The J, 10th letter of most European alphabets, is a spurious counterpart of the letter I. It is also called the consonant of that vowel, fulfilling that function of the original letter when it precedes another vowel. This, however, is the case only where it sounds like y in yet; for in some European languages it is either a superfetation of other legitimate letters, or the representative of sounds which have nothing in common with that of its prototype, I. It is in German miscalled Jot (pronounced yot), in Spanish jota (pronounced 'hota), from iwra. The following are the sounds with which it is uttered in various languages: 1. As consonant I in Italian, German, Danish, and other Teutonic languages, in Lu-satian, Polish, Magyar, etc, where the Czechs use g, and the Spaniards and English y, before vowels; for instance: Ital. ajuto or aiuto, aid; Ger. Joch, yoke, ja, yes; Lusat. and Pol. jeden (Czechic geden), one; Magyar jeg, ice, etc. 2. The French and Portuguese J, a lingui-dental sibilant, the weak and sonorous counterpart of ch (Eng. sh), like the sound of s and z in the English words pleasure, grazier, and rendered by the combination zh in English. This sound is also written with g before e and i in Portuguese and French. It exists in Russian, Polish, and other Slavic languages, in Persian, Turkish, etc, but not in Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, Ethiopian, Irish, German, and many other languages. 3. The English sound of J represents the preceding intimately combined with that of d, equivalent to dzh; it is written dj in French and dsch in German transcriptions of oriental names.
This compound sound is also written in English with g before e, i, and y, in Italian with g before e and i. It exists in many eastern languages, and in Polish, but is unknown in the ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Ethiopic, and Irish, as well as in German, French, and most other European languages. 4. In Spanish it is sounded like the German ch, as in joven, young, and is equivalent to g before e and i, and to x in some cases, so that Mexico is also written Mexico and Megico. - The use of the tailed or elongated J was introduced by Dutch printers, and was long called I hollandais by French printers. It bears the same relation to I that the new W does to V. (See I.)