[tied] Dutch "w" (was: Re: Slavic peoples and places)

From: tgpedersen@...
Message: 7690
Date: 2001-06-19

--- In cybalist@..., jjmcgr@... wrote:
> first post after reading for a long time....
> I'm of the opinion 9but cannot footnote sources) that all the
> continental Germanic languages which use the orthographic symbol W
> for the [v] sound originally pronounced that sound [w]. Otherwise
> Latin symbol for the v sound [v] or sometimes [f] wound have been
> used as it was in Old English. {Apparently to the German ear in
> earlier times Latin or Romance [f] and [v] sounded the same or very
> similar. In medieval times there was a sound shift in these
> continental languages [and even earlier in Scandanavian-- before
> these were written down, ergo no W character!] where [w] became
> This is a common sound shift in the history of human languages
> happened in Latin.... Greek took it even further with [v] becoming
> [b]]. I suspect any [w] sounds in Dutch or Swedish/Danish now are
> either dialectal differences or allophones of the /v/ phomeme in
> respective language. I had a Russian teach in college who used to
> say "work on your vowels" and pronounced vowels [wovelz]so it can
> happen even with Russian speakers...
> John McGrath

As for orthograpy...
Danish used the letter w for present v in writing until the 18th
Swedish used it until around 1900 (I think).
As for the Icelandic manuscripts, I think they used w, too (but I am
nor sure).
Although Old Norse is generally considered as the ancestor language
of the present Scandinavian languages, this is not strictly true of
the East North Germanic languages (Swedish, Book Norwegian and
Danish); there are developments in Old Norse that never spread to
East North Germanic, cf. loss of /w/ before /r/, ON reid- / Da. vred,
loss of n before /t/ and /k/, ON vettr / Da. vinter etc.