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W
Basic Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd    
Ee Ff Gg Hh
Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn
Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt
Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz

W is the twenty-third letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet. Its name in English (Pronunciation: /ˈdʌbəljuː/, /ˈdʌbəjuː/, /ˈdʌbəjə/, or /ˈdʌbjə/) is spelled double-u;[1] the plural is double-ues, though this is rare.[2]

Contents

History

Pre-Conquest doubled V Post-Conquest "W" and crossed-Vs form Hwair
RomanV-01.pngRomanV-01.png Latin alphabet Ww.svg Latin alphabet Ƕƕ.svg
A 1693 book printing that uses the "double u" alongside the modern letter

The earliest form of the letter W was a doubled V used in the 5th century by the earliest writers of Old English; it is from this <uu> digraph that the modern name "double U" comes. This digraph was not extensively used, as its sound was usually represented instead by the runic wynn (Ƿ), but W gained popularity after the Norman Conquest, and by 1300 it had taken wynn's place in common use. Other forms of the letter were a pair of Vs whose branches cross in the middle. An obsolete, cursive form found in the nineteenth century in both English and German was in the form of an "n" whose rightmost branch curved around as in a cursive "v" (compare the shape of ƕ).

The sounds /w/ (spelled with U/V) and /b/ (spelled B) of Classical Latin developed into a bilabial fricative /β/ between vowels, in Early Medieval Latin. Therefore, V no longer represented adequately the labial-velar approximant sound /w/ of Old High German. In later German, this phoneme /w/ became /v/; this is why the German W represents that sound. In Dutch, it became a labiodental approximant /ʋ/ (with the exception of words with EEUW, which have /eːβ/), or other diphthongs containing -uw. However, in many Dutch speaking areas, such as Flanders and Suriname the /β/ pronunciation is used at all times.

The Hebrew letter shin has a W shape; the sounds and histories of the two letters, however, are entirely unrelated—shin represents /ʃ/ or /s/, and developed into the Latin alphabet S.

Usage

In Europe, there are only a few languages that use W in native words and all are located in a central-western European zone between Cornwall and Poland: English, German, Low German, Polish, Dutch, Frisian, Welsh, Cornish, Breton and Kashubian. English uses W to represent /w/, German, Polish and Kashubian use it for the voiced labiodental fricative /v/ (with Polish and related Kashubian using Ł for /w/), and Dutch uses it for /w/ or /ʋ/. Unlike its use in other languages, the letter is used in Welsh to represent the vowel /u/ as well as the related approximant consonant /w/. English also contains a number of words beginning with a W that is silent in most dialects before a (pronounced) R, remaining from usage in Anglo-Saxon in which the W was pronounced: wreak, wrap, wreck, wrench, wroth, wrinkle, etc. (Certain dialects of Scottish English still distinguish this digraph.)

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, /w/ is used for the voiced labial-velar approximant, probably based on English.

In the Finnish alphabet, "W" is seen as a variant of "V" 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 /v/. In the alphabets of most modern Romance languages (excepting far northern French and Walloon), W is little used, it can be found mostly in foreign names and words recently borrowed (le week-end, il watt, el kiwi). When a spelling for /w/ in a native word is needed, a spelling from the native alphabet, such as V, U, or OU, can be used instead. The same was true in the Danish alphabet and Swedish until 1980 and 2006, respectively, when the letter was officially acknowledged as an individual letter.

The equivalent representation of the /w/ sound in the Cyrillic alphabet is Ў, a letter unique to the Belarusian language. The Russians, however, use the Cyrillic character В, (/v/ the equivalent of V in the Latin alphabet), when transliterating "W".

The Japanese language uses "W", pronounced /daburu/, as an ideogram meaning "double".[3]

Name

"Double U" is the only English letter name with more than one syllable, except for the occasionally used, though somewhat archaic, "œ" (its name is pronounced similar to "ethel"), and the archaic pronunciation of Z izzard. This gives the nine-syllable initialism www the irony of being an abbreviation that takes three times as many syllables to say as the unabbreviated form. Some speakers therefore shorten the name "double u" into "dub" only; for example, University of Washington, University of Wyoming and University of Western Australia are all known colloquially as "U Dub", and the automobile company Volkswagen, abbreviated VW, is sometimes pronounced "V-Dub". The fact that many website URLs still require a "www." prefix has likewise given rise to a shortened version of the original, three-syllable pronunciation. It is also the only English letter whose name is not pronounced with any of the sounds that the letter typically makes. Many others, however, prefer to pronouce the w as dub-u, reducing it to two syllables. For example, www would be six syllables rather than nine, being pronounced dub-u dub-u dub-u. The common method of pronouncing dub-u would almost be unmistakebly double-u.

Codes for computing

Alternative representations of W
NATO phonetic Morse code
Whiskey ·––
ICS Whiskey.svg Semaphore Whiskey.svg ⠺
Signal flag Flag semaphore Braille

In Unicode the capital W is codepoint U+0057 and the lower case w is U+0077.

The ASCII code for capital W is 87 and for lowercase w is 119; or in binary 01010111 and 01110111, correspondingly.

The EBCDIC code for capital W is 230 and for lowercase w is 166.

The numeric character references in HTML and XML are "&#87;" and "&#119;" for upper and lower case respectively.

See also

References

  1. ^ "W" Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989); Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (1993).
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ http://no-sword.jp/blog/2006/06/let-pretending-to-be-injured-begin.html
The basic modern Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
Letter W with diacritics

history palaeography derivations diacritics punctuation numerals Unicode list of letters ISO/IEC 646


Basic Latin alphabet
AaBbCcDd  
EeFfGgHh
IiJjKkLlMmNn
OoPpQqRrSsTt
UuVvWwXxYyZz

W ( /ˈdʌbəljuː/, /ˈdʌbəjuː/, /ˈdʌbəjə/, or /ˈdʌbjə/; named double-u, plural double-ues)[1][2] is the twenty-third letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.

In other Germanic languages including German, it is pronounced like an English V.[3] In American Spanish, it is doble ve, and in Spain uve doble, both literally "double vee".[4]

Contents

History

Pre-Conquest doubled V Post-Conquest "W" and crossed-Vs form Hwair
[[File:|58px]][[File:|58px]] File:Latin alphabet File:Latin alphabet Ƕƕ.svg

The earliest form of the letter ‹W› was a doubled V used in the 5th century by the earliest writers of Old English;[5] it is from this ‹uu› digraph that the modern name "double U" comes. This digraph was not extensively used, as its sound was usually represented instead by the runic wynn (‹Ƿ›), but ‹W› gained popularity after the Norman Conquest, and by 1300 it had taken wynn's place in common use. Other forms of the letter were a pair of Vs whose branches cross in the middle. An obsolete, cursive form found in the nineteenth century in both English and German was in the form of an "n" whose rightmost branch curved around as in a cursive "v" (compare the shape of ƕ).

The sounds /w/ (spelled with ‹U›/‹V›) and /b/ (spelled ‹B›) of Classical Latin developed into a bilabial fricative /β/ between vowels, in Early Medieval Latin. Therefore, ‹V› no longer represented adequately the labial-velar approximant sound /w/ of Old High German. In later German, this phoneme /w/ became /v/; this is why the German ‹W› represents that sound. In Dutch it became a labiodental approximant /ʋ/ (with the exception of words with -‹eeuw›, which have /eːβ/, or other diphthongs containing -‹uw›). However, in many Dutch speaking areas, such as Flanders and Suriname the /β/ pronunciation is used at all times.

The Hebrew letter shin has a W shape; the sounds and histories of the two letters, however, are entirely unrelated—shin represents /ʃ/ or /s/, and developed into the Latin alphabet ‹S›.

Usage

In Arabic, "W" is written using the penultimate letter of the alphabet, و (waw).

In Europe, there are only a few languages that use W in native words and all are located in a central-western European zone between Cornwall and Poland. English, German, Low German, Dutch, Frisian, Welsh, Cornish, Breton, Walloon, Polish, Kashubian, Sorbian and Resian use W in native words. English uses W to represent /w/, German, Polish and Kashubian use it for the voiced labiodental fricative /v/ (with Polish and related Kashubian using Ł for /w/), and Dutch uses it for /w/ or /ʋ/. Unlike its use in other languages, the letter is used in Welsh to represent the vowel /u/ as well as the related approximant consonant /w/. English also contains a number of words beginning with a W that is silent in most dialects before a (pronounced) R, remaining from usage in Anglo-Saxon in which the W was pronounced: wreak, wrap, wreck, wrench, wroth, wrinkle, etc. (Certain dialects of Scottish English still distinguish this digraph.)

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, /w/ is used for the voiced labial-velar approximant, probably based on English.

In the Finnish alphabet, "W" is seen as a variant of "V" 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 /v/. In the alphabets of most modern Romance languages (excepting far northern French and Walloon), W is little used, it can be found mostly in foreign names and words recently borrowed (le week-end, il watt, el kiwi). When a spelling for /w/ in a native word is needed, a spelling from the native alphabet, such as V, U, or OU, can be used instead. The same was true in the Danish alphabet and Swedish until 1980 and 2006, respectively, when the letter was officially acknowledged as an individual letter.

The Belarusian language uses an analog of "W", "Ў", pronounсеd like English /w/.

The Japanese language uses "W", pronounced /daburu/, as an ideogram meaning "double".[6]

Name

"Double U" is the only English letter name with more than one syllable, except for the occasionally used, though somewhat archaic, "œ" (its name is pronounced similar to "ethel"), and the archaic pronunciation of Z izzard. This gives the nine-syllable initialism www the irony of being an abbreviation that takes three times as many syllables to say as the unabbreviated form. Some speakers therefore shorten the name "double u" into "dub" only; for example, University of Washington, University of Wyoming and University of Western Australia are all known colloquially as "U Dub", and the automobile company Volkswagen, abbreviated VW, is sometimes pronounced "V-Dub". The fact that many website URLs still require a "www." prefix has likewise given rise to a shortened version of the original, three-syllable pronunciation. It is also the only English letter whose name is not pronounced with any of the sounds that the letter typically makes. Many others, however, prefer to pronounce the w as dub-u, reducing it to two syllables. For example, www would be six syllables rather than nine, being pronounced dub-u dub-u dub-u. The common method of pronouncing dub-u would almost be unmistakably double-u.

Codes for computing

Alternative representations of W
NATO phonetic Morse code
Whiskey ·––
Signal flag Flag semaphore Braille

In Unicode the capital W is codepoint U+0057 and the lower case w is U+0077.

The ASCII code for capital W is 87 and for lowercase w is 119; or in binary 01010111 and 01110111, correspondingly.

The EBCDIC code for capital W is 230 and for lowercase w is 166.

The numeric character references in HTML and XML are "&#87;" and "&#119;" for upper and lower case respectively.

See also

References

  1. ^ "W" Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989); Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (1993)
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ German
  4. ^ Pronounciation
  5. ^ Oxforddictionaries.com
  6. ^ No-sword.jp
The basic modern Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
Letter W with diacritics
ẂẃẀẁŴŵẄẅẆẇẈẉW̊ẘⱲⱳ

history palaeography derivations diacritics punctuation numerals Unicode list of letters ISO/IEC 646


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

The Universal Character Set
LetterW.svg
Unicode name LATIN CAPITAL LETTER W
Basic Latin U+0057

Contents

Translingual

Wikipedia-logo.png
Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Letter

W upper case (lower case w)

  1. The twenty-third letter of the basic modern Latin alphabet.

See also

Symbol

W

  1. (chemistry) Symbol for tungsten.
  2. (metrology) Symbol for watt.
  3. (biochemistry) IUPAC 1-letter abbreviation for tryptophan

See also

Other representations of W:


English

Pronunciation

Abbreviation

W

  1. Wednesday
  2. (sports) The statistic for the number of wins by a team or player limited by some criteria (e.g. this season, at home, on turf)
  3. (cricket) wickets
  4. (neologism) Nickname for George W. Bush
  5. (baseball) Wins; number of games won by a particular pitcher.

Derived terms

  • (sports): OTW

See also

Noun

W

  1. The twenty-third letter of the English alphabet, preceded by V and followed by X.

See also


American Sign Language

Letter

W (Stokoe W)

  1. The letter W

Dutch

Pronunciation

  • (letter name): IPA: /ʋeː/

Letter

W (capital, lowercase w)

  1. The twenty-third letter of the Dutch alphabet.

See also

  • Previous letter: V
  • Next letter: X

Italian

Pronunciation

  • IPA: /ˈdɔppjovu/, SAMPA: /"dOppjovu/

Noun

Wikipedia-logo.png
Italian Wikipedia has an article on:
W

Wikipedia it

W m. and f. inv.

  1. The twenty-third letter of the Latin alphabet

Symbol

W

  1. viva, evviva (up with)

Antonyms

  • M (down with)

Spanish

Letter

W (upper case, lower case w)

  1. The 26th letter of the Spanish alphabet.

Synonyms


Simple English

The Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd
Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj
Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp
Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv
Ww Xx Yy Zz

W is the twenty-third (number 23) letter in the English alphabet.

Meanings for W









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