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The Trouble With Double-U!
John's dad found this old Scientific American, dated September 17, 1921. I saw this editorial that struck my fancy and want to share it with you. Ervin would have loved text messaging!
The Letter "W"
To The Editor of the Scientific American:
"It will be noted that the letter "W" of the alphabet is the only letter, which in pronouncing, has more than one syllable. Pronouncing it as we do, dou-ble-you, it is noted that three syllables are sounded. Why not simply say wu, giving it a monosyllable pronunciation same as the other twenty-five letters. This pronunciation would be more in keeping with the sound and force of the letter in the word where it is used.
Just spell a few words and note the difference: Way, double-you-a-y, wu-a-y; when, double-you-h-e-n, wu-h-e-n, and so forth.
It seems impractical to pronounce a letter altogether foreign to its phonetic force; neither of the three syllables in dou-ble-you has the slightest relation to the phonetic power of the letter; wu seems to have almost if not entirely the full force or phonetic power. Would not therefore wu, which is very simple, clear and short be a better and more logical pronunciation?
Again, in this day of simplifying and eliminating the unnecessary, why do we persist in always using the letter "U" as the second letter in every word beginning with the letter "Q"? There is not a single word beginning with "Q" that the second letter is not a "U" and there is hardly a word a word that would that would not have practically the same phonetic force without its use."
Hanover, PA Ervin S. Mummert
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