W and V in old(er) English

I’m reading Dickens’ Great Expectations right now and I can’t help to laugh when I see something like “I was hungry so I went to the willage to steal some wittles”. In fact, “w” is used in a lot of words that we today use “v”.

So, what’s the deal? I know this arises in German, but I have no idea how the language works. Did they pronounce “willage” how we pronounce “village”? Or with a “w” sound?

It’s been a long time since I read Dickens, and I never did read Great Expectations.

But dollars to donuts when an authority shows up here, they’ll tell you that it’s reflective of dialectal speech. Dickens was a past master at deftly portraying character in this way without (quite, usually) descending to caricature.

The best known character in Dickens who does this this Samuel Weller (also called “Samivel Veller” by his father) in the Pickwick Papers.

Some dialects of English pronounce “V” as “W,” and others pronounce “W” as “V.” Dickens was portraying a dialect.