Since when is "W" a vowel?!?

I always thought it was "A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y" But i just heard that "W" is classified as a vowel also. Since when? I never learned about that!

9 Answers

  • papaw
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I was always taught that both "y" and "w" were sometimes vowels. Try "how," which is phonetically equivalent to "hou," as in house. Ou and ow are DIPHTHONGS --that is, two vowel sounds that kind of slide together when you say them. W and Y are often called semivowels because they go both ways, as it were, depending on the company they keep within the word. In cow, for instance, W is a vowel, but make the word coward and you can hear W working as a consonant. Similarly with Y become I in copy and copier


    A vowel is the sound in a spoken language were the vocal tract is open and there is no build up of air pressure between the vocal cords at the upper part of the larynx, i.e.; ah, oh, ee, ay, ow …. There are five true (they are only) vowels a,e,i,o,u, and sometimes y & w. Y and W can be a vowel or a consonant depending upon where it is in the word. In English orthography some letters may represent a consonant in some circumstances, and a vowel in others.

    DIPHTHONGS-- two vowel sounds that slide together when you say them. Example: ey - ā, oy-oi, uy-ī , au-aw, ew- ū ,ou-ow, ow-ō, W is always a vowel sound following another vowel and not starting a new syllable like bewail.

    Rule of thumb for w: in 'wow' (wou) w is both a consonant and a vowel

    As a consonant: The beginning of a word or beginning of a syllable - wagon, always….

    As a vowel: In the English language there is not a word with a single w as a vowel. It always has a partner before it.

    As with the y it replaces the u at the end of words and before an l or n -….

    W taking the place of the 'u', aw at the end of a word making the au sound - claw, paw….

    W taking the place of the 'u', ew at the end of a word changing the sound to long u - new, crew, flew,…..

    W taking the place of the 'u', ow at the end of a word sound like ou in ouch- how, now, brown, cow, owl…

    W taking the place of the 'u', ow at the end of a word sounds like long o - blow, crow, bowl

    Vowel itself is an interesting word in which the w is a vowel (vou-el) the ou sounds like in ouch.

    I found two word where the 'W' comes before the partner vowel. (1) geo·duck also gwe·duc (gōō'ē-dŭk') n. A very large, edible clam of the Pacific coast of northwest North America, (2) two [too]

    I hope that this will help.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think Sassymam has been conned I'm afraid - just because something appears on Wikipedia does not make it true.

    You are correct that the vowels are AEIOU and sometimes Y.

    The examples in the Wikipedia entry are cwm and cwtch which are both Welsh words, not English.

    There is no reason to say W is a vowel when it ends a word, since in all the examples given, it is preceded by a proper vowel.

    I think someone somewhere is just starting a rumour - and they seem to have succeeded!!!

  • 1 decade ago

    If the word ends in a w (now, how, cow, etc.) the "W" is used as a vowel. Also in words that sound like long "O" sounds, and "AU" sounds and in any other diphthongs. Vowel/consonant classification has to do with how your voice box moves when pronouncing.

  • 1 decade ago

    I found this online and it said that w is sometimes a vowel. It says that words with a final 'w" (a "w" at the end of a word) use w as a vowel.

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  • Copper
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    w is a consonant.

    i've never heard of it as a vowel.

    but - if it's true, you better tell pat and vanna ... they still count it as a consonant.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Where did you hear it from? If it's not from a reliable source I wouldn't count on it being true.

  • First time i hear of this to be honest with you.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    As far as I know, "W" is still a consonant. :/

  • 1 decade ago

    um - never

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