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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


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