I noticed that Wladimir Klitschko's first name is pronounced /ˈvlæ.dɪ.miə(ɹ)/, similar to Vladimir.

It appears the W grapheme is representing the /v/ sound here. This is new to me and I was wondering if it's the only word where it happens.

Are there other words where the W grapheme represents the /v/ sound?

  • The W represents the spelling as used by the owner when writing in Roman script; the V represents the pronunciation and is used so that English speakers are conversant with the name as pronounced. FYI there are official lists of how names in other scripts should be transcribed into a particular language. The German list differs from the French, which differs from the English, etc.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 19:59

1 Answer 1


The use of W to represent /v/ is not an English convention, so it only happens in words/names where another language does it. The most commonly encountered language where this happens is German. It also occurs in Polish.

Wladimir Klitschko is, according to Wikipedia, a German transliteration of his name in Russian, Владимир Кличко.

Some other examples of words taken from German where W can be pronounced as /v/ are Weltanschauung and Umwelt.

  • 2
    And just to prove Weltanschauung/weltanschauung is an English word: Merriam-Webster (it can even form an English plural, weltanschauungs).
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 8:53
  • Weltschmerz....
    – Greybeard
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 20:00
  • 1
    wagon-lit, from French Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 15:06

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