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The Story of J

I picked up the latest Esquire magazine. The cover features Javier Bardem and an ad for the latest Alfa Romeo, the Giulia. Perhaps I’m sensitive to what I consider the most abused letter of the alphabet, the letter J, because my name begins with one; but, consider for a moment those two names: Javier and Giulia. The first is a J masquerading as an H and the other, a Giu posing as a J. Such abuse to a letter on the same page! It poses a problem should a writer ever see Javier in a Giulia.

The letter J has not been with us always. A Google search shows that the letter was introduced in the 17th Century. The Italians had their Giu for that sound and ignored the J, thank you very much. However, other languages such as Spanish treated it as a different sound. The poor J, it’s the harlot of the alphabet. It will be whatever you want it to be.

If the J wasn’t invented until the 17th century, what were the biblical names with J’s before then? There’s Joshua, James, Joseph, and, of course, Jesus. For that answer, Click Here.

I’m proud to have a name starting with a J. If for no other reason, little kids, like my grandson, like the way it feels to say it. It has a sharp beginning that's good to utter. I see a smile every time a kid says it. That’s enough for me.

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Jackson Coppley

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