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October 04, 2005

Sometimes Y. .. and sometimes W?

When you spend 4 hours in a basement with 4 other guys, inevitably interesting conversations will arise. Many of them probably can't be repeated without risking certain things being taken out of context. But one of the conversations we had last night I thought I should mention here.

So we were talking about. . . vowels. Of course, don't all rock bands talk about vowels? As in, "A, E, I, O, U, sometimes Y." And I mentioned, "And sometimes W."

That's what I had heard. Ever since elementary school, it had been ground into me, "sometimes W."

Now I've tried to think of one word that used W as it's vowel. We embarked on this mystery again last night. I've kind of always thought that maybe the word "WHY" was what that rule applied to - like take your choice whether the vowel in that word is W or Y. But really I knew that wasn't the answer.

Ian thought the whole "W is a vowel" sentiment was worthy of ridicule. Collin concurred. Drew couldn't quite understand what we were even talking about. (He just learned what a consonant is).

Actually, to be fair, Drew tried to say the Halo-inspired word "Pwn" was an example of a word that used W as it's vowel. If you don't understand, ask him. I still don't understand it myself, but Drew has a bracelet with the word on it. I suspect it's dirty.

Shane was too busy fielding female applicants from his Xanga site.

Well today, I found the answer. There are, basically, 2 words in the English language the originated in Welsh, that use W as their vowel. And they are both pretty cool words too.

"Cwm" -- a mountaineering term, pronounced like "room" but with a "k." It's basically a basin like edge of a valley, much like a cirque. I shall start using this word as appropriate.

And "Crwth" - which means, roughly, "crowd"

So, there you go. . .sometimes W means, basically, for "Cwm" and "Crwth" (BTW - to truly cap off the nerdiness of this post, I hasten to point out that both of those words would be sweet Scrabble plays).

Posted by jason on October 4, 2005 11:02 PM


The sad thing is that we have been debating this over email since practice.

Posted by: ian on October 4, 2005 11:49 PM

From Urban Dictionary:
A corruption of the word "Owned." This originated in an online game called Warcraft, where a map designer misspelled "owned." When the computer beat a player, it was supposed to say, so-and-so "has been owned."

Instead, it said, so-and-so "has been pwned."

It basically means "to own" or to be dominated by an opponent or situation, especially by some god-like or computer-like force.

Posted by: jaysonjaz on October 5, 2005 01:01 AM

Posted by: jaysonjaz on October 5, 2005 01:10 AM

I think you can link, here's a test.

just use standard html coding.

Posted by: jason - band member on October 5, 2005 01:14 AM

Oh ok. thanks!

Here is my favorite picture of the bunch

Pwnded Ducks!

Posted by: jaysonjaz on October 5, 2005 08:36 AM

Speaking of vowel usage, I found this to be pretty funny.

Posted by: Collin - band member on October 5, 2005 09:43 AM

I love that word

Pwned! :D it's just so great! I use it on Call of duty and halo 2 because YEA HALO IS COOL!
actually i say it on all games ^_^

your momma got pwned B@*%H!!

Posted by: Poncho on October 5, 2005 02:30 PM

"your momma got pwned B@*%H!!"

I knew it was dirty. :-)

Posted by: jason - band member on October 5, 2005 02:41 PM


its true though it only really means owned but its a cooler word for it....
you dont wanna know the other gaming terms
example: look up t-bag or soemthing like that.....its really gross lolz

Posted by: Poncho on October 5, 2005 02:43 PM

I'm definitely making it a point to break out both of those words next time I play scrabble. Actually, I need to make it a point to play scrabble so I can have that chance.

Posted by: Jack on October 6, 2005 05:30 AM

I play scrabble so infrequently that in a first draft of this post I called it scapple, as in "pig parts from lower delaware."

Posted by: Jason – Band Member [TypeKey Profile Page] on October 6, 2005 09:01 AM

Here are my two cents:

W, like R and L, is a liquid, a subset of consonants, not a vowel. Y is also a liquid, but sometimes makes the "long" E or I sound in common english. So Y is considered a sometimes vowel.

In words like cwm that have no vowels in their written form, there are still vowels pronounced. This is also true for languages that have no vowels, such as ancient Hebrew. This is why we're not sure how folks like Moses pronounced Ywh. But the consonants are not vowels in such cases. The vowels just are not written.

BTW, isn't pwned pronounced, "owned?"

Posted by: Mike on October 6, 2005 11:19 AM

nah its prononced the way it sounds pwned lolz but its just another way of saying owned

Posted by: Poncho on October 6, 2005 02:47 PM

"Poaned". Trust me. I hear it EVERY NIGHT. From 12 year olds. That are much better than me at Halo 2.

Posted by: Xerxes [TypeKey Profile Page] on October 6, 2005 05:10 PM

poaned? weird lolz i saw pwned....but hey im younger but i suck at halo...i onlt get to kill like the most 5 while everyone kills 23....

but i do great in the grenade launcher round! Muahahahaha!

Posted by: Poncho on October 6, 2005 06:13 PM

Mike, you have an excelent point! The old roman alphabet doesn't fit modern english very well at all!

There are 14 distinct vowel sounds in English, and only a handful of vowels.

It's time to switch over to the phonetic alphabet.

Posted by: ian on October 6, 2005 10:57 PM

umm i remember learning it "a, e, i, o, u, sometimes y, and w too" the too ryhming with the u

Posted by: nobody on June 6, 2006 10:04 AM

Pwned did not originate from any map design in a videogame. (Warcraft or otherwise.) It comes simply from the proximity of the "P" and "O" keys on a QWERTY keyboard. After, "dude, I just owned you" or some variant had been mistyped enough times, it became l33t ("leet", as in "elite") slang.

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