G

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G (play /ˈ/; named gee)[1] is the seventh letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.

Contents

History

The letter G was introduced in the Old Latin period as a variant of ‹c› to distinguish voiced /ɡ/ from voiceless /k/. The recorded originator of ‹g› is freedman Spurius Carvilius Ruga, the first Roman to open a fee-paying school, who taught around 230 BC. At this time ‹k› had fallen out of favor, and ‹c›, which had formerly represented both /ɡ/ and /k/ before open vowels, had come to express /k/ in all environments. It is the seventh letter in the modern 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. 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."[2] 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.[3]

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