Capitalisation of I

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Miss Chicken, May 13, 2013.

  1. Miss Chicken

    Miss Chicken Little three legged cat with attitude Admiral

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    A few questions I though of last night as I was trying to get off to sleep.


    How come, in Engish, I is the only personal pronoun that is capitalise in the middle of a sentence?

    Which other languages capitalise some or all personal pronouns?

    Does Arabic writing have capitalisation?

    Are there any written languages (alphabetically written) that don't capitalise any words.
     
  2. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Why? Because we do and English is silly.
    Read the full explanation HERE.
    To read about English capitalization in general, go HERE.
     
  3. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    No doubt many languages have unusual conventions.
     
  4. Miss Chicken

    Miss Chicken Little three legged cat with attitude Admiral

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    Thanks for that info.

    Another question - why are i and j dotted? It isn't as if it changes the pronunciation of these letters.

    Where other diacritical marks ever used with English words (this question excludes borrowed French words etc that English speakers do use diacritical marks for)?
     
  5. Third Nacelle

    Third Nacelle Captain Captain

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    A diaeresis is occasionally used in English to indicate that two vowels are pronounced separately - coöperation, reëvaluate, zoölogical - but it's very rare.
     
  6. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Wow, I haven't seen that done in years! Decades, actually.
     
  7. Miss Chicken

    Miss Chicken Little three legged cat with attitude Admiral

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    I don't know if I have ever seen it at all. When I was at school I think we were taught to use "co-operation" and "re-evaluate". I only remember seeing "zoological".
     
  8. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hebrew, one of the world's oldest alphabetically written languages, has no capital letters.

    I believe Arabic script also has no capitals, although the consonants do have initial, medial and final forms. Are there any Arabic or Persian speakers here who can elaborate?

    Nowadays those words are almost always spelled without a hyphen or dieresis: cooperate, reenter, etc.

    Lately I've noticed the single-word spelling "noone" (for "no one") gaining currency, and I suppose it may be accepted as standard within a decade. To me, however, "Noone" will always be this guy.

    [​IMG]

    Occasionally in English, foreign words may be written with an accent mark even though the word has no accent in its original language. For example, back in the 1970s, Plymouth made a car called the Volaré. The infinitive volare ("to fly") has no accent in Italian. But it was written with an acute accent so we unsophisticated Yanks wouldn't pronounce it "Volair."
     
  9. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    That's what I remember too, the use of a hyphen. Sure some words like Finalé use diaeresis.
     
  10. Miss Chicken

    Miss Chicken Little three legged cat with attitude Admiral

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    I think that all the words that I was taught to use diaeresis with are of French origin - café, fiancé, Noël, naïve, blasé etc.

    Thanks for the info, Scotpens

    Noone just looks wrong. I think I tend to say nobody rather than no one.
     
  11. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    A couple of observations:

    ---

    It's probably worth mentioning that Christians capitalize the personal pronouns He and Him when referring to God, Jesus, etc.

    ---

    The US Constitution capitalizes the personal pronoun We. The style is ambiguous in the preamble, since "We" is the very first word. However, Article VII says [http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html]:

    done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independance of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,​

    (Note the spelling of "Independance", which is accurately transcribed, according to the high-resolution image scan. Although in that passage "We" is at the start of a line, "of" is at the start of the line immediately above it but is not capitalized. So, "We" is certainly capitalized, there.)

    Actually, a lot of nouns and other words are capitalized in the US Constitution that we don't normally capitalize today. I don't know what the style is called, for that.
     
  12. Miss Chicken

    Miss Chicken Little three legged cat with attitude Admiral

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    We still usually capitalise many of the words in a title such as

    He Who Fears the Wolf

    however if it is being catalogued for a library this capitalisation is wrong , it is

    He who fears the wolf

    Only conventional capitalisation is used though I have seen many entries wrongly capitalised in library catalogues.

    I always wonder if I should, or should not, capitalise the heading of threads I start here, I usually don't and I think that is because I have been a library cataloguer )or maybe it is laziness).
     
  13. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    I just call it archaic, and it's typical of the writing of the day. I kind of get a kick out of it and occasionally do it myself.

    I wonder, does anybody dots i's and j's when they write or print? I can't remember ever actually doing that, except maybe in early grade school.
     
  14. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    I dot my j's and i's. Dotting a lowercase "i" is quick way for me to distinguish between an "i" and an "l" in my writing, which is why I continue to do so. Dotting the "j" is just habit.
     
  15. Miss Chicken

    Miss Chicken Little three legged cat with attitude Admiral

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    I do (most of the time) though my dots end up looking like slashes. He is a sample of handwriting I first posted here more than 3 years ago. No j's in it but I think I treat them the same way as i's.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I always dot i and j.
     
  17. Sigokat

    Sigokat Commander Red Shirt

    In regards to the question about the Arabic language I asked one of the Afghan nationals that works in our office about it and he said that they do not use capital letters at all in their writings.
     
  18. Roger Wilco

    Roger Wilco Admiral Admiral

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    It does seem strange. German, which capitalises every second word basically, doesn't capitalise personal pronouns, unless you you are directly talking to another person.

    For example if I'm writing a (somewhat formal) letter (in e-mails or text messages between friends it doesn't matter), it would be something like:
    "Good day, i am writing to You regarding Your proposal blabla..."

    It does look a little egocentric, the way the English language handles that, even if the hstoric explanation has nothing to do with anything like that.
     
  19. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I capitalize because "I" is more important to me than "you". :lol:
     
  20. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In the U.S., that used to be standard practice in much of the secular media as well, up until around 1970.

    I've noticed that in most European languages, only the first word of a book title (or the title of a play or movie) is capitalized.

    I've always dotted my i's and j's. I thought everybody did. Those letters look wrong and unfinished without the dot.

    Not to me, you isn't! :p