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J (letter)

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J, j is a letter of the Latin alphabet. It is the tenth letter of most variants, being placed after I and before K, as is the case for instance in the English alphabet. Its English name is pronounced [ˈdʒeɪ], like the bird jay.

Use in English

Use in English
Alphabetical word list
Retroalphabetical list  
Common misspellings  

j combines the two sounds d (as in dóg) and zh (as in Brézhnev or like z in ázure or s in pléasure). Many languages, including French, German, Portuguese and Arabic, do not have this sound. (Russian and Spanish have only the unvoiced version of it, t + sh, which is spelt ch in both English and Spanish, whence mácho.)

  • The accents show stress and pronunciation (see English spellings): A: sát, mâde, pàrk, cāst (cást/càst), åll, ãir; E: ére, êar, vèin, fërn; I: sít, mîne, skì, bïrd; O: sóng, môde, lòve, wörd, ŏr; OO: moôn, foòt; U: sún, mûse, fùll, pürr; W: neŵ, ẁant; Y: gým, mŷ, keỳ, mÿrrh.

j is common initially: jét, jázz, jíg, jést, jêep, jólly, Jûlia, jàr, jám, Jásper, Jóhn, Jêsus, Jeŵish, Jím, Jâmes, Jíll, Jáckson, Jéffrey (= Géoffrey) and after a prefix: disjŏinted, disjúnctive, injúnction, unjúst, injústice, outjúmp. Foreign learners, under the influence of their own language (notably francophones) often mispronounce j as zh: its normal sound is dzh.

j is rarely found alone, between two vowels, inside a word: cajôle, ajàr, rejéct. The normal spelling for the j sound medially is g or dg: pígeon, dúdgeon. So júdge is pronounced *júj. Usually a following e or i is required to make the j sound, but not in Wédgwood or Édgbaston, which both include an "édge", while in júdgment/júdgement it is optional.

j renders the d in ad- redundant: adjûdicate, ádjunct, ádjective, adjöurn, adjúst.

j is only used finally in words from Hindi: Ràj, Ámritràj. The normal spelling for the j sound finally is (d)ge: bádge, grúdge, plédge, dódge, gâuge, câge, pâge, wâge, sìêge, wâge, sâge, gàrbage, lúggage.

And g occurs more often than j before front vowels: Géoffrey, Gíllian (cf. Jíll), gîant, gigántic, Gërmany, géneral, George, géntle, and is much more common inside words: âgent, págeant, pígeon, rêgion.

Spanish js have the h sound (or kh, especially in Scotland and Wales): Riója *Rióha, Rajoy *Rahŏy, but Majŏrca, an Anglicized spelling of Spanish Mallorca, is pronounced *Məyŏrca.

j does not begin consonant clusters, and the only jj is in hàjj (which may also be spelt hàdj).

The surname Marjoribanks is pronounced Marchbanks.

Scientific uses

  • j: square root of minus one in engineering notation