The word Fotze (cunt) has the irregular spelling Votze, which is usually explained as a reference to the denotated part. But comparing Vater (father), I don't know any reason why hat wouldn't be Fater. In many cases, word initial V is homophone with F. While Vogel (bird) may be in reference to the simplified drawing of a bird, too (hence Vogel-Vau as mnemonic for the letter). Otherwise initial V exists only in loanwords, I guess. Vagina (sheath) is decidedly not pronounced Fagina (though the allusion to lips might lend itself to a word play on eating ...), perhaps (sound-)symbolic.

So, why is V such a very vveird letter in German, for lack of a better word?!

  • This is answered at german.stackexchange.com/questions/6312/….
    – user6726
    Aug 23 '18 at 19:51
  • Thanks, I didnt see it suggested when I wrote the question. Still, Votze is curious. I fut a strong enough point to make for German F-? Couldn't V- be from anything like Wecke, einwecken, Winkel, Backe, Wange and merely become intensified to F?
    – vectory
    Aug 23 '18 at 20:28

As with many natural languages, German has an orthography that evolved over several centuries into what it is today. In the process it's ended up with some inconsistencies that don't make any logical sense and only exist for historical reasons. (Compare how English g generally denotes /dʒ/ before front vowels, except in words stemming from Old Norse, like give and get.)

The alternation between f and v is one of those. In Old High German (as in Latin), v was synonymous with u, but in Middle High German, f and v were in free variation: you'd see Fater but also Valke. Eventually, words tended to fossilize with one or the other, mostly depending on which was used by some influential source: whether that was the official documents of the Holy Roman Empire (which tended to prefer f), or Luther's vernacular Bible (which tended to prefer v).

So nowadays, whether a native German word is spent with f or v usually comes down to historical accident instead of any logical system. The spellings must simply be memorized.

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