In a message dated 4/11/2000 5:05:50 PM Eastern Daylight Time, [log in to unmask] writes: << My roommate's last name is Irizarry, and he tells me that an alternate spelling is Yrizarri. He also sais that both Y/i-rizarr-i/y and Y/i-barra are probably Basque names, which could account for the spelling differences. >> The "spelling reform" I particularly had in mind was promulgated by various Chilean writers in the post-independence period, perhaps as a way of setting "American" Spanish apart from the Old Country. Nice idea, but it never really caught on. After all, Spanish spelling needs very little reforming, and this use of y- for unstressed _i_ AFAIK is about the only feature that caught on at all, variably at that, and probably limited to proper names and a few forms like yerba ~ hierba. Basques might have taken to it to make their names look less Spanish.......?