Where did the names of English letters come from, and why are they all monosyllabic (except for “w”)?

I don’t know too many languages, but the ones I know have more elaborate names for their letters than the monosyllabicity of names for English letters. (E.g. – I’ll pick on Greek here – ay instead of alpha, bee for beta, etc.) How did these short names evolve, and when? Further, why do nine of … Read more

Pronunciation of the letter ‘W’

Why is the letter ‘W’ pronounced like double-‘U’ in English and pronounced as double-‘V’ in French? I’ve always wondered this. Typographically, the letter ‘W’ can be written with curvy bottoms (sorry for the lack of typography jargon) which looks like two U’s side by side (uu). It can also be written with hard edges which … Read more

How does one correctly pronounce the letter ‘H’: “Aych” or “haych”?

What is the correct sound of the letter H when reading the alphabet – is it ‘aych’ or ‘Haych’ ? Answer The Cambridge Online Survey of World Englishes has the question, “How do you pronounce the letter ‘H’?” Their current results: aitch (85%) haitch (12%) I use something else (2%) You can see a clearer … Read more

Pronunciation of the English alphabet

Why are there inconsistencies in the pronunciation of the consonants of the alphabet? For example: ‘b’ is pronounced like ‘bee’ but ‘m’ is pronounced as ’em’ rather than ‘me’. The pronunciation of ‘h’ matches nothing and ‘j’ and ‘k’ are orphaned twins. In Turkish (the only other language I have any knowledge of), the consonants … Read more