IJ (digraph)

IJ or ij (pronounced [ eɪ ], [ ɛɪ ], [ ə ] or ( exceptionally) [i ː ] ) is a letter of the Dutch alphabet, such as the German "ß" occupies a special position. The ligature of "I" and "J" still provides material for discussion: The Dutch Language Union, the international non-profit organization for the Dutch language does not recognize the " IJ " Although as a separate letter to, but clearly as ligation and defines the notation with two uppercase firmly on the word beginning. In Flanders, the Dutch speaking part of Belgium, the " IJ " is not recognized as a separate letter. In the Netherlands it is quite common to refer to the " IJ " as the 27th letter in the Dutch alphabet. Many, however, set the " IJ " in place of "Y" ( see below), in which case the " IJ " works as the 25th letter of the alphabet.

Origin and use

Has its roots in this character probably the second " I" extended in a double " I", was due to better readability later. At that time they wrote " i" that is, without dot (" ı " ), and therefore resembled the combination " ıı " the "u" in the manuscript. It then evolved into an independent character that is written in all uppercase in word-initial (example: IJsselmeer ). This is also made clear that in Dutch crosswords only one box for the " IJ " is provided, as well as in the popular guessing game " Lingo ". Many Dutch typewriters also have a dedicated button for the " ij " ( lowercase letters). These facts also support the arguments of those who consider the " IJ " as a separate letter. In dictionaries and in the official list of words ( " het Groene Boekje " ) - but not in encyclopedias and phone books - is " ij " but always between "ii" and " ik " sorted.


There are also Dutch words ( such as " bijectie " ) where "i " and "j " may occur side by side, but no ligature forms because they are part of different syllables.

Equality with the " Y"

In the 18th and 19th centuries began printer to use for the " IJ " own letters. This looked like a "Y" with diaeresis ( Ÿ ). This led to the erroneous equating the " IJ " with the " Y", which is found almost exclusively in loan words in Dutch. This is supported by the fact that the "Y " takes the place of the " IJ " in the resulting from Dutch Afrikaans, and by proper names, such as the wife of Rembrandt, Saskia van Uylenburgh. In Dutch phone books, the " IJ " is equated with "Y". In this way, one can find similar names, such as Bruijn and Bruyn easy, even when the exact spelling is unknown. You do not hear a difference that is. Only Bruin ( also with the same pronunciation ) can not be found so.

However, many Dutch people think their alphabet end with X, IJ, Z.

The " IJ " in Data Processing

Word processing programs often have an automatic correction function for words that are (usually accidentally) typed with two capital letters. Therefore, almost always " IJ " change from to " Ij ".

The character sets ASCII and ISO 8859-1 contain the " IJ " not a single character in Unicode, ISO 6937 and but in the Cork encoding it exists. The ligature is the HTML code: IJ for " IJ " and ij for " ij ". From the application of this character is discouraged: the use of two letters is preferred.

In TeX and LaTeX there is no default command for the " IJ ". In the package babel commands \ IJ for the big " IJ " and \ ij are defined for the small " ij ", regardless of the selected language option.


( based on it for letters with diacritics, inter alia, see list of Latin -based alphabets )


  • Dutch language
  • Latin letter