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Yes, it takes the 'w' to be literally double 'u', but more as in 'oo' than in 'you'.

Remember that many ancient languages (and Welsh is a fragment of one of the oldest surviving languages in the world) didn't have vowels, or even numbers for that matter!

Letters had varying functions dependent on their context.

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So it's long, then. I wasn't sure about that.

 

And that's not a double-U sound -- that's closer to a single long U, or (by English spelling) an "oo" pronounced as in "food," as explained in the link in the link.

 

EDIT: And the rest of that post is of questionable accuracy. Letters had varying sounds based on their context only because the letters came from a Latin adaptation of a Greek adaptation of a Phoenician alphabet (which in turn came from somewhere else), so people borrowed alphabets that didn't really fit their language.

 

Languages have had vowels for a very long time, as far back at least as proto-Indo-European, which was an ancestor of proto-Celtic, which was an ancestor of Welsh.

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I'm not sure human speech can avoid vowels, but a lot of alphabets, including all the ancient ones I've heard of, don't represent them with letters. You just fill them in from context, th sm wy y cn d wth nglsh.

 

The rational modern alphabets created in relatively recent times, for languages that have only recently become written, can be quite elegant. Eskimo languages (like Inuktitut) have only three vowels, and they always follow consonants, so the letters all represent consonants, but each letter can be written in three orientations -- literally turning sideways or upside down -- to indicate which vowel follows it.

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Human speech can apparently avoid vowels. There are a few highly obscure languages without them, and more to the point, some languages (like proto-Indo-European) used some consonants like vowels. Apparently fricatives (like S), liquids (like L), and nasals (like M) could all take stress.

 

That is to say that in the word "apple," which is pronounced AP-pl, a proto-Indo-European would've had no pronunciational qualms about pronouncing it ap-PL, or even dropping the inital A and pronouncing it PL. They had entire words without true vowels.

 

EDIT: But they did have vowels also.

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