Why do we call w 'double u' -- doesn't it look more like a 'double v' ?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/04/25 12:31 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2006/04/25/583307.aspx

Back at the Unicode Conference, after the "Design Principles for A Regional, Multilingual Keyboard" birds-of-a-feather, I had a chance to talk with Klaas Ruppel, who has been helping with the Finnish government standards.

(Among other things, he gave us some data about how the Cyrillic script versions of Sami work to help with our collation efforts. I'll talk more about this another day....)

One of the interesting things he mentioned was something that Raymond Chen mentioned in passing about Swedish collation:

(In marginally related news, the Swedish Academy recently released its latest official Swedish word list, and it changed its longstanding policy and now lists the words beginning with "W" separately from words beginning with "V". Up until now, "W" and "V" had been considered merely typographical variants of one another and had been treated as identical for alphabetization purposes.)

For the record, neither the government contacts in Sweden nor the MS subsidiary PMs in Sweden have asked Microsoft to follow this particular recommendation from the Swedish Academy, in part due to the general reluctance that the Swedes have to cause their sort to be different from the one in Finland (and the Finns have not agreed to make this change at this time).

it will put an interesting cat among the pigeons for Access 12, Jet 4.0, SQL Server 7.0, SQL Server 2000, and SQL Server 2005, given the fact that they have folded the two locales into a single sort (called Swedish/Finnish in Access and Finnish_Swedish in SQL Server).

As I mentioned in International Features of SQL Server 2000:

It should be emphasized that the developers of SQL Server are not "political" people and there really is no desire to offend any one country/region by asking them to "use another country/region's sort order." In fact, someone living in Serbia and Montenegro may not have to worry about using the Croatian sort order; because both the Croatian and Serbian languages use the same collation, the name is arbitrary. In working with customers in other countries/regions, just use the numbers. because the names are really arbitrary descriptions. What is most important is that you can choose a collation that will allow your data to be handled appropriately.

Of course what will be most important down the road (if the Swedish language goes along with the recommendations and Finnish language does not) is how they plan to deal with the disunification of the two sorts!

There is no way to know what will happen eventually, though luckily change will not come too terribly quickly, if it does come....


This post brought to you by "w" and "v" (U+0077 and U+0076, a.k.a. LATIN SMALL LETTER W and LATIN SMALL LETTER V)

# Mihai on 25 Apr 2006 1:53 PM:

Actually, in Romanian it is called "Double V" (and I have always wondered why call it "Double U").

# Maurits [MSFT] on 25 Apr 2006 2:32 PM:

Spanish, too (doble ve)

# Chuck on 25 Apr 2006 2:57 PM:


# Martin-Éric on 25 Apr 2006 4:24 PM:

As I already said back when you had the post about the new Finnish keyboard layout, Finland and Sweden bending backwards to align each other's localisation standards is pointless - despite  the presence of a Swedish-speaking minority in Finland.  What Finland should be doing is reach a concensus with the neighbor speaking it sister language: Estonia.

Anyhow, having finally analysed the new Finnish keyboard map standard, I'll say that it's complete crap, in that it disregards established practices on a variety of operating systems and also puts deadkeys and foreign glyphs in completely senseless locations that will make their use really tedious. I'm told by various friends that a number of knowledgable people submitted memos to the Kotoisuus group but were dismissed and ignored. So typical of Finnish bureaucracy thinking that it knows better than the population. *sigh*

# Michael S. Kaplan on 25 Apr 2006 5:11 PM:

Well, I won't disagree though of course I would have very little control over what the Finns or the Swedes would do anyway. :-)

The suggested update for the Swedish keyboard has also received harsh criticisms, for what its worth.

The software side of this issue makes it interesting (as would asny kind of disunification).

# orcmid on 25 Apr 2006 7:41 PM:

Of course, in Italian, u is pronounced u, v is vu, and w is doppia vu (double v).  What's more fun is that on radio and television, when someone says a web address, www is pronounced vuvuvu.  

Kinda catchy, no?

# Michael S. Kaplan on 25 Apr 2006 8:01 PM:

Better than doppia vu doppia vu doppia vu, at least! :-)

# emi on 20 Feb 2008 8:22 PM:

i want to know why w is called bouble u anyone know?

referenced by

2010/12/21 What the hell does "...you can fry a Finn in butter, and he's still a Finn" mean, anyway?!?

2010/09/13 Olive, the other reindeer, gets to Sort it all Out too....

2010/03/15 Thus the problems resist solution, and the workarounds are often inadequate

2009/02/18 In search of the Swedish Tipping Point....

2008/08/26 Making SQL Server operations slower (without explicitly trying)

2008/06/02 Lost in [no ]translation

2008/03/27 The disunification of Norwegian and Danish sorting ( SQL Server 2008 Edition!)

2007/09/14 A&P of Sort Keys, part 4 (aka It isn't a race but let's make an EXCEPTION and cross the Finnish line)

2007/09/02 Acronyms vs. initialisms, across languages

2007/07/31 See that version there? It is going down, man! #2 (aka Everybody WYNNs)

2006/10/17 The 'T' is tough to figure out

2006/08/26 The myth of cross-product compatibility

2006/06/02 Je, for sure, from Sweden.

2006/06/02 It is only of SECONDARY importance

2006/04/27 The disunification of Norwegian and Danish sorting

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