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Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Well, well, well! We are already to W!
Wow, we are whizzing our way through the alphabet! Welcome to another week on ABC Wednesday, the week of W, the double “u,” actually double “v,” letter. Don’t be a worrywart! No whining! You do not have to be a wunderkind to join the weekly ABC meme. Just walk on in and whisper or shout out your favorite word beginning with W, no matter how you say or spell it – double yew, dubya, ve.
The where, and why, and, of course, The Who are what you can write about when working with W words. While away a wee minute or two, working your way through to a wise or witty but never wimpy contribution to ABC Wednesday Did you have some winnings this weekend playing whist? Maybe you have read Wuthering Heights? When did you last enjoy a whiskey sour? Were you watching the US Open golf tournament, all the while wishing you could golf as well as Rory McIlroy? Do you love the Wookies of Star Wars? Are you interested in World War I or World War II? Of course, you can find something on the world wide web!
You can brainstorm and it is always worthwhile to wander through the dictionary. Looking at words that begin with W in my American Heritage Dictionary, I was struck by the lack of words with a single “u” following the double “u.” It made me wonder why. There are a couple minerals, some rivers, a mountain range and cities from China and Germany and then just four words – wunderkind, wurst, wushu and wuss. The first two are German in origin, wushu is a Chinese martial art, and wuss is modern slang whose origins were sometime in the 60’s or 70’s of the last century. (an aside: doesn’t it sound weird to be talking about the last century? For most of my life, it meant way long ago!)
So it was time for me to hit the web and check out another modern phenom, Wikipedia, and its submission for W. It turns out that only central western European languages from Cornwall to Poland had words that used the “w” and beginning in the 7th and 8th centuries Old English and Old High German writers began to use the double “u” to represent the “w.” For much more on the evolution of W, please consult the OED or Wikipedia.
I am not just whistling Dixie here! I am wishing you the wonders and wisdom of the world of W!