J

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The tenth letter of the latin alphabet J was originally only a capital letter, therefore, some people still write their names as Jsabel, Jnes instead of Isabel, Ines in the German-speaking world, and in Italy, in non-official use one also sometimes encounters J as a capital of I. The Humanistic scholar Pierre de la Ramée (d. 1572) was the first to make a distinction between I and J. Originally, both I and J were pronounced as [i], [i:], and [j]; but Romance languages developed new sounds (from former [j] and [g]) that came to be represented as I and J; therefore, English J has a sound quite different from I. In other Germanic languages, J stands for /j/, in Italian, only foreign words have J; in Spanish, J stands for /x/ (that in some cases developed from the /dZ/ sound, i.e. the same sound that English still has); in French, former /dZ/ is now pronounced as /ZH/ (as in English MEASURE).