Pronunciation: WWW - it has more syllables than "world wide web".

Discussion in 'English Only' started by ScienceDay, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. ScienceDay Member

    Isn't it ironic. WWW (an abbreviation) actually has more syllables than what it's abbreviating.
  2. maxiogee Banned

    On an irritating advert for an electrical goods store which was shown on TV here some years ago a presenter nearly got the country referring to www as wu-wu-wu.
  3. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    That abbreviation is for URLs and other written purposes, but I see your point and agree it's ironic-- if you envision a world where people refer to the internet (3 syllables) as the "dubya-dubya-dubya." That sounds too much like a Bush genealogy and gives off dynastic vibes that I'm sure make many people uncomfortable. People don't simply use "web," which would be wonderfully efficient-- but it's a little sinister-sounding, don't you think? The Wicked Web we Weave, and all that. It brings out the arachnophobe in people.

    So I guess we're stuck with "the internet" as a default spoken-language term. I wish we'd go back to "freeway" instead of "the Interstate"-- I get the inter right, but waffle between net and state, no matter which highway, literal or informational, I'm talking about. Or trying to.

    Acronyms irk me sometimes, especially shoptalk or industry-specific ones that aren't used in the mainstream-- and I grew up in the military, so you'd think I'd be enured to them.

    Analogously, almost all euphemisms have many more syllables than the blunt terms they seek to displace, of course. In the U.S. we talk unselfconsciously of white people, but a cabal of do-gooders with nothing better to do decided we ought to mince around with the word black and use the A-A word instead. It has only one syllable less than "Bosnia-Herzegovinian," which to me has ominous implications.
  4. marget Senior Member

    Has anyone else ever heard just one "W" plus the rest of the URL?
  5. Frank06

    Frank06 Senior Member

    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)

    I have always heard that 'www' was the name (or abbreviation) given or at least inspired by Robert Cailliau, the Dutch speaking colleague of Tim Berners-Lee. In Dutch, www simply is "wee wee wee" ('ee' is pronounced more or less as [e] in the English word 'red', but much, much longer).
    The home page of Mr Cailliau doesn't mention that specific fact(oid?), neither does Berners-Lee's.


  6. rsweet

    rsweet Senior Member

    English, North America
    Since most browsers handle the address just fine without the www, some people are just leaving it out when they refer people to a site. I've also heard people say "dub dub dub"--pretty ugly and not nearly as amusing as "wee wee wee." ;)
  7. DavyBCN Senior Member

    UK - English

    Yet another of the increasingly frequent posts on English language forums which alludes to "do-gooders/white liberals/political correctness"with regard to the word black (and other words). They are usually on threads which are about a totally different subject. I wonder why they are appearing so often these days.

    Research will suggest that it was black Americans who started to use the phrase Afro-Americans, and who can deny their right to do so. It seems very appropriate when you consider how so many citizens of the USA refer to themselves as Italian-Americans, German-Americans, etc. It is just an extension of the tradition which ties in people's current citizenship to their historical origin. Not an issue in the UK, but variety is good.
  8. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    Don't you ever say "three Ws"?
  9. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Are you complaining about something? All this stuff is about language, and it is relevant to the topic of "syllable proliferation."

    I don't know what your sources are for those opinions about what Americans call themselves, but I'll bet they are pretty indirect-- I live here and have traveled widely, and there is a strong mainstream American sentiment that resents and resists all the hyphenation that academics and social "scientists" have been concocting at such a mad pace over the past 30 years.

    "Afro-American" was a youth-movement radical-revolutionary thing, and by the way it didn't last. What did last was the retirement of the polite term "Negro" in favor of just plain black. Black power, "black is beautiful," and "I'm black and I'm proud" were definitely in common mainstream use among blacks of the 60s and 70s, especially young ones.

    Where I hear "African-American" a lot, almost exclusively, is on TV. I don't doubt you listen to American CDs (made by white-owned companies for mostly white consumers) where black people "call themselves" by a word the rest of us aren't supposed to use. I almost never hear that one in real life, by the way, and I live here in the country and society you are making such sweeping statements about.

    Well, your post was off-topic, and so is my rebuttal, so I'd better back it up before I post it.

    Maybe it should be split off and dropped into the "cultural issues" cauldron where some of the flab can be boiled off it.

  10. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Ah, but what kind of abbreviation is www?
    It isn't an abbreviation for spoken purposes.
    It is simply a three-letter code telling your browser something.
    It's point is that www is three characters. World wide web is fourteen.
    Which would you prefer to write?
    And how often do you actually write it anyway?

    In speech it is the web. That's about as short as you can get.
  11. ScienceDay Member

    <<World wide web is fourteen>>

    Actually, world wide web is twelve characters, not fourteen.
  12. jester.

    jester. Senior Member

    Aachen, Germany
    Germany -> German
    + 2 blanks for which you have to hit your space bar twice. You have to type 14 characters.
  13. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    World Wide Web is a proper noun, capitalized when written in full. When shortened it's the Web.
  14. swyves

    swyves Senior Member

    UK English, Living in Peru
    I'll repost the relevant part of my deleted post: to whit, there was an initiative a few years ago to use the spoken term "hit web" as an abbreviation of http://www. .
  15. Doppelrahmstufe

    Doppelrahmstufe Senior Member

    Austria, German
    Is there a short form to pronunce the beginn of a website "www"?
    "Double-u--double-u--double-u" ist not very quick to say.

    I am not sure, but I think there is a common short form,
    something like "vvv", but I can't remember.
  16. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It's always doubleyou doubleyou doubleyou here.
    I'm sure we talked about this before, but I can't find the thread.
  17. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    "vvv"? I don't think so, that really wouldn't make any sense to English speakers. I hear it all the time "double-U, double-U, double-U". I think I have heard attempts like "three double-Us", but they don't catch on, I don't think there ever will be an easy way to say it, particularly as it has become increasingly unnecessary to type it in.
  18. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
  19. Doppelrahmstufe

    Doppelrahmstufe Senior Member

    Austria, German
  20. tomandjerryfan

    tomandjerryfan Senior Member

    English (Canada)
    Some people just cut it to "double u, double u" in conversation, and in writing it is generally understood that there should be three w's.
  21. LaReinita

    LaReinita Senior Member

    East Coast, USA
    USA (Northeast Coast)-Inglés
    To be honest, it is said so quickly that it sounds more like: dub-u, dub-u, dub-u
  22. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    As in George "Dubya" Bush.
  23. LaReinita

    LaReinita Senior Member

    East Coast, USA
    USA (Northeast Coast)-Inglés
  24. mgarizona

    mgarizona Senior Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    US - American English
    I don't think I've actually heard anyone say this at all in quite some time, either because it's understood or because nowadays you don't have to type it in anymore.

    When was the last time you heard anyone say: h-t-t-p-colon-forward-slash-forward-slash ... ?
  25. sloopjc Senior Member

    UK English
  26. tomandjerryfan

    tomandjerryfan Senior Member

    English (Canada)
    I have heard some TV shows that used h-t-t-p-colon-slash-slash when advertising their websites (in the 90s), but I think it's very out-of-date now, as well as unnecessary because the "http://" is no longer required by browsers, neither is "www" really.
  27. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    Yes, this occurred to me too, when I was thinking of shortcuts that never caught on (this never caught on). But as I said before and as T&Jfan has reinforced www hardly needs to be entered any more, and I think for this reason no shortcut will ever catch on. Events have overtaken the necessity for it.
  28. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    In my part of the world, it's "Triple W".
  29. 94kittycat

    94kittycat Senior Member

    E-town, Canada
    Canadian English
    Yes, I've heard "Triple W," too. Is it just a canadian abbreviation, do you think?
  30. tomandjerryfan

    tomandjerryfan Senior Member

    English (Canada)
    Perhaps. I've heard it too, but I don't usually say it myself.
  31. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    I don't know but it seems eminently logical to me. If it has to be used, five syllables seems much more functional than nine...
  32. AWordLover

    AWordLover Senior Member

    Atlanta, Georgia USA
    USA English
    Hi All,

    I would not be likely to say this, but it has my full backing because I like the whimsy of the word play; it will sound like, "triple double u". It cetainly seems that I'm telling someone either www or uu uu uu. :)

    Recently I've taken to omitting this and now would give a URL as:, for example or

    The ".com" part makes it clear that I'm talking about a web address.

    When I actually say, www, I pronounce it as either "double-u double-u double-u" or " dubya dubya dubya" giving preference to the first out of habit in pronouncing these types of things fully. Since I'm a former New Yorker, I can say either of these very quickly. ;)
  33. cholandesa Senior Member

    Cusco, Tawantinsuyu
    The Netherlands, Dutch
    Doppelrahmstufe- The VVV you said you had heard might come from Italy, I remember they said vuvuvu when I lived there for a while in 2002.

    In English though, I agree with the others, I´ve only heard them say it in full, although it is said quite quickly, often as the suggested dubya-dubya-dubya.

    : )

  34. cycloneviv

    cycloneviv Senior Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    English - Australia
    dub dub dub sounds like something scouts used to say :p
  35. Blumengarten Senior Member

    America / English
    It's not just Canadian, I've heard them say it in Pennsylvania too, but dubya-dubya-dubya is waaaay more common. This thread is giving me a real laugh! I wouldn't want to know what would happen if I would say vee-vee-vee, it might involve straightjackets.
  36. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I have heard (somewhere) "triple dubby-yuh".
  37. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I am aggravated by my browser sending my request through another website (like MSN or something) when I leave off the "http://". On my computer, it's quicker to type it out or paste it in.
  38. dobes Senior Member

    bratislava, slovakia
    US English(Boston/NY)
    Back to one of the first poster's comments about 'vvv': in Slovakia, where I am, people just say 'vayvayvay'. Of course, it's inaccurate, but it's very fast, and I've picked it up myself now.
  39. bayork New Member

    Italy and Italian
    I can confirm that. Maybe you heard that from some italian people, or in any italian forum, in fact we say vvv but his pronounces is /vuvuvu/. Of course it doesn't meaning in english.

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