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Re: MR: Wlonk

Poster: Dave Montuori <damont@wolfstar.com>

WARNING! DANGER! Linguistic discussion ahead!

>[...] "WL" is just a consonant blend, like "bl" or "pl"; it's just
>a blend that we're not used to using.  You make the "w" sound with your
>lips while making the "l" sound with your tongue; there's no theoretical
>reason why you can't do both at once.

>True, they are all consonants, but "b" and "p" are both labials while
>"w" is in another family.  Isn't it a de facto vowel anyway?

> I believe that "w" is a member in good standing of the labial family,
> on the bilabial side of the family (along with "b" and "p").

Technically, W as used in modern English is a semivowel. It would be
impractical at best to have WL as the first two letters of a word. I
suppose one could classify W as a liquid (like L and R), but the same
problems apply even more strictly to combining two liquid consonants.

However, what we're dealing with here is from Middle English. And then, in
some places we find W pronounced as a bilabial fricative, much like the
Spanish do with B and V between vowels these days. (Say Vvvv but take your
teeth away from your lip.) That should be no problem combining with L.

> This is a very good question. I suppose it depends entirely on the language
> you're speaking. You see, in German, w is pronounced like v...

> Technically, you'd have to say, "In German, there is a letter that _looks_
> a lot like the English letter 'w', but is pronounced like 'v'". (I think
> it's called "vow". (In German, the abbreviation for "Volkswagen" actually
> has _fewer_ syllables than the original word!))

No, the letter is "we" pronounced "veh." "Vau" pronounced "fow" is what
Germans call V. The abbreviation part is true. I think I've even seen a
"VAU WE" vanity plate on a Beetle once.


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