The Etymology of the word “YOU”

Sep 23, 2019English and Study Tips, Smart Brains Spotlight

Etymology of the word “YOU”

Can you spell “YOU” as the letter “U”?

How are phrasal verbs used in speaking English?

Brian Collins

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Etymology of the word "YOU" Smart Brains Spotlight


Fix your English Grammar Etymology of the word "YOU" 

 

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Etymology of the word "YOU" The topic for today is “Why isn’t the word ‘you’ spelled with just the letter ‘U’?“. Learning should be for life. Every moment of every day we are being presented with new and important lessons. Here we will present you one handpicked new and important lesson every day from smart brains and experts around the world.  

 

As explained by Brain “The reason why we wound up with you and thou was French spelling”.  

 

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Etymology of the word “YOU”

 

Etymology of the word “You”

Etymology of the word "YOU"

Thank you, Brian Collins and Quora.

 

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Why isn’t the word “you” spelled with just the letter “U”?

Etymology of the word “You”

Brian Collins

Fix your English Grammar

Etymology of the word "YOU" How can I become fluent in English?

Etymology of the word “You”

How are phrasal verbs used in speaking English?

How are phrasal verbs used in speaking English? Etymology and surprising origins of words

 

 

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How are phrasal verbs used in speaking English?

How are phrasal verbs used in speaking English?

The Etymology of the word “You”

 

Etymology of the word "YOU" Answer by Brian Collins, ( PhD candidate in linguistics at University of Queensland ). All credit goes to Brian Collins, Thank you!

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Fix your English GrammarEtymology of the word "You"

 

Here are all of the ways it was spelled in Middle English:

 

Thank you, Brian Collins and Quora.

 

Out of those, you and yew survived into Early Modern English, but yew was largely abandoned as spelling was standardised.

 

It might blow your mind but <u> is ambiguous. We have:

  • uniform
  • urea
  • cute
  • mute
  • humour

 

…which all have a /ju/ sound in most dialects of English (with a /j/ <y> sound as a component — e.g., urea starts with the same /j/ or <y> consonant as yes).

 

However, we also have:

  • under
  • umbrage
  • umbrella
  • humble
  • blunt

 

…which all have an /ʌ/ or /ʊ/ sound in them, depending on the dialect.

 

Etymology of the word "You"  The reason why we wound up with you and thou was French spelling. In Middle English, thou and you had the same vowel sound (one shifted as a result of the Great Vowel Shift while the other didn’t). French spelled the closest sound to /u/ as <ou>.

 

French did this because Latin words with the sequence /ɔl/ and /ol/ lost the /l/, and became a diphthong /ow/. This then shifted to /u/ eventually, and has remained roughly there ever since (example words are fou which came from follem, pulsat which became pousse).

 

I also suspect that Middle and Old English scribes incorrectly believed the pronoun you came from a word that used to begin with */g/. They spell it with the same convention as words like yesterday which really did etymologically begin with /g/. This is the reason why every variant of the word always had a <g> or a <ȝ> or something representing a lost /g/ sound, as opposed to a single letter.

 

 

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Reference: Brian Collins, “Why isn’t the word “you” spelled with just the letter “U”?originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. Fix your English Grammar

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