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The letter "J"

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The letter "J"

Postby William Hupy » Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:36 pm

In German J is Y, a hard H in Spanish and a soft zh in French. Was J the most recently introduced letter to the Roman alphabet and did not have time to sort itself out for pronunciation?
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Re: The letter "J"

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:13 pm

Throw in the V while you're at it, and see who can enlighten us.
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Re: The letter "J"

Postby bnjtokyo » Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:30 am

From Wikipedia
J:
The letter 'J' originated as a swash character, used for the letter 'i' at the end of Roman numerals when following another 'i', as in 'xxiij' instead of '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 languages developed new sounds (from former /j/ and /ɡ/) that came to be represented as 'I' and 'J'; therefore, English J, acquired from the French J, has a sound value quite different from /j/ (which represents the initial sound in the English word "yet").

Use in English[edit]In English, 'j' most commonly represents the affricate /dʒ/. In Old English the phoneme /dʒ/ was represented orthographically as 'cg' or '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/ of Old English (for example, 'iest' 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 be pronounced /ʒ/ by some speakers. In some of these, including raj, Taj Mahal, and Beijing, the regular pronunciation /dʒ/ is actually closer to the foreign pronunciation, making this an instance of a hyperforeignism.[7] Occasionally 'J' represents the original /j/ sound, as in Hallelujah and fjord (see: yodh for details). It also represents the /h/ sound in Spanish loanwords such as ‘jalapeño’.

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.

And V
Letter[edit]
Ancient Corinthian vase depicting Perseus, Andromeda and Ketos. The inscriptions denoting the depicted persons are written in an archaic form of the Greek alphabet. Perseus (Greek: ΠΕΡΣΕΥΣ) is inscribed as ΠΕΡΣΕVΣ (from right to left), using V to represent the vowel [u].The letter V comes from the Semitic letter Waw, as do the modern letters F, U, W, and Y. See F for details.

In Greek, the letter upsilon 'Υ' was adapted from waw to represent, at first, the vowel [u] as in "moon". This was later fronted to [y], the front rounded vowel spelled 'ü' in German.

In Latin, a stemless variant shape of the upsilon was borrowed in early times as V—either directly from the Western Greek alphabet or from the Etruscan alphabet as an intermediary—to represent the same /u/ sound, as well as the consonantal /w/. Thus, 'num' — originally spelled 'NVM' — was pronounced /num/ and 'via' was pronounced [ˈwia]. From the 1st century AD on, depending on Vulgar Latin dialect, consonantal /w/ developed into /β/ (kept in Spanish), then later to /v/.

In Roman numerals, the letter 'V' is used to represent the number 5. It was used because it resembled the convention of counting by notches carved in wood, with every fifth notch double-cut to form a 'V'.

During the Late Middle Ages, two forms of 'v' developed, which were both used for its ancestor /u/ and modern /v/. The pointed form 'v' was written at the beginning of a word, while a rounded form 'u' was used in the middle or end, regardless of sound. So whereas 'valor' and 'excuse' appeared as in modern printing, 'have' and 'upon' were printed as 'haue' and 'vpon'. The first distinction between the letters 'u' and 'v' is recorded in a Gothic alphabet from 1386, where 'v' preceded 'u'. By the mid-16th century, the 'v' form was used to represent the consonant and 'u' the vowel sound, giving us the modern letter 'u'. Capital 'U' was not accepted as a distinct letter until many years later. [2]

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, /v/ represents the voiced labiodental fricative. See Help:IPA.

Like J, K, Q, X, and Z, V is not used very frequently in English. It is the 6th least common letter in the English language, with a frequency of about 1.03% in words. It appears frequently in the Spanish (where its pronunciation is the same as B) and French languages.
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Re: The letter "J"

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Feb 27, 2014 3:40 pm

The article correctly recognizes Semitic roots for V. However, prior to the Romans, Ancient Hebrew used a letter like ' and called "yodh." You can see the development of both letters in Germany in the word jawohl. The first letter is pronounced Y, and the W is pronounced V. That also explains the origination of the word Jehovah, which is a Germanic reproduction of the Hebrew letters now becoming more prominent in English as Yahweh. The original is known as the tetragrammaton or four sacred letters often replaced by the word Lord. In the Hebrew Old Testament, one often finds the name YHWH in the semitic lettering. In fact in some documents, like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the name is written in Paleo-hebraic letters going back centuries. Scholars believe the name relates to the verb to be, and means the one who is, or possibly the one who causes to be – the creator. Jehovah is the weird creation of the four Hebrew letters transliterated into German - JHVH, with the vowels of adonai (Lord) inserted, since Hebrew has no vowels in its original writing. You can see traces of this history in almost any Old Testament translation into English. Almost always, the word Yahweh is replaced by the word Lord in all caps, and wherever you see this, the Hebrew behind it is Yahweh.
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