2006 at 9:58 am -

    geez, next you’re going to try to eliminate the schwa.

  12. mattlandia himself - March 29, 2006 at 10:44 am -

    Franklee, I think writing with the letter ‘y’ is over-hiped. I find it much easier when mi spelling is more in line with the rithum of my life. If fact, when I write mi first spriritual himn, I will most definitelee call it “This cowboi ain’t likelee to git to heaven.”

  13. Keith - March 29, 2006 at 11:18 am -

    At least now I know I wasn’t the only one who saw this Sunday’s Family Guy

  14. better safe than sorry - March 29, 2006 at 11:34 am -

    mmmmm, skippie peanut butter, crunchie stiele, i don’t know, that st*le is a hard.

  15. Jacquie - March 29, 2006 at 11:37 am -

    Y ask Y?

  16. Karl - March 29, 2006 at 12:08 pm -

    I’m with you, Paul. ‘Y’ has been pushing it’s Y-vowel agenda for far too long. It terrorized my parents in grammar school, terrorized me in grade school, and continues to terrorize children to this day. Where is the support of our troops for *this* terrorist?

  17. Nicole - March 29, 2006 at 1:18 pm -

    With out the ‘Y’ how will pretentious English majors be able to write? Old English words like “ye” and “thy” are like water to them. Take it away and they die.

  18. Figs - March 29, 2006 at 2:12 pm -

    Is this ban on the vowel usage alone, or also as a consonant?

  19. Will - March 29, 2006 at 2:26 pm -

    Paul is certainly right. (I refer to Paul in the third person, because I can no longer use the second person if I expect to show my support.) I support Paul to the highest degree. (I use the phrase “to the highest degree” because I there are few adverbs that I can still use, considering that most of them end in the scorned letter.)

  20. Bre - March 29, 2006 at 2:43 pm -

    I’m one of those pesky English majors….

    …. and as such I’m biting my tongue

  21. Rabbit - March 29, 2006 at 3:40 pm -

    While we’re at it, can we toss the letter C too? I mean, think about it. It either sounds like a K or an S. So why not just use K or S?! I have a hard enough time spelling without all these useless letters tripping me up.

  22. Pauly D - March 29, 2006 at 4:36 pm -

    Rabbit – I say get rid of Y, X and C.

  23. Sara J. - March 29, 2006 at 5:48 pm -

    I have to ask here… was this post inspired by Sundae’s episode of the Familee Gui?

  24. Sara J. - March 29, 2006 at 5:49 pm -

    Oh shoot. I used the “y” after all. So much for proof reading!

  25. Pauly D - March 29, 2006 at 5:49 pm -

    Sara J – I totally don’t watch that show — but you’re the second person to mention it. What was the show about?

    Man, maybe I should be writing for them.

  26. Dave2 - March 29, 2006 at 6:24 pm -

    Or maybe they should be writing for YOU.

    Wouldn’t you like to take a break from the daily grind of writing a blog entry and relax for a week or two?

    I know I would. 🙂

  27. ms. sizzle - March 30, 2006 at 3:49 pm -

    so you threw down the y post eh paul?

    😉 sizz

  28. groovebunny - April 2, 2006 at 10:03 pm -

    If you could start a movement to get rid of the “y” sometimes a vowel rule, my kid would make you King. I’m also down for getting rid of Y and X, but not C. My name would look completely weird spelled with an S.

  29. Jane - October 23, 2006 at 8:08 am -

    Saying the vowels are also great facial exercises…try it…do you watch the senior citizen Ruth on her workout show. Her face is incredible because she’s done the vowel exercises. Yet, she never says and “sometimes Y.”

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