enough water makes all rocks round

Yes, Sweetheart, W is a Vowel

I have a very distinct childhood memory of hearing that the letter W is sometimes a vowel. I do not recall where or when I heard this, but the memory is strong, and believe I heard it exactly once. When my oldest son Dax was three, just as he’s learning about consonants and vowels, he recites the list for me, “A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y.” I tell him that it’s also “and sometimes W”, which I probably shouldn’t have done without checking. But I did, and sure enough, Dax takes it to heart (all of you fathers, you should be so fortunate as to have a child that listens and believes you so thoroughly). For years, he would correct his siblings, particularly his younger brother Noah when he was learning his letters.

Just the other day, Dax repeats this “and sometimes W!” catechism, and my wife decides she’s had enough. “Prove it, or lose it!” she tells him. I recast her ultimatum as a challenge. “Dax”, say I, “it’s a research project. Go ask Google!” His face becomes a sunrise of excitement. He squeals his agreement and races to the computer. A few moments later, he comes back to me meekly and says, “Daddy, what do I look for?” (we haven’t yet gotten to ending sentences with prepositions). I tell him something along the lines of “Type in Is W a Vowel?”. He races back and moments later he returns triumphantly.

Here’s the page he found: When is W a Vowel?

And here is the example cited: cwm.

We’ve tried to soften this a bit by using the phrase “and rarely W”. But now we have proof positive, and a little bit more family lore.


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