The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce

J

J is a consonant in English, but some nations use it as a vowel — than which nothing could be more absurd. Its original form, which has been but slightly modified, was that of the tail of a subdued dog, and it was not a letter but a character, standing for a Latin verb, jacere, “to throw,” because when a stone is thrown at a dog the dog’s tail assumes that shape. This is the origin of the letter, as expounded by the renowned Dr. Jocolpus Bumer, of the University of Belgrade, who established his conclusions on the subject in a work of three quarto volumes and committed suicide on being reminded that the j in the Roman alphabet had originally no curl.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/bierce/ambrose/devils-dictionary/chapter10.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31