The letter “J,” when was it invented?

Do You Know the Last Letter Added to the Alphabet? (It Wasn’t Z). Updated: May 20, 2020  Please read the Reader’s Digest article by: “Claire Nowak…“For example, you probably think the last letter added to the alphabet was “Z” — and yet, it actually wasn’t. Here are more interesting facts like this that will blow your mind.

“Yet that alphabet could have been drastically different. It used to have six more letters that were eventually dropped. And in a perfect example of irony, the alphabet we know today was not created alphabetically. “Z” may be the last letter in alphabetical order, but the last letter added to our alphabet was actually “J.”

 


Most recently, Gian Giorgio Trissino was given credit for the change, as far back as 1524.

“In the Roman alphabet, the English alphabet’s father,“J” wasn’t a letter…Both letters were used interchangeably to write the vowel sound /i/ (like the “i” in igloo) and the consonant sound /j/ (like the “y” in yes). Then along came Gian Giorgio Trissino, a grammarian who wanted to reform Italian linguistics. https://www.rd.com/culture/last letter. (You can read the whole article by using the keywords,last letter.”)

The Last Letter Added to the English Alphabet Wasn’t Z “Talk About Irony: The Last Letter Added to the Alphabet Wasn’t “Z”: Claire Nowak and Bruce Gruber, both have articles published in Readers Digest explaining the history of the letter “J.”

 “There Used to Be Six More Letters in the English Alphabet! You thought you knew your ABCs, but our alphabet used to have a total of 32 letters instead of the 26.”…“Yet that alphabet could have been drastically different. It used to have six more letters that were eventually dropped. And in a perfect example of irony, the alphabet we know today was not created alphabetically. “Z” may be the last letter in alphabetical order, but the last letter added to our alphabet was actually “J”…In the Roman alphabet, the English alphabet’s father, “J” wasn’t a letter. It was just a fancier way of writing the letter “I” called a swash. When lowercase “i”s were used as numerals, the lowercase “j” marked the end of a series of ones, like “XIIJ” or “xiij” for 13. Both letters were used interchangeably to write the vowel sound /i/ (like the “i” in igloo) and the consonant sound /j/ (like the “y” in yes).
“Then along came Gian Giorgio Trissino, a grammarian who wanted to reform Italian linguistics. In 1524, he wrote an essay that identified “I” and “J” as two separate letters. “I” distinguished the aforementioned vowel, and “J” became a consonant that probably sounded more like the “j” in Beijing. Others later adopted his use of “J,” but Romance languages altered its pronunciation to the “j” we’re familiar with (as in jam)…”The first English book to explain the difference between the two letters was published in 1633, and the rest is linguistic history. If not for good ol’ Trissino, then jolly Jack and joyful  Jill couldn’t jump and juggle in the jungle while jostling  Joe for his banjo. What a sad world that would be.”