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  1. #1
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    capitalization of I

    I'm not sure if it's a right place to ask this question. If it isn't please move it.

    I was wondering what could be the reason for making the word "I" bigger. I couldn't find any sensible answer so I looked it up, and the only thing I found was this: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/ma...tsafire-t.html

    Their explanation is as follows:
    “Graphically, single letters are a problem,” says Charles Bigelow, a type historian and a designer of the Lucida and Wingdings font families. “They look like they broke off from a word or got lost or had some other accident.” When “I” shrunk to a single letter, Bigelow explains, “one little letter had to represent an important word, but it was too wimpy, graphically speaking, to carry the semantic burden, so the scribes made it bigger, which means taller, which means equivalent to a capital.”
    It doesn't convince me. It could be right, but it seems to simply be a guess. Do we know that for sure?

  2. #2
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: capitalization of I

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I'm not sure if it's a right place to ask this question. If it isn't please move it.

    I was wondering what could be the reason for making the word "I" bigger. I couldn't find any sensible answer so I looked it up, and the only thing I found was this: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/ma...tsafire-t.html

    Their explanation is as follows:


    It doesn't convince me. It could be right, but it seems to simply be a guess. Do we know that for sure?
    I doubt anyone knows for sure, but I found this explanation:

    AUE: FAQ excerpt: Why is "I" capitalized?

    ...which partially agrees that it was done to avoid misreading manuscripts as "i" needed to be obvious as a separate entity. Interesting that the use of it in England differs by over 400 years depending on where you were in England.

  3. #3
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: capitalization of I

    Interesting, thank you!

  4. #4
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: capitalization of I

    I'll add one thing. The question wouldn't be so interesting to me hadn't we many one-letter words in Polish (among them "i" but also "u", "o", "a", "w", "z", and some could count the exclamation "e" ).
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 16-Jul-2010 at 19:29.

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