A daily curious fact from Justin Kitch, Curious CEO
We all know “A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y” are vowels in the English alphabet, and all the other letters are consonants. Technically, a vowel is any sound made without the mouth or throat closing. Consonants are sounds that require air to stop at least once during vocalization. This is why “y” is only a vowel sometimes–the ‘Y’ in “yellow” is a consonant but in “wry” it is a vowel. Well, it turns out that by the technical definition there is a seventh vowel: w. At the end of words like “now” or “how”, it is actually considered a vowel because air doesn’t stop. The same appears true when you say “zzzz” but because your teeth have to be almost touching (try saying the “zzzz” while opening your mouth wider) it is actually a subclass of consonant called a fricative, made by pushing air through a small gap in your teeth. Yowee, this is getting complicated!
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