Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:


Still Needed:


Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington

Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.

New from Cambridge University Press!


Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.

Query Details

Query Subject:   Pronoun "I"
Author:   Rolf Tatje
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Historical Linguistics
Writing Systems
Subject Language(s):  English

Query:   Wed, 21 Jan 1998 11:10:08 +0100
Rolf Tatje
Pronoun ''I''

A friend of mine who is not on the list asked me why the English
pronoun ''I'' is written with a capital letter but the other pronouns
are not. I looked into what I thought were the relevant chapters of
quite a lot of language histories, books on orthography etc. but
without success. I asked my native speaker colleagues, but they,
too, could only think of the same explanations as myself, namely:

1. It is purely conventional.

2. Perhaps ''I'' was capitalized in order to distinguish it in
(medieval) handwriting from similar-looking i's, u's, v's etc.

Neither idea appears very satisfying to me so perhaps someone out
there could suggest a better (or even the one and only correct) answer
(if there is any) or point me to some literature. I promise to write
a summary, if the results are interesting enough.

Thanks in advance.

Rolf Tatje
FB 3 - Romanistik
D-47048 Duisburg

Phone (+49-203) 379-2605
Fax (+49-203) 379-1952
LL Issue: 9.99
Date posted: 22-Jan-1998


Sums main page