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W (named double-u,Pronounced plural double-ues)"W", Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989); Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (1993)Brown & Kiddle (1870) The institutes of grammar, p. 19.
Double-ues is the plural of the name of the letter; the plural of the letter itself is written W's, Ws, w's, or ws.
is the 23rd letter of the and ISO basic Latin alphabets.


History

The sounds (spelled ) and (spelled ) of developed into a bilabial fricative between in . Therefore, no longer adequately represented the labial-velar approximant of .

The phoneme was therefore written as or ( and becoming distinct only by the Early Modern period) by the earliest writers of and Old High German, in the 7th or 8th centuries. (not ), by contrast, had simply used a letter based on the Greek for the same sound in the 4th century. The digraph / was also used in to represent Germanic names, including Gothic ones like Wamba.

It is from this digraph that the modern name "double U" derives. The digraph was commonly used in the spelling of Old High German, but only in the earliest texts in Old English, where the sound soon came to be represented by the . In early , following the 11th-century Norman Conquest, gained popularity again and by 1300 it had taken wynn's place in common use.

Scribal realization of the digraph could look like a pair of Vs whose branches crossed in the middle. An obsolete, cursive form found in the nineteenth century in both English and German was in the form of an whose rightmost branch curved around as in a cursive .

The shift from the digraph to the distinct ligature is thus gradual, and is only apparent in , explicit listings of all individual letters. It was probably considered a separate letter by the 14th century in both and Middle German orthography, although it remained an outsider, not really considered part of the Latin alphabet proper, as expressed by Valentin Ickelshamer in the 16th century, who complained that:

In Middle High German (and possibly already in late Old High German), the West Germanic phoneme became realized as ; this is why, today, the German represents that sound. There is no phonological distinction between and in contemporary German.


Use in writing systems

English
English uses to represent . There are also a number of words beginning with a written that is in most dialects before a (pronounced) , remaining from usage in Old English in which the was pronounced: wreak, wrap, wreck, wrench, wroth, wrinkle, etc. Certain dialects of still distinguish this digraph. In the Welsh loanword cwm it retains the Welsh pronunciation, .


Other languages
In Europe, there are only a few languages with in native words, all in a central-western European zone between Cornwall and Poland: English, German, Low German, , Frisian, , , , , , Kashubian, Sorbian, Wymysorys, and Scandinavian dialects. German, Polish, Wymysorys and Kashubian use it for the voiced labiodental fricative (with Polish, Wymysorys and related Kashubian using Ł for ), and Dutch uses it for . Unlike its use in other languages, the letter is used in and to represent the vowel as well as the related approximant consonant .

Modern generally have only or for West Germanic , but or is still heard allophonically for , especially in the clusters , , and . Some Bavarian dialects preserve a "light" initial , such as in wuoz (Standard German weiß 'I know'). The Classical Latin is heard in the Southern German greeting Servus ('hello' or 'goodbye').

In , became a labiodental approximant (with the exception of words with -, which have , or other diphthongs containing -). In many Dutch-speaking areas, such as and , the pronunciation is used at all times.

In , is seen as a variant of and not a separate letter. It is, however, recognised and maintained in the spelling of some old names, reflecting an earlier German spelling standard, and in some modern loan words. In all cases, it is pronounced /ʋ/.

In , Norwegian and , is named double-v and not double-u. In these languages, the letter only exists in old names, loanwords and foreign words. (Foreign words are distinguished from loanwords by having a significantly lower level of integration in the language.) It is usually pronounced /v/, but in some words of English origin it may be pronounced /w/., page 1098 The letter was officially introduced in the Danish and Swedish alphabets as late as 1980 and 2006, respectively, despite having been in use for much longer. It had been recognized since the conception of modern Norwegian, with the earliest official orthography rules of 1907. was earlier seen as a variant of , and as a letter (double-v) is still commonly replaced by in speech (e.g. WC being pronounced as VC, www as VVV, WHO as VHO, etc.) The two letters were sorted as equals before was officially recognized, and that practice is still recommended when sorting names in Sweden. In modern slang, some native speakers may pronounce more closely to the origin of the loanword than the official /v/ pronunciation.

Multiple dialects of Swedish and Danish use the sound however. In Denmark notably in , where the northern half use it extensively in traditional dialect, and multiple places in Sweden. It is used in southern Swedish, for example in Halland where the words "wesp" (wisp) and "wann" (water) are traditionally used. In northern and western Sweden there are also dialects with /w/. is a good example, which is one of many dialects where the Old Norse difference between v (/w/) and f (/v/ or /f/) is preserved. Thus "warg" from Old Norse "vargr", but "åvå" from Old Norse "hafa".

In the alphabets of most modern Romance languages (excepting far northern French and ), is used mostly in foreign names and words recently borrowed ( le week-end, il watt, el kiwi). The digraph is used for in native French words; is or . In Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, is a non-syllabic variant of , spelled .

The Japanese language uses "W", pronounced /daburu/, as an ideogram meaning "double". It is also a short form of an Internet slang term for "www", used to denote laughter, which is derived from the word warau (笑う, meaning "to laugh").

In Italian, while the letter is not considered part of the standard , the character is often used in place of Viva (hooray for...), generally in the form in which the branches of the Vs cross in the middle, at least in (in fact it could be considered a ). The same symbol written upside down indicates abbasso (down with...).

in the , represents the open-mid back rounded vowel /ɔ/.

In Vietnamese, is called vê đúp, from the French double vé. It is not included in the standard Vietnamese alphabet, but it is often used as a substitute for qu- in and very informal writing. It's also commonly used for abbreviating Ư in formal documents, for example Trung Ương is abbreviated as TW even in official documents and document ID number

"W" is the 24th letter in the Modern Filipino Alphabet and is pronounced as it is in English. However, in the old Filipino alphabet, , it was the 19th letter and was pronounced "wah"; there was an equivalent letter in the old script of the Philippines."W, w, pronounced: wah". ''English, Leo James Tagalog-English Dictionary. 1990., page 1556.


Other systems
In the International Phonetic Alphabet, is used for the voiced labial-velar approximant.


Other uses
W is the symbol for the chemical element , after its German (and alternative English) name, Wolfram. It is also the SI symbol for the , the standard unit of power.


Name
Double-u, whose name reflects stages in the letter's evolution when it was considered two of the same letter, a double U, is the only modern English letter whose name has more than one syllable.However, "Izzard" was formerly a two-syllable pronunciation of the letter Z. It is also the only English letter whose name is not pronounced with any of the sounds that the letter typically makes in words, with the exception of H for some speakers.

''Note: Symbols considered part of the English alphabet at some periods of the past include the following:
* The ligature œ (whose name was pronounced similarly to the human name Ethel'')
* &, at some stages a ligature for the word "et" in Latin (and in some other languages that adopted its use); it has in some periods been treated as part of the alphabet, and is still is named ampersand'', but generally pronounced "and" except when .

Some speakers shorten the name "double u" into "dub-u" or just "dub"; for example, University of Wisconsin, University of Washington, University of Wyoming, University of Waterloo, University of the Western Cape and University of Western Australia are all known colloquially as "U Dub", and the automobile company , abbreviated "VW", is sometimes pronounced "V-Dub". The fact that many website URLs require a "." prefix has been influential in promoting these shortened pronunciations, as many speakers find the phrase "double-u double-u double-u" inconveniently long.

In other Germanic languages, including German (but not Dutch, in which it is pronounced wé), its name is similar to that of English V . In many languages, its name literally means "double v": Portuguese duplo vê,In Brazilian Portuguese, it is , which is a loanword from the English double-u. Spanish doble ve (though it can be spelled uve doble),In Latin American Spanish, it is doble ve, similar exist in other Spanish-speaking countries. French double vé, Icelandic tvöfalt vaff, dvojité vé, kaksois-vee, etc.

Former U.S. president George W. Bush was given the nickname "Dubya" after the colloquial pronunciation of his middle initial in , where he spent much of his childhood.


Related characters

Ancestors, descendants and siblings
  • 𐤅: Semitic letter Waw, from which the following symbols originally derive
  • U : Latin letter U
  • V : Latin letter V
  • Ⱳ ⱳ : W with hook
  • Ꝡ ꝡ : Latin letter VY
  • IPA-specific symbols related to W:
  • Uralic Phonetic Alphabet-specific symbols related to W: and
  • ʷ : Modifier letter small w is used in Indo-European studies
  • W with : Ẅ ẅ Ẇ ẇ Ẉ ẉ ẘ
  • װ (double vav): the and equivalent of W


Ligatures and abbreviations
  • ₩ : , capital letter W with double stroke


Computing codes
1


Other representations

See also
  • Voiced labio-velar approximant
  • Wh (digraph)
  • W stands for Work in physics
  • W is the symbol for "" in the International System of Units (SI)

Informational notes

Citations


External links
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