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W Joins the Swedish Alphabet

Published måndag 24 april 2006 kl 11.24
The new Swedish Academy Dictionary

The letter “W” is finally entering the Swedish language in its own right.

Until now, the letter, which is pronounced the same as “V” in Swedish, has been lumped into the “V” section of dictionaries. There are very few words in Swedish that use “W”, most of them of foreign origin, like “Worldwide Web” and “walkie-talkie”.

Now the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Prize in Literature every year, and whose members are regarded as guardians of the Swedish language, has decided that the time has come for “W” to get its own place in the academy’s dictionary. The latest edition comes out this week.

“W” has long been a letter in its own right in the other Scandinavian languages. The change means there are now 29 letters in Swedish, rather than 28.

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