Why Are V and W Related When They Sound So Different?

In Latin they told us that V is pronounced W in Latin.
Thus you live in a WILLA instead of a VILLA, and you say, WAYNI, WEEDY, WEE SEE instead of VENI, VIDI, VICI whoops I mean you say WAYNI, WEEDY, WEE KEE (due to the fac that C is pronounced K in Latin).
But why was V pronounced W back in those days, and what letter did they then use for the V sound as in the English VIOLET, VALUE, VARLET, etc.? Also, what about German? For instance, WELTANSCHAUUNG is pronounced VELTANSCHAUUNG, so in German when you see a W you are supposed to pronounce it as V in VIOLET. But then what letter do they use for the W sound, as in the English WORD, WHISTLE, AWESOME, WELL, WHO, WHAT, WHICH, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, WALLET, WORLD, WANTON, WANT, etc.? signed Fred Weltschmerz.

To you they sound different, but to many speakers of foreign languages they are almost indistinguishable.

The phonemes /v/ and /w/ are both pronounced in the front of the mouth. /v/ -> /w/ is a common sound change in languages, as well as /w/ -> /v/. Sometimes there is an intermediary bilabial fricative /B/.

Also keep in mind that the English /w/ is very rounded. If you pronounce it with your lips spread out more, it almost sounds like a /v/. And vice versa. If you pronounce /v/ with rounded lips it sounds like a /w/.

The German language does not have a /w/ sound like in English. They have /v/, represented by the letter ‘w’, as you mentioned. The German letter ‘v’ is pronounced like an ‘f’.

ah, but why is it called “double-U” (W) when it is related to the V? a third related letter? we don’t need that crap! so i say fuck U!



Here’s the IPA chart, which might help you further visualise this.

Couldn’t tell you with 100% certainty, but i believe that the letter ‘u’ was represented with the (now) letter ‘v’. Think of the carved (Roman) letters on building to the effect of ‘In God We Trvst’. Thus if v=u, w=uu=double-u.

Nobody ever actually explained this to me, it’s just me trying to give a logical explanation.

Shouldn’t that be “vuck U?”

Many of our current phonetic usages didn’t become fixed until a couple centuries ago. U and V used to be interchangeable, and you figured out whether the consonant or the vowel sound was intended from context. Medieval monks adapting the Roman alphabet to represent English joined two miniscule u’s together to represent the “w” sound, hence the “double-u”. Since u and v were used interchangeably, the resultant character was sometimes represented as joined v’s as well. The joined-v variety eventually became the standard representation.

As remembered and condensed from the histories of the various letters which begin each section of the AHD.

In Charles Dicken’s Great Expectation, the rough dialects of the escaped prisoners are suggested by having them pronounce “v” as “w”. So victuals (as in Jethro Bodine’s “vittles”) is written “wittles”, and so on.

Apparently in Dicken’s time, there may have been some really backward or uneducated people had the “w” and “v” much less defined than today.

In my language, which is not foreign at all, yours is, though, there is no distinction between the twain, or rather, we use W as a fancy way to write V, especially in names.

In Latin, u and v were one and the same letter. It was always written V in classical times. In medieval Latin, Carolingian scribes developed the uncial hand, which used rounded letterforms. By the time print came around in the 15th century, Roman capitals (originally carved on stone, thus tending to be angular) were used for uppercase, and uncials for lowercase. There was still only one letter that was formed as an angular V when capital and rounded u when lowercase. Thus:

i loue you

I think it wasn’t until around the 18th century or so that printers decided to use the rounded form for the vowel (uouuel) even when capital and the angular form for the consonant even when lowercase. Now there were two letters where once was only one.

Now, you could ask about i and j — those didn’t become separate letters until the 19th century!