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|Writing system||Latin script|
|Type||Alphabetic and Logographic|
|Language of origin||Latin language|
|Time period||~-700 to present|
|Descendants|| • U|
|Transliteration equivalents||Y, U, W|
|Other letters commonly used with||v(x)|
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 /u/ sound, as well as the consonantal /w/. Thus, "num"— originally spelled "NVM"— was pronounced /num/ and "via" was pronounced [ˈwia]. From the 1st century AD on, depending on Vulgar Latin dialect, consonantal /w/ developed into /β/ (kept in Spanish), then later to /v/.
During the Late Middle Ages, two forms of "v" developed, which were both used for its ancestor /u/ and modern /v/. 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 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 "U" was not accepted as a distinct letter until many years later.[disputed ]
In English, V is unusual in that it has not traditionally been 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". Like J, K, Q, X, and Z, V is not used very frequently in English. It is the 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.
In Japanese, V is often called "bui" (ブイ), possibly due to the difficulty of typing "vi" (ヴィ) or even "vui" (ヴイ), an approximation of the English name which substitutes the voiced bilabial plosive for the voiced labiodental fricative (which does not exist in native Japanese phonology) and differentiates it from "bī" (ビー), the Japanese name of the letter B. Some words are more often spelled with the b equivalent character instead of vu due to the long-time use of the word without it (e.g. "violin" is more often found as baiorin (バイオリン) than as vaiorin (ヴァイオリン)).
In most languages which use the Latin alphabet, ⟨v⟩ 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 ⟨b⟩, that is, [b] or [β̞]. In Corsican, it is pronounced [b], [v], [β] or [w], depending on the position in the word and the sentence. In current German, it is pronounced [v] in most loan-words while in native German words, it is always pronounced [f]. In standard Dutch it is traditionally pronounced as [v] but in many regions it is pronounced as [f] in some or all positions.
In Chinese Pinyin, while ⟨v⟩ is not used, the letter ⟨v⟩ is used by most input methods to enter letter ⟨ü⟩, which most keyboards lack (Romanised Chinese is a popular method to enter Chinese text). Informal romanizations of Mandarin Chinese use V as a substitute for the close front rounded vowel /y/, properly written ü in pinyin and Wade-Giles.
In Irish, the letter ⟨v⟩ is mostly used in loanwords, such as veidhlín from English violin. However the sound [v] appears naturally in Irish when /b/ (or /m/) is lenited or "softened", represented in the orthography by ⟨bh⟩ (or "mh"), so that bhí is pronounced [vʲiː], an bhean (the woman) is pronounced [ən̪ˠ ˈvʲan̪ˠ], etc. For more information, see Irish phonology.
|Unicode name||LATIN CAPITAL LETTER V||LATIN SMALL LETTER V|
|Numeric character reference||V||V||v||v|
|NATO phonetic||Morse code|
|Signal flag||Flag semaphore||American manual alphabet (ASL fingerspelling)||Braille |