We’re almost done! Today we’re looking at youth. Don’t you miss that? I know I do.
Youth comes from the Old English geoguÞ, which means young people/warriors) or childhood and is pronounced “jeoguth”. It’s also related to geong, young, which comes from the Proto Germanic jugunthi-, a combination of the Proto Indo European yeu (vigor) and the Proto Germanic suffix -itho, which was a suffix that was put onto nouns like depth and strength.
So, how did it get from a word that begins with a Y to a word that begins with a J to a G and back to a Y? Well, the reason for Y to J is lost to history (it might have to do with the fact that J used to be pronounced like a Y but I’m not sure), and J and the G somewhat make the same sound so that explains that. But we do know what happened to get it from G back to Y. Back in the middle ages, youth began with a Yogh, which had the symbol Ȝ and was pronounced like a combination of Y and G. Then English dropped Yogh as a letter and youth needed something in order to spell it, so they went with Y. Which means that it went all the way back around to the letter it originally started with.
Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English