Every word in English has vowels though some argue that words like sky do not have a vowel. The letter Y is an issue of is it a vowel or is it not a vowel. The reason why there is a vowel in every word is because having too many consonant sounds in a row is very difficult for English speakers to say. An example of this would be strengths. This is one word that has five consonants in a row, but not every letter is pronounced which is why it isn’t too hard for English speakers to pronounce. For this very reason there are very few words in English that have more than one consonant in a row. Yet, languages like Polish have much longer strings of consonants but still have vowels.

There is another Issue to consider with saying that every word has a vowel. Some argue that hmm, shh, psst, ect., are words while some disagree. If those are considered words then there are words without vowels. But if they are words then this whole post and research is useless and there are words in English that do not have vowels. Those are not hard to say but sometimes if you say them when talking to people a little awkward or weird because it’s not something, at least for me, that is said often. I tend to bump people to get attention or say their name, when I shush people I tell them to be quiet, and when I think I pause I don't make many sounds I just look off at nothing.

Some other facts that I find interesting, about languages that are from my sources. The language with the largest Alphabet is Khmer, the shortest is Rotokas, which is also the language with the fewest sounds, and fewest consonant sounds with having only 6. The one with the most sounds is !Xóõ. English is the most widely published language. Final fact is that the language with the most consonant sounds is Ubyx with 81 consonants.

Is Y a vowel?
Are things like hmm, shh, and psst words?






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  • Interesting topic choice which I have come to expect from you. I appreciate it! You did a good job Erin. I do think your questions could be stronger but the topic doesn't really lend itself to questions and discussion as its more of an educational piece. 

  • I think that y should be a vowel because of what y is it is sometimes a vowel. I think that they aren't words because they aren't that formal, they don't mean anything, and you don't really say anything when you say them.

  • I think that y should be counted as a vowel based off of what context it is and the word it is being a part of. Depending on the situation, I think should determine if it is counted. I think that hmm, shh, and psst are not words, they aren't very formal so you wouldn't find them in some big research paper, but they could be like other common words that are said but don't count as words.

  • I personally believe that y can do what ever it wants because if you think about it if Y was only a vowel or only a constanant then what other letter would we use to replace the one that took both of the jobs and still did it right but still it can be messy.

  • I feel like y shouldn't be a vowel you can't go back and forth its either a vowel or it's not I think that it is not a vowel also I feel like the small sounds should be counted as words 

  • I feel like y shouldn't be a vowel. Just like other things in life, you can't go back and forth it's either a vowel all the time or none of the time and I think it's none of the time. and I feel like the small sounds should be counted as words. A word is something that has a shared meaning and almost everyone knows what those mean.

  • A,E,I,O,U, and sometimes Y. Honestly, I am confused on how people define a vowel. Are there certain rules or sounds that they have to follow? Words are letters combined together to make multiple sounds. I feel that hmm and those other "words" are words to me. They are used and make sounds within the English language.

  • Y is a vowel if it makes a vowel sound. Y in the word yellow would not be a vowel. Y in the word cloudy would be a vowel since it makes an ee-sound. I do not think hmm, shh, or psst are words. They're just vocal gestures we make without explicit definitions. 

  •  I don't know what I would call Y I don't think it is a vowel I don't think it has a name and I would use hmmm, and shh as sounds not words there for I don't think they are words they are sounds and Y is not a vowel.

  • I think that Y's are sometimes vowels and sometimes consonents. The way we speak shows us this. I think that a word should have to have a vowel but not have to have a consonent to be a word. I am not sure why this is a debate because it is basic english knowledge.

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