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Give Y a Break

*Edited 8/31: Totally unrelated but interesting PSA at the bottom. Please read.

Lettery I'm far from being associated with the letter police. I've committed my fair share of letter violations  - particularly overusing the letters "F U" and fairly neglecting of the letters "ME" on various occasions. But now, I'm on a mission.

Call me judgmental but I prefer to think of myself as a "Letter Advocate."

If you haven't noticed, we're in the midst of a letter crisis and if we're not careful, we may cause one or more letters to go on permanent strike. Don't freak out - the letter "z" is prefectly fine. In fact, I'd appreciate it if he'd come out of exile and make a visit to my house, particularly between the hours of 8:30pm and 7:30am.

No, I'm talking about the letter "y." Sure, it's lived in the shadows of "a & e" for a long time. Many folks don't even know the last part of the vowel song - "sometimes Y and W" damnit. But now? The love of "y" is out of control. So, I'm writing this today to make a plea to all new and expectant mothers to give "y" a break. I mean, clearly, if you keep overusing "y" then we're all going to get screwed.

Don't get me wrong, I know that "y" functions quite well in names like "Mary," Audrey," and "Evelyn." But when you start using upwards of two or more "y"s in one name, say "Allysyn" or "Jamysyn," you're double dipping in the big bowl of letters. And there aren't going to be enough "y's" to go around.

Maybe you don't write a blog, but I do. And damnit, I rely heavily on my extreme overusage of adverbs. And let's face it. What the hell is a "ak" or a "east infection?" Who ever heard of the color "ellow?" And I just don't think Jewel would have gotten as famous if she was just "odeling."

Where would the Beatles be with a song called "esterda?" We'd lose a whole line of the soon to be defunct "Micke Mouse" song... Sorry, we can't love you because Julie Jones decided to name her daughter Madysyn Elyse and so we had to get rid of that part of the song.

So, I beg you, on behalf of the very tired letter "y" - enough already! It's okay for people to be able to spell your kids name on the first try. Just think of all the time and energy you'll save yourself (and your kid) by not having to say "no, it's ______ with a "y."

Plus, you won't make it two seconds through labor and delivery if all you can do is "ell." And when the nurse asks you if you want an epidural and all you can say is "es" - well, that's really going to suck.

Take my advice, for the sake of us all. Give Y a break.

[Photo via]

*There's an interesting discussion going on in the comments of my post over at The Mom Trap regarding race and culture as it relates to motherhood. Is a mom just a mom just a mom? Or is fair to say that my experience as a white mom is going to be different than say a Latino mother or an Asian mother? Or do we all just love our kids and that should be enough? Go visit and share your thoughts.


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Sometimes a "Y" just can't be subsituted. (without looking like a dumbass of course) My daughter is Peyton. I don't like complicating the spelling of good names. Peiton? Paiten? Paytyn? Yuck! A Y just belongs with the name in my opinion. Traditional spelling are highly under-rated.

You cracked me ryght up wyth thys post, Krysten. ;-)

I agree. And to think, back in '95, I struggled with whether or not to give my child the middle name of Myles. Thankfully, common sense prevailed, and it is Miles.

My maternal grandmother, born in 1912 was named Lillian Kathryn, so I named my daughter Kathryn, same spelling. I thought it was a unique way of spelling, old fashioned maybe, since it was my grandmothers spelling. Then I started seeing the same spelling on little license plates and christmas ornaments. Ruined it for me.

From the title, I thought you were having to step in and defend Yvonne from "Joy Unexpected" against some awful assault!

And by resugence, I mean resurgence. What's the deal with Rs anyway?


And also, what's the deal with the resugence of the K?

I met a kid recently named Kolton...Kolton Konner Kane. Um. Really? Really? Was that really the best idea they could comoe up with? Let's just hope monograms don't come back in.


It KILLS me when people get cross-eyed over my son's name, which is a legitimate, very common, Indian name, but YET, they have either named their kid something they came up with after too many glasses of wine OR came up with some funky spelling to make it "different".

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for this post.

Oh yeah, the last names as first names is common now. As is using place names for first names: Brooklyn, Phoenix, Aspen, etc.

The worst offenders: those who use place names and misspell them Case in point: Irlynd.

My daughter has an unusual name, but it is a name that has been around for awhile, and was a popular name in Victorian times. With the new wave of Victorian names (Emma, Jane, Emily, etc) I figured she'd fit right in. I like less-common names, but they have to be real names.

Now if I could just convince my husband on the name "Arabella" if we ever have another girl.

My middle name is spelled Lynnette. I think that's acceptable use of the letter "y" - Linnette would just look silly.

However, I have known an Allysyn. I always "mispronounced" her name (as in, pronounced the "y" as "y" and not "o") - she hated it.

Why can't people just come up with something new, rather than changing the spelling (but not the pronounciation) of already popular names?

In the 27 letters of all 3 of my daughters names, there is naught a "y" in site.

great blog!
i just found you on chbm :D

Christina, I was just going to suggest people read "Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing" too! But only if you have the rest of the afternoon to sit at your computer laughing your fool head off.

My fave example of bad names, culled probably from babycenter's baby names message board:
"We aren't having kids for another year or two, but we like Kellyna Nychole, Taryn Mykah and Mykenzie Kathryn for girls."
comment: This woman was indicted under the Flagrant Over-Use of the Letters K and Y Act of 1983.

Oh, so that's why my kid says "lellow", he ran out of y's.

I saw the title and was like "YEAH! GIVE ME A BREAK ALREADY, PEOPLE. GOSH!"

Because, everything is about ME, you know.

No Ys were harmed in the making of my children. In fact, I'm not entirely convinced that Monkey has a Y chromosome. *fist in the air*

My SIL is on her way to being an offender. In November she's having a daughter and FOREVER she has wanted to name her first daughter Rayne. Like the stuff that falls from the sky, but with a y. I strongly dislike it because 1) it uses the Y and 2) it's a little too hippy-out-there for me. It might be cute on a kid, but a 30 yo? Or what about a 65 yo?

I hate it that I have to tell people my daughter's name is spelled J-a-n-e.

Haha!! You know, I always do get a kick out of people asking me how to spell my (real) name. I always say "C-I-N-D-Y - the real way."

For some reason, this post reminded me of the cutest book in the world. Go read "Ella Minnow Pea." It's similar to your losing-the-y scenario. But they lose lots of letters. :)

haha.... this is hilarious!!
and so are the comments here...
Like it a lot!

Adwyna... no, no, Adwina

y oh y must people gyve their kyds names that nobodee wyll ever spell ryght? y?

I'm guilty of a Y in Q's middle name, but it's a Chinese name spelled into an English equivalent. Do I get a break for that? ;)

LOL! You slay me!

Honestly, I don't care a fig about the y thing one way or another, but your post is hylaryous!

East Infection. Now THAT would be an interesting name!

I know it's "supposed" to be spelled Caitlin, but I named my daughter for my Mother's middle name (Kay) and my sister and SIL's middle names (Lynn). So I get a break, right?

Well... my parents socked a "Y" into my name where an "E" usually lives. I have no strong feelings about it one way or another but yes, the Y thing is out of control.

In fact, the whole wacky name thing is out of control. Be unique. Be different. But for crissakes, be thinking of your kid's future! What a pain in the ass. I know a girl who named her son Rikki - and on camp and soccer enrollment forms, she has to specify that he is a BOY. Oh yeah. Well thought out.

We've had a Lord & Lady (twins), a Whisper, a Cinnamon and a Nemo in our birth announcements. Next thing you know it'll be names like Scout, Apple, or Suri - oh wait. Crap.

Technically Quinlan is a last name - however, it's a common Irish first name too.

For a boy. Oh well.

Some names, like McGilicutty - should stay a last name, however.

no ys anywhere in our names. not even in middle names. so I'm saving the Ys for (y)ou.

Though my first child is a last-name as first person. Sorr(y). It was the onl(y) girl name we could agree on. Of course that meant we'd get 2 more girls, when we can't agree on girl names. No boys when we had great boy names.

Jaymyson...hahahaha. I will tell you that it makes me insane. But then, so do people using last names as first names. A boy in Maya's class is named Anderson. I wish I was kidding.

As a woman who has been repeatedly telling people for years "No, my name is spelled with an 'I' not a 'Y'" I thank you.

Or, should I say "Y thank you."?

Oh man, Christina, that story is awesome. And that's always been a favorite website!

Oh, bless you for addressing this very important subject.

May I also suggest that people allow last names to function as LAST names? Poor MacKenzie...so tired and overworked. Probably out drinking at the bar with Y.

guilty as charged.

i could pull out every justification in the book and cause the fray (just for you fizzle, just for you), but that would accomplish nothing, and you'd probably find my y-named daughter and me just annoying as ever. so i'll just leave it at "guilty as charged."

I named my daughter Haley for that exact reason. H-A-L-E-Y. You can't eff it up.

If the haters come knockin', I got your back, OK? I couldn't agree more with your post.

Case in point: someone who told me, "I spelled her name with a Y so she wouldn't have the same name as a bunch of other Madisons in her class."

Me: "You realize the teacher is going to pronounce it the same way as every other Madison, so it's still the same name."

Clearly you've seen this site, right? http://www.notwithoutmyhandbag.com/babynames/index.html

I smell a controversy a brewing.

No not really. But that would be really funny if someone took this seriously.

I have to say, I'm with you (ou?) on this one. Maybe it's the backlash from all the Jennifers and Melissas and Michelles who grew up hating to be Jennifer B or Jennifer R their whole lives. But Madysynne Alyvya? Jordynne Crystynah? Eek. I think I'd prefer Jennifer.

Love it, love it, love it.
Thank goodness I have a Grace Marie, right? :-)

This ought to be good.

I complytyly agree. But Dylan was a name passed down from my brother, Joel Dylan, who was named for Bob Dylan and Billy Joel. I guess my mother could have named Joel "Billy Bob," but then I'd have to call Dylan "Billy Bob Junior" and get a shotgun and a pickup truck. Though I'd save money on toothbrushes.
Can't wait to hear from Jynnyfer's and Mychelle's mothers. Ha.

thank You. Sometimes it's positively criminal what people come up with. I mean, A'lyvia? I AM NOT KIDDING, I read this in the newspaper.

Smart move, Fyzzle.

I mean, fizzle.


Finally, someone else who knows that "sometimes Y and W" part! But I dare you to find a word that uses W as a vowel without the help of another vowel. I'm at a loss. And don't give me that dipthong lecture - I'm not buying it.

You said it, sister! I fondly remember the times when the only name I knew that could have a y or not was Kathryn. BTW, my DD's middle name is Katharine (not Katherine or Kathryn).

...eagerly awating reaction from Y-naming mothers on this one....

i'll be standing here on the sidelines quietly until the fray has passed.

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