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My 4 year old son just asked me this, and I have to say I am totally stumped.

I hate not telling him things, so here's hoping you guys can dig me out of this hole.

You can't fault his logic!

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May be general reference but I thought it was an interesting question. Props for the 4-year-old. :) – Lynn Nov 30 '11 at 16:24
The Spanish letter ñ was originally a double n until the second n shrunk and moved above. – Henry Nov 30 '11 at 22:36
+1 My upvote goes to all 4yos! – Kris Dec 1 '11 at 6:07
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm let me think about that – Preet Sangha Dec 1 '11 at 12:24

2 Answers 2

Good question, indeed. The quick answer is that he is thinking visually instead of orally. As Wikipedia states, w derives from a u sound, but m does not derive from n. The happenstance of the visual representation is mere coincidence. I dare you to use that last sentence with a four year old. :)

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I asked this when I was about four. I was told to find out myself ..

Original derivation of 'W' is actually 'double vee', from the Roman/Latin 'U' (which was actually 'V' or 'five').

Original derivation of 'M' is from the Greek 'Mju', based on the much earlier Phoenician 'Mem' (a squiggle). This symbol for water is pre-Assurian, ie. older than recorded history. (from museum trip, when I was 15)

They are NOT related.

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So a W is not a double U at all? – Mild Fuzz Dec 1 '11 at 10:12
Simple progrssion. V becomes U, double V becomes double U. – Polynomial Dec 1 '11 at 11:06

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