Introducing the Letter J

is the tenth letter in the modern Latin alphabet; it was the last of the 26 letters to be added. Its name in English is "jay" (pronounced /dʒeɪ/). It was formerly jy (from French ji), and in some dialects, mainly of Scottish English, it still is (pronounced jay. Occasionally, J represents other sounds, as in Hallelujah, which is pronounced the same as Halleluyah and Halleluia. The dot above the lowercase "i" and "j" is known as a tittle.

J was originally an alternative version of I. Its minuscule, j, was used in the Middle Ages as a swash character to end some Roman numerals in place of i. There was an emerging distinctive use in Middle High German. Gian Giorgio Trissino (1478-1550) was the first to explicitly distinguish I and J as representing separate sounds.

When I see the letter J, I think of my son, Joel. My other favorite Js include John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, JSTOR, J. Paul Getty Museum, Joaquín Rodrigo, jasmine, .jpg, Jib-Jab, Jabberwocky, Jacki, jackalope, jade, Jaguar, Jailhouse Rock, jammies, Janis Joplin, juice, Jefferson Airplane, and Johnny B. Goode.

Thanks to Willow for giving the letter J to me today. If you would like me to give you a letter, leave a comment and let me know. This was fun.


  1. Did you know that there is no J Street in Washington DC? There is an I Street and a K Street, but no J Street. It's because when the city was planned out in the late 18th century, the letter I and the letter J were still kinda interchangeable. And often indistinguishable from each other. So one of them had to be left off so that citizens didn't get confused with the addresses.

    Neat, huh?

  2. wow who knew all that info on the letter

  3. This was fun! I like Jabberwocky. The guys all watched it over the holidays. "Turned his teeth snow white overnight, they say!" :^)

  4. Now that you mention it, I love tittles! Fun Post!

  5. HorusJ: If you want a letter, I give you B.

  6. I'll take John Lenon and Jstor--excellent post Steph--I love the information. My cafe talking points are becoming more refined through these readings...Bravo!

  7. And J doesn't exist in the Italian alphabet, where it is replaced by a I.

  8. I'll take a letter. That looks like a fun thing to do.

    I like your entry on J. J is a good letter, even though it's one of the newer additions.


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