Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Possible Duplicate:
Why is a w a “Double u”, but an m is not a “Double n”?

Is there any reason/history as to why "w" is the only letter in English alphabet that is not pronounced as one syllable?

share|improve this question
    
@MattЭллен Not really. That question implies more on the visual representation of the alphabet rather than it's pronunciation. –  John Isaiah Carmona May 17 '12 at 8:47
1  
Except that the answer is the same. –  Matt Эллен May 17 '12 at 8:58
1  
I've always wanted to go on Wheel of Fortune, just so I could say, "I'll have a D, as in double-u." –  J.R. May 17 '12 at 9:08
add comment

marked as duplicate by Matt Эллен, RegDwigнt May 17 '12 at 11:30

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

2 Answers

W was originally written as uu, or double u, as this extract from the OED’s etymological note on w explains:

The ordinary sign for /w/ was at first uu , but in the 8th c. this began to be superseded by ƿ, a character borrowed from the Runic alphabet, in which its name was wyn (Kentish wen ). Eventually the use of ƿ became almost universal, but in the mean time the uu was carried from England to the continent, being used for the sound /w/ in the German dialects, and in French proper names and other words of Germanic and Celtic origin. In the 11th c. the ligatured form was introduced into England by Norman scribes, and gradually took the place of ƿ, which finally went out of use about a.d. 1300. The character W was probably very early regarded as a single letter, although it has never lost its original name of ‘double U’.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Because it is. I'm sorry, but that is the only real answer to the question. In French "w" has a polysyllabic name, but so does "y"; in German "y" has a polysyllabic name.

It's historical accident.

By the way an "alphabet" means a complete set of letters a-z (or whatever the list is in another language). The individual items are called "letters".

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.