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Jack Graham

Jack Graham wrote about Doctor Who and Marxism, often at the same time. These days he co-hosts the I Don't Speak German podcast with Daniel Harper.Support Jack on Patreon.

20 Comments

  1. Max Curtis
    October 18, 2015 @ 12:07 pm

    Y?

    Reply

  2. Ger of All Trades
    October 18, 2015 @ 12:43 pm

    I wonder what Lawrence Miles would make of this.

    Reply

    • Matt M
      October 18, 2015 @ 1:19 pm

      He would think “I wish I’d checked that story I wrote with no vowels in it to check that it actually had no vowels in it” 😉

      Reply

  3. Luca
    October 18, 2015 @ 1:22 pm

    You’re forgetting one the most fundamental things about the Y (and the W for that matter). Vowels or consonants, they are very much “english” letters, and their growing usage in latin countries is very much a sign of imperialism.

    Reply

    • Aylwin
      October 18, 2015 @ 4:41 pm

      No, Y is originally a Latin letter, introduced in antiquity to represent Greek upsilon in loanwords and names (as Z was for zeta), and continues to serve that purpose in the Greek-derived vocabulary of, for instance, French. In most European languages, however, Y is, like its Greek forebear, always a vowel, or almost always. Its ambivalent status in English is evidently a typical product of the exceptionally subtle gradations of the English class system.

      If there’s a crime here, it’s the extermination of the Y population of Italian.

      Reply

    • Gnaeus
      October 19, 2015 @ 10:52 pm

      Ah, so the Celtic and Slavonic language groups don’t exist. Or else the phonology of Welsh is wholly a construct of imperialism?

      Good grief.

      Reply

      • Luca
        October 20, 2015 @ 11:47 pm

        I was talking about latin countries where the growing use of anglicisms is a sign of imperialism. Of course other languages use the Y and it has it’s own history in linguistics, but that is fundamentally not what I was talking about.

        Reply

  4. Camestros Felapton
    October 18, 2015 @ 1:39 pm

    Excellent.
    Can you cover whether submarines are ships or boats next?

    Reply

    • ferret
      October 18, 2015 @ 10:22 pm

      It’s very simple: all vessels in the British Navy are ships. All of them, no matter how large or small, without exception. It’s a more dignified term, and keeps communication nice and simple to avoid confusion.

      Oh apart from submarines, they’re boats.

      Reply

  5. Anthony Herrera
    October 18, 2015 @ 1:53 pm

    This article does nothing but restate everything we already know. This isn’t shallow analysis, this is non-analysis. Compared to the usual standards of Eruditorum Press this is completely laughable.

    Reply

    • Gnaeus
      October 19, 2015 @ 10:53 pm

      Now that really is damning with faint praise.

      Reply

  6. Jane Campbell
    October 18, 2015 @ 2:31 pm

    That there is a schism in the Y community is reflected in the morphology of the letter — not just a snake’s tongue, but as if the head of an I has been cleaved in two. But the Y is clear on its preferences, namely it likes both consonants and vowels, as well as participating in both communities. As such, it is the most alchemical of letters. It is quintessentially mercurial.

    Sadly, most of the debate around Y seems to question its very existence.

    But this should not be unexpected, given its titular self-reflective phonology. This is not, however, an excuse for the erasure of its narrative; let us not make it a silent letter! If anything, we should laud the ability of the Y to transgress the artificial categorization of lettering. For indeed, phonemes truly exist on a spectrum.

    By its very nature, then, the Y breaks down the false dichotomy of the debate. Furthermore, it ends up representing a “union of opposites” and a such the symbolism of its glyph is rather one of “cleaving together.” Given its proximity to a rather prominent X motif, we might even go so far as to suggest Y is a step beyond “crossing over” and indeed points the way to Ascension.

    Reply

  7. dm
    October 18, 2015 @ 11:50 pm

    So Jack’s lost it, then.

    Reply

  8. Andrew Plotkin
    October 19, 2015 @ 1:14 am

    Cliff Johnson sure is great.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      October 19, 2015 @ 10:54 pm

      The image was my choice, not Jack’s. (As I noted in the Tumblr discussion, the fact that I imagine the alphabet to have internal politics is 100% down to 3 in Three.)

      Reply

  9. Megara Justice Machine
    October 19, 2015 @ 1:41 pm

    They can be two things!

    Reply

  10. Timber-munki
    October 20, 2015 @ 2:40 am

    Won’t someone think of the chyldren?

    Reply

  11. John G Wood
    October 20, 2015 @ 5:34 am

    The title reminded me of that Hale & Pace sketch:

    Pace: [slowly shaking head] Why, oh why, oh…
    Hale: …spells yoyo.

    As a Y myself, I appreciate that you acknowledged our consonantal nature. Despite being bribed into taking on some of the aspects of vowels (though we would never be accepted as equals by the ‘true’ vowels) I know where my loyalties should lie, even if I feel uncomfortable there.

    Power to the consonants!

    Reply

  12. taiey
    November 20, 2015 @ 6:55 am

    This exists because of me, and I am so proud.

    Reply

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