G – is the 7th letter in the ISO basic Latin alphabet.
The modern lowercase ‘g’ has two typographic variants: the single-storey (sometimes opentail) ‘Opentail g.svg’ and the double-storey (sometimes looptail) ‘Looptail g.svg’. The single-storey form derives from the majuscule (uppercase) form by raising the serif that distinguishes it from ‘c’ to the top of the loop, thus closing the loop, and extending the vertical stroke downward and to the left. The double-storey form (g) had developed similarly, except that some ornate forms then extended the tail back to the right, and to the left again, forming a closed bowl or loop. The initial extension to the left was absorbed into the upper closed bowl. The double-storey version became popular when printing switched to “Roman type” because the tail was effectively shorter, making it possible to put more lines on a page. In the double-storey version, a small top stroke in the upper-right, often terminating in an orb shape, is called an “ear”.
Generally, the two forms are complementary, but occasionally the difference has been exploited to provide contrast. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, opentail g has always represented a voiced velar plosive, while g was distinguished from g and represented a voiced velar fricative from 1895 to 1900. In 1948, the Council of the International Phonetic Association recognized g and g as typographic equivalents, and this decision was reaffirmed in 1993. While the 1949 Principles of the International Phonetic Association recommended the use of g for a velar plosive and g 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.