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V, or v, is the twenty-second and fifth-to-last Letter (alphabet), letter in the English alphabet, modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is English alphabet#Letter names, ''vee'' (pronounced ), plural ''vees''.


The letter V comes from the Semitic alphabets, Semitic letter ''Waw (letter), Waw'', as do the modern letters F, U, W, and Y. See F for details. In Greek language, Greek, the letter ''upsilon'' "Υ" was adapted from ''waw'' to represent, at first, the vowel as in "moon". This was later Front vowel, fronted to , the front rounded vowel spelled "ü" in German language, German. In Latin, a stemless variant shape of the upsilon was borrowed in early times as V — either directly from the Western Greek alphabet or from the Etruscan alphabet as an intermediary — to represent the same sound, as well as the consonantal , ''num'' — originally spelled ''NVM'' — was pronounced and ''via'' was pronounced . From the 1st century AD on, depending on Vulgar Latin dialect, consonantal developed into (kept in Spanish language, Spanish), then later to . During the Late Middle Ages, two wikt:Special:Search/minuscule, minuscule glyphs developed which were both used for sounds including and modern . The pointed form "v" was written at the beginning of a word, while a rounded form "u" was used in the middle or end, regardless of sound. So whereas "valour" and "excuse" appeared as in modern printing, "have" and "upon" were printed as "haue" and "vpon". The first distinction between the letters "u" and "v" is recorded in a Blackletter, Gothic script from 1386, where "v" preceded "u". By the mid-16th century, the "v" form was used to represent the consonant and "u" the vowel sound, giving us the modern letter "u". Capital and majuscule "U" was not accepted as a distinct letter until many years later.


In the help:IPA, International Phonetic Alphabet, represents the voiced labiodental fricative. See Help:IPA. In English, special rules of orthography normally apply to the letter V: *Traditionally, V is not doubled to indicate a short vowel, the way, for example, P is doubled to indicate the difference between "super" and "supper". However, that is changing with newly coined words, such as , "divvy up" and "skivvies". *Barring the word ''of'', a word that ends in a v sound is spelled ''ve'' regardless of the sound of the vowel before it. This rule does not apply to transliterations of Slavic and Hebrew words, such as ''Kiev'', or to words that started out as abbreviations, such as ''sov'' for ''sovereign''. *The short u sound is spelled ''o'', not ''u'', before the letter v. This originated with a mediaeval scribal practice designed to increase legibility by avoiding too many vertical strokes (minim (palaeography), minims) in a row. Like J, K, Q, X, and Z, V is not used very frequently in English. It is the Letter frequency, sixth least frequently used letter in the English language, with a frequency of about 1.03% in words. V is the only letter that cannot be used to form an English two-letter word in the Australian version of the game of Scrabble. C also cannot be used in the American version. The letter appears frequently in the Romance languages, where it is the first letter of the second person plural pronoun and (in Italian) the stem of the imperfect form of most verbs.

Name in other languages

*Classical la, V is the name for both its use as a consonant and as a vowel. Chiefly in its role of a consonant and where the context calls for it, V (or rather its sound) was sometimes called by Roman grammarians ( la, VAV), this being a name for the digamma (Ϝ); indeed, Roman Grammarian_(Greco-Roman_world), grammarians commonly equated the sound of the consonantal V to that of the Aeolic digamma ( la, digamma Aeolicum, digammon Aeolicum, digamma Aeolica) and would sometimes directly call the consonantal V a digamma. However, in general, the letter, wherever it occurred, was called . * ca, ve, pronounced ; in dialects that lack contrast between and , the letter is called ''ve baixa'' "low B/V". * cs, vé *french: vé *german: Vau * it, vi or ''vu'' * pl, fał * pt, vê * es, uve is recommended, but ''ve'' is traditional. If V is pronounced in the second way, it would have the same pronunciation as the letter B in Spanish (i.e. after pause or nasal sound, otherwise ); thus further terms are needed to distinguish ''ve'' from ''be''. In some countries it is called ''ve corta'', ''ve baja'', ''ve pequeña'', ''ve chica'' or ''ve labiodental''. In Japanese language, Japanese, V is called a variety of names originating in English, most commonly ブイ or , but less nativized variants, violating to an extent the phonotactics of Japanese, of ヴィー , ヴイ or , and ヴィ are also used. The phoneme in Japanese is used properly only in loanwords, where the preference for either or depends on many factors; in general, words that are perceived to be in common use tend toward .

Pronunciation and use

In most languages which use the Latin alphabet, has a voiced bilabial or labiodental sound. In English, it is a voiced labiodental fricative. In most dialects of Spanish, it is pronounced the same as , that is, or . In Corsican language, Corsican, it is pronounced , , or , depending on the position in the word and the sentence. In contemporary German language, German, it is pronounced in most loan-words while in native German words, it is always pronounced . In standard Dutch language, Dutch it is traditionally pronounced as but in many regions it is pronounced as in some or all positions. In Native American languages of North America (mainly Muskhogean and Iroquoian), represents a nasalized central vowel, /ə̃/. In Chinese language, Chinese Pinyin, while is not used, the letter is used by most input methods to enter letter , which most keyboards lack (Romanization, Romanised Chinese is a popular method to enter Chinese text). Informal romanization of Chinese, romanizations of Standard Mandarin, Mandarin Chinese language, Chinese use V as a substitute for the close front rounded vowel Help:IPA/Mandarin, /y/, properly written ''ü'' in pinyin and Wade–Giles. In Irish language, Irish, the letter is mostly used in loanwords, such as ''veidhlín'' from English ''violin''. However the sound appears naturally in Irish when /b/ (or /m/) is Lenition, lenited or "softened", represented in the Irish orthography, orthography by (or "mh"), so that ''bhí'' is pronounced , ''an bhean'' (the woman) is pronounced , etc. For more information, see Irish phonology. This letter is not used in the Polish alphabet, where is spelled with the letter W, instead, following the convention of German language, German. In German the letter sounds like /f/.

Other systems

In the 19th century, was sometimes used to transcribe a palatal click, , a function since partly taken over by .

Related characters

Descendants and related letters in the Latin alphabet

*U u : Latin letter U, originally the same letter as V *W w : Latin letter W, descended from V/U *Ỽ ỽ : Ỽ, Middle Welsh V *V with diacritics: tilde, Ṽ ṽ Dot (diacritic), Ṿ ṿ Ʋ, Ʋ ʋ ᶌ *International Phonetic Alphabet, IPA-specific symbols related to V: *ᶹ : Modifier letter small v with hook is used in phonetic transcription *Ʌ ʌ ᶺ: Turned v *ⱴ : V with curl *Uralic Phonetic Alphabet-specific symbols related to V: ** ** ** **

Ancestors and siblings in other alphabets

*𐤅: Phoenician alphabet, Semitic letter Waw (letter), Waw, from which the following symbols originally derive **Υ υ : Greek alphabet, Greek letter Upsilon, from which V derives ***Y y : Latin letter Y, which, like V, also derives from Upsilon (but was taken into the alphabet at a later date) ***Ѵ ѵ : Cyrillic letter izhitsa, also descended from Upsilon ***У у : Cyrillic letter U (Cyrillic), u, also descended from Upsilon via the digraph of omicron and upsilon **** Ү ү : Cyrillic letter Ue (Cyrillic), Ү, descended from У and izhitsa and used in the scripts for languages in the former Soviet Union and currently the Russian Federation, as well as in Mongolian Cyrillic alphabet, Mongolian. Most commonly it represents /y/ or /ʏ/.

Ligatures and abbreviations

*∨: Logical disjunction *℣ : Versicle sign *Ꝟ ꝟ : Forms of V were used for medieval scribal abbreviations

Computing codes

: 1

Other representations

V is the symbol for vanadium. It is number 23 on the periodic table. Emerald derives its green coloring from either vanadium or chromium. v, v., and vs can also be used as an abbreviation for the word wikt:versus, versus when between two or more competing items (Ex: Brown v. Board of Education).

See also

*Dominant (music), Dominant, in music theory *VEE (disambiguation), Vee *∨, logical disjunction *Check mark



External links

* * * {{Latin alphabet, V} ISO basic Latin letters