Decimal I

Decimal I (Cyrillic)

I (І, і) (also called dotted I) is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, used in the orthographies of the Belarusian, Kazakh and Ukrainian languages. It represents the vowel sound /i/, and is the equivalent of the letter И as used in Russian and other languages. It is derived from the Greek letter iota (Ι, ι, representing [i]).

In the early Cyrillic alphabet there was little or no distinction between the letters и (izhe) and і (i), descended from the Greek letters η (eta) and ι (iota). They both remained in the alphabetical repertoire because they represented different numbers in the Cyrillic numeral system, eight and ten, and are therefore sometimes referred to as octal I and decimal I.

I (decimal I, dotted I) also used to be in the Bulgarian alphabet before 1878 and Russian alphabet before 1918, when a significant reform of the Russian orthography came into effect. For the rules governing the usage of it in the "old" Russian orthography, see Russian alphabet#Letters eliminated in 1918.

Rules For Usage (Pre-1918)

(a) write "i" before all vowels and before semivowel "й"

(b) write "и" before consonants and as the last letter of a word

(c) exception 1: write "и" before (semi)vowels in compound words (пятиакровый: пяти+акровый, five-acre)

(d) exception 2: write "и" in "миръ" for "peace, tranquility, concord, union", and "i" in "мiръ" for "world, universe, local community, commons, society, laity", with all derived words.

The distinction between миръ (peace) and мiръ (world) led to the legend that Tolstoy's War and Peace was originally titled "War and (the) World."

See also

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