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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the letter J of the alphabet. For other uses, see J (disambiguation).
For technical reasons, "J#" redirects here. For the programming
language, see J Sharp.

ISO basic
Latin alphabet

Aa Bb Cc Dd
Ee Ff Gg Hh
Ii Jj Kk Ll
Mm Nn Oo Pp
Writing cursive forms of J Qq Rr Ss Tt
Uu Vv Ww Xx
J is the tenth letter in the modern English alphabet and the ISO Yy Zz
basic Latin alphabet. Its normal name in English is jay /dʒeɪ/ or,
now uncommonly, jy/dʒaɪ/.[1][2] When used for the palatal
approximant, it may be called yod (/jɒd/ or /joʊd/)  v
or yot (/jɒt/ or /joʊt/).  t
 e

 1History
 2Use in writing systems
o 2.1English
o 2.2Other languages
 2.2.1Germanic and Eastern-European languages
 2.2.2Romance languages
 2.2.3Basque
 2.2.4Non-European languages
 3Related characters
 4Computing codes
o 4.1Wingdings smiley issue
 5Other uses
 6Other representations
 7References
 8External links

The letter J originated as a swash letter I, used for the letter I at the end of Roman numerals when
following another I, as in XXIIJ or xxiijinstead of XXIII or xxiii for the Roman numeral representing 23.
A distinctive usage emerged in Middle High German.[3] Gian Giorgio Trissino (1478–1550) was the
first to explicitly distinguish I and J as representing separate sounds, in his Ɛpistola del Trissino de le
lettere nuωvamente aggiunte ne la lingua italiana ("Trissino's epistle about the letters recently added
in the Italian language") of 1524.[4]Originally, 'I' and 'J' were different shapes for the same letter, both
equally representing /i/, /iː/, and /j/; but, Romance languagesdeveloped new sounds (from
former /j/ and /ɡ/) that came to be represented as 'I' and 'J'; therefore, English J, acquired from
the FrenchJ, has a sound value quite different from /j/ (which represents the initial sound in the
English word "yet").

Use in writing systems[edit]

In English, ⟨j⟩ most commonly represents the affricate /dʒ/. In Old English, the phoneme /dʒ/ was
represented orthographically with ⟨cg⟩ and ⟨cȝ⟩.[5] Under the influence of Old French, which had a
similar phoneme deriving from Latin /j/, English scribes began to use ⟨i⟩ (later ⟨j⟩) to represent word-
initial /dʒ/ in Old English (for example, iest and, later jest), while using ⟨dg⟩ elsewhere (for
example, hedge).[5] Later, many other uses of ⟨i⟩ (later ⟨j⟩) were added in loanwords from French and
other languages (e.g. adjoin, junta). The first English language book to make a clear distinction
between ⟨i⟩ and ⟨j⟩ was published in 1633.[6] In loan words such as raj, ⟨j⟩ may represent /ʒ/. In some
of these, including raj, Azerbaijan, Taj Mahal, and Beijing, the regular pronunciation /dʒ/ is actually
closer to the native pronunciation, making the use of /ʒ/ an instance of
a hyperforeignism.[7] Occasionally, ⟨j⟩ represents the original /j/ sound, as
in Hallelujah and fjord (see Yodh for details). In words of Spanish origin, where ⟨j⟩ represents
the voiceless velar fricative [x] (such as jalapeño), English speakers usually approximate with
the voiceless glottal fricative /h/.
In English, ⟨j⟩ is the fourth least frequently used letter in words, being more frequent only than ⟨z⟩,
⟨q⟩, and ⟨x⟩. It is, however, quite common in proper nouns, especially personal names.
Other languages[edit]
Germanic and Eastern-European languages[edit]

Pronunciation of written <j> in European languages

The great majority of Germanic languages, such

as German, Dutch, Icelandic, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian, use ⟨j⟩ for the palatal approximant /j/,
which is usually represented by the letter ⟨y⟩ in English. Notable exceptions are English, Scots and
(to a lesser degree) Luxembourgish. ⟨j⟩ also represents /j/ in Albanian, and
those Uralic, Slavic and Baltic languages that use the Latin alphabet, such
as Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Polish, Czech, Serbo-Croatian, Slovak, Latvian and Lithuanian.
Some related languages, such as Serbo-Croatian and Macedonian, also adopted ⟨j⟩ into the Cyrillic
alphabet for the same purpose. Because of this standard, the lower case letter was chosen to be
used in the IPA as the phonetic symbol for the sound.
Romance languages[edit]
In the Romance languages, ⟨j⟩ has generally developed from its original palatal approximant value
in Latin to some kind of fricative. In French, Portuguese, Catalan, and Romanian it has been fronted
to the postalveolar fricative /ʒ/ (like ⟨s⟩ in English measure). In Spanish, by contrast, it has been
both devoiced and backed from an earlier /ʝ/ to a present-day /x ~ h/,[8] with the actual phonetic
realization depending on the speaker's dialect/s.
In modern standard Italian spelling, only Latin words, proper nouns (such
as Jesi, Letojanni, Juventus etc.) or those borrowed from foreign languages have ⟨j⟩. Until the 19th
century, ⟨j⟩ was used instead of ⟨i⟩ in diphthongs, as a replacement for final -ii, and in vowel groups
(as in Savoja); this rule was quite strict for official writing. ⟨j⟩ is also used to render /j/ in
dialect, e.g. Romanesque ajo for standard aglio (–/ʎ/–) (garlic). The Italian novelist Luigi
Pirandello used ⟨j⟩ in vowel groups in his works written in Italian; he also wrote in his native Sicilian
language, which still uses the letter ⟨j⟩ to represent /j/ (and sometimes also [dʒ] or [gj], depending on
its environment).[9]
In Basque, the diaphoneme represented by ⟨j⟩ has a variety of realizations according to the regional
dialect: [gʰ, kʰ, j, ʝ, ɟ, ʒ, ʃ, x] (the last one is typical of Gipuzkoa).
Non-European languages[edit]
Among non-European languages that have adopted the Latin script, ⟨j⟩ stands
for /ʒ/ in Turkish and Azerbaijani, for /ʐ/ in Tatar. ⟨j⟩ stands
for /dʒ/ in Indonesian, Somali, Malay, Igbo, Shona, Oromo, Turkmen, and Zulu. It represents
a voiced palatal plosive /ɟ/ in Konkani, Yoruba, and Swahili. In Kiowa, ⟨j⟩ stands for a voiceless
alveolar plosive, /t/.
In Chinese Pinyin, ⟨j⟩ stands for /tɕ/, the unaspirated equivalent of ⟨q⟩.
The Royal Thai General System of Transcription does not use the letter ⟨j⟩, although it is used in
some proper names and non-standard transcriptions to represent either จ [tɕ] or ช [tɕʰ] (the latter
following Pali/Sanskrit root equivalents).
In romanized Pashto, ⟨j⟩ represents ‫ځ‬, pronounced [dz].

Related characters[edit]
 𐤉 : Semitic letter Yodh, from which the following symbols originally
 I i : Latin letter I, from which J derives
 ȷ : Dotless j
 ᶡ : Modifier letter small dotless j with stroke[10]
 ᶨ : Modifier letter small j with crossed-tail[10]
 IPA-specific symbols related to J: ʝ ɟ ʄ ʲ
 Uralic Phonetic Alphabet-specific symbols related to
 J with diacritics: Ĵ ĵ ǰ Ɉ ɉ J ̃ ȷ ̃

Computing codes[edit]

Character J j ȷ

Unicode name

Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex

Unicode 74 U+004A 106 U+006A 567 U+0237

UTF-8 74 4A 106 6A 200 183 C8 B7

Numeric character
&#74; &#x4A; &#106; &#x6A; &#567; &#x237;

EBCDIC family 209 D1 145 91

ASCII 1 74 4A 106 6A

Also for encodings based on ASCII, including the DOS,
Windows, ISO-8859 and Macintosh families of encodings.
Unicode also has a dotless variant, ȷ (U+0237). It is primarily used
in Landsmålsalfabet and in mathematics. It is not intended to be
used with diacritics since the normal j is softdotted in Unicode (that
is, the dot is removed if a diacritic is to be placed above; Unicode
further states that, for example i+ ¨ ≠ ı+¨ and the same holds true for
j and ȷ).[13]
In Unicode, a duplicate of 'J' for use as a special phonetic character
in historical Greek linguistics is encoded in the Greek script block as
ϳ (Unicode U+03F3). It is used to denote the palatal glide /j/ in the
context of Greek script. It is called "Yot" in the Unicode standard,
after the German name of the letter J.[14][15] An uppercase version of
this letter was added to the Unicode Standard at U+037F with the
release of version 7.0 in June 2014.[16][17]
Wingdings smiley issue[edit]
In the Wingdings font by Microsoft, the letter "J" is rendered as
a smiley face (note this is distinct from the Unicode code point
U+263A, which renders as ☺). In Microsoft applications, ":)" is
automatically replaced by a smiley rendered in a specific font face
when composing rich text documents or HTML email. This
autocorrection feature can be switched off or changed to a Unicode
smiley.[18] [19]

Other uses[edit]
 In international licence plate codes, J stands for Japan.
 In mathematics, j is one of the three imaginary units
of quaternions.
 In the Metric system, J is the symbol for the joule, the SI
derived unit for energy.
 In physics, electrical engineering and related fields, j is the
symbol for the imaginary unit (the square root of -1) (in other
fields the letter i is used, but this would be ambiguous as it is
also the symbol for current).
 A J can be a slang term for a spliff (marijuana cigarette)

Other representations[edit]
NATO phonetic Morse code

Juliet ·–––

American manual Braille

Signal flag Flag semaphore
alphabet (ASLfingerspelling) dots-245

1. Jump up^ "J", Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989)
2. Jump up^ "J" and "jay", Merriam-Webster's Third New
International Dictionary of the English Language,
Unabridged (1993)
3. Jump up^ "Wörterbuchnetz". Retrieved 22 December 2016.
4. Jump up^ De le lettere nuωvamente aggiunte ne la lingua
Italiana in Italian Wikisource.
5. ^ Jump up to:a b Hogg, Richard M.; Norman Francis Blake; Roger
Lass; Suzanne Romaine; R. W. Burchfield; John Algeo
(1992). The Cambridge History of the English
Language. Cambridge University Press. p. 39. ISBN 0-521-
6. Jump up^ English Grammar, Charles Butler, 1633
7. Jump up^ Wells, John (1982). Accents of English 1: An
Introduction. Cambridge, UN: Cambridge University Press.
p. 108. ISBN 0-521-29719-2.
8. Jump up^ Penny, Ralph John (2002). A History of the Spanish
Language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-
9. Jump up^ Cipolla, Gaetano (2007). The Sounds of Sicilian: A
Pronunciation Guide. Mineola, NY: Legas. pp. 11–12.
Retrieved 2013-03-31.
10. ^ Jump up to:a b Constable, Peter (2004-04-19). "L2/04-132
Proposal to add additional phonetic characters to the UCS" (PDF).
11. ^ Jump up to:a b Everson, Michael; et al. (2002-03-20). "L2/02-141:
Uralic Phonetic Alphabet characters for the UCS" (PDF).
12. Jump up^ Ruppel, Klaas; Rueter, Jack; Kolehmainen, Erkki I.
(2006-04-07). "L2/06-215: Proposal for Encoding 3 Additional
Characters of the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet" (PDF).
13. Jump up^ The Unicode Standard, Version 8.0, p. 293 (at the very
14. Jump up^ Nick Nicholas, "Yot" Archived 2012-08-05 at
15. Jump up^ "Unicode Character 'GREEK LETTER YOT'
(U+03F3)". Retrieved 22 December 2016.
16. Jump up^ "Unicode: Greek and Coptic" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-
17. Jump up^ "Unicode 7.0.0". Unicode Consortium. Retrieved 2014-
18. Jump up^ Pirillo, Chris (26 June 2010). "J Smiley Outlook Email:
Problem and Fix!". Retrieved 22 December 2016.
19. Jump up^ Chen, Raymond (23 May 2006). "That mysterious
J". The Old New Thing. MSDN Blogs. Retrieved 2011-04-01.

External links[edit]
Wikimedia Commons has
media related to J.

 The dictionary definition of J at Wiktionary

 The dictionary definition of j at Wiktionary
 "J". Encyclopædia Britannica. 15 (11th ed.). 1911.


Latin script

 History
 Spread

 Romanization

 Roman numerals

Classical Latin alphabet

SO basic Latin alphabet

phonetic alphabets

nternational Phonetic Alphabet


Spelling alphabet

Letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet

Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww
Letter J with diacritics
Ĵĵ Ɉɉ J̌ǰ ȷ Ʝʝ J̃ ȷ̃ ɟ ʄ

 ch

 cz

 dž

 dz

 gh

 ij

Digraphs ll

 ly

 nh

 ny

 sh

 sz

 th

 dzs
 eau

Tetragraphs ough

Pentagraphs tzsch



SO/IEC 646


Western Latin character sets

precomposed Latin characters in Unicode

etters used in mathematics

 Diacritics

 Palaeography
 ISO basic Latin letters
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