Letter "J" in Italian Surname, "Majello"

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thomasfarina
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Letter "J" in Italian Surname, "Majello"

Postby thomasfarina » 10 Jun 2012, 06:18

Hello, I recently received some vital record extracts from the city of Recale, Caserta, Italy, and I was surprised to read what I think is the surname "Majello" in the documents. I did not think that the letter "J" was used in typical Italian ... is this something unique to the region around Naples? This also sounds like an uncommon name.

Thanks,
T.J.

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Re: Letter "J" in Italian Surname, "Majello"

Postby Italysearcher » 10 Jun 2012, 11:45

It's pronounced 'My-yellow'.
There is no 'j' in the Italian language (although there is in Latin) so what looks like a 'j' is actually an elongated 'i'. Often used to differentiate between the upper classes with the 'j' and the lower classes with an 'i', or just to keep two separate family groups separate.
Its not an uncommon name in either version.
Ann Tatangelo
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ANNOYING THE SAINTS - Stories of my Life in Italy. http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-b ... ly/7731505

thomasfarina
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Re: Letter "J" in Italian Surname, "Majello"

Postby thomasfarina » 10 Jun 2012, 16:22

Ah, thanks ... so would an Italian actually type the letter "j" to differentiate?

Reminds me of pre-19th century english script where "ss" was often written "fs", as in "procefs" (process).

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Re: Letter "J" in Italian Surname, "Majello"

Postby Italysearcher » 10 Jun 2012, 22:23

If he was writing it by hand he would extend the 'i' below the line and to you and I it would look like a 'j'.
If typing, yes, he would use a 'j'.
As to your other comment re 'fs', often in handwritten Italian the first 's' is extended above and below the line so it does look like an 'f'.
Ann Tatangelo
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ANNOYING THE SAINTS - Stories of my Life in Italy. http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-b ... ly/7731505

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Re: Letter "J" in Italian Surname, "Majello"

Postby PippoM » 11 Jun 2012, 08:02

That is common in XIX Century writing. The "i" became a "j" when before another vowel. Of course, this often took to an actula "change" of surname.
Giuseppe "Pippo" Moccaldi

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