The other day Simon went down stairs with Wilhelmina to read her a story before bed. I headed down stairs and he showed me which book he had been about to read and I immediately thought it had been a great choice. The book he had in his hand was an ABC book and Willa loves looking at the alphabet and especially loves to find “her letter” in anything she can.
But there was a problem.
Can you see it?
That’s right, there was no “W” in the book.
We searched for it in all the places it should be and it was simply not there. Wilhelmina was quite sad that her letter was nowhere to be found in a book of ABC’s.
We wondered why it wasn’t there. Maybe the author just couldn’t find a way to start something with “W”. I mean it could be possible, but who would leave out a letter in an ABC book? Especially one made for L’Acédemie Française.
I went to bed and the next day I thought about the book again and thought of something. The author, Jules Lemaitre was born in 1852. Since there are not many, or very little words in the french language, could it be that the letter W was actually not part of the alphabet at that time? I did a few searches and guess what? that’s exactly it!!
The letter W is actually one of the newest letters and was only introduced into the Latin alphabet in the middle ages and was characterized two V’s “VV” and it was introduced to bring in the sounds of the “W” from the Germanic languages. In French, the letter started slowly making a appearance in the grammar books mid 19th century but only as an extension of the letter V. It was only in 1964, so less than 50 years ago, that it became an official letter of the French Alphabet.
So now we know why our ABC book does not include the letter W. Isn’t that somewhat cool?
For Wilhelmina’s sake, I think we will need to stick to more recent ABC books.
By the way, you can check out the book here: ABC Petits Contes de Jules Lemaître