G (named gee ) The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 1976. is the 7th letter in the ISO basic Latin alphabet.
Ruga's positioning of 'G' shows that alphabetic order related to the letters' values as Greek numerals was a concern even in the 3rd century BC. According to some records, the original seventh letter, 'Z', had been purged from the Latin alphabet somewhat earlier in the 3rd century BC by the Roman censor Appius Claudius, who found it distasteful and foreign. Encyclopaedia Romana Sampson (1985) suggests that: "Evidently the order of the alphabet was felt to be such a concrete thing that a new letter could be added in the middle only if a 'space' was created by the dropping of an old letter." The 3rd-century-BC addition of the letter G to the Roman alphabet is credited to Spurius Carvilius Ruga.
George Hempl proposed in 1899 that there never was such a "space" in the alphabet and that in fact 'G' was a direct descendant of zeta. Zeta took shapes like ⊏ in some of the Old Italic scripts; the development of the monumental form 'G' from this shape would be exactly parallel to the development of 'C' from gamma. He suggests that the pronunciation > was due to contamination from the also similar-looking 'K'.
Eventually, both and developed palatalized before front vowels; consequently in today's Romance languages, and have different sound values depending on context (known as hard and soft C and hard and soft G). Because of French influence, English orthography shares this feature.
Generally, the two forms are complementary, but occasionally the difference has been exploited to provide contrast. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, opentail has always represented a voiced velar plosive, while was distinguished from and represented a voiced velar fricative from 1895 to 1900. In 1948, the Council of the International Phonetic Association recognized and as typographic equivalents, and this decision was reaffirmed in 1993. While the 1949 Principles of the International Phonetic Association recommended the use of for a velar plosive and for an advanced one for languages where it is preferable to distinguish the two, such as Russian, this practice never caught on. The 1999 Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, the successor to the Principles, abandoned the recommendation and acknowledged both shapes as acceptable variants.
Wong et al. (2018) found that native English speakers have little conscious awareness of the looptail 'g' (). They write: "Despite being questioned repeatedly, and despite being informed directly that G has two lowercase print forms, nearly half of the participants failed to reveal any knowledge of the looptail 'g', and only 1 of the 38 participants was able to write looptail 'g' correctly."
In words of Romance origin, is mainly soft before (including the digraphs and ), , or , and hard otherwise. Soft is also used in many words that came into English through medieval or modern Romance languages from languages without soft (like Ancient Latin and Greek) (e.g. or logic). There are many English words of non-Romance origin where is hard though followed by or (e.g. get, gift), and a few in which is soft though followed by such as gaol or margarine.
The double consonant has the value (hard ) as in nugget, with very few exceptions: in suggest and in exaggerate and veggies.
The digraph has the value (soft ), as in badger. Non-digraph can also occur, in compounds like floodgate and headgear.
The digraph may represent
The digraph (in many cases a replacement for the obsolete letter yogh, which took various values including , , and ) may represent
The digraph may represent
The trigraph has the value as in gingham or dinghy. Non-trigraph also occurs, in compounds like stronghold and dunghill.
In Italian and Romanian, is used to represent before front vowels where would otherwise represent a soft value. In Italian and French, is used to represent the palatal nasal , a sound somewhat similar to the in English canyon. In Italian, the trigraph , when appearing before a vowel or as the article and pronoun , represents the palatal lateral approximant .
Other languages typically use to represent regardless of position.
Amongst European languages Czech language, Dutch language, Finnish language and Slovak language are an exception as they do not have in their native words. In Dutch language represents a voiced velar fricative instead, a sound that does not occur in modern English, but there is a dialectal variation: many Netherlandic dialects use a voiceless fricative ( or ) instead, and in southern dialects it may be palatal . Nevertheless, word-finally it is always voiceless in all dialects, including the standard Dutch of Belgium and the Netherlands. On the other hand, some dialects (like Amelands), may have a phonemic .