Definitions

tl/i

I

[ahy]

I is the ninth letter of the Latin alphabet. Its English name is i ().

History

Egyptian hieroglyph ˁ Proto-Semitic Y Phoenician Y Etruscan I Greek Iota Old Turkic ı/i
D36

In Semitic, the letter Yôdh was probably originally a pictogram for an arm with hand, derived from a similar hieroglyph that had the value of a voiced pharyngeal fricative (/ʕ/) in Egyptian, but was reassigned to /j/ (as in English "yes") by Semites, because their word for "arm" began with that sound. This letter could also be used for the vowel sound /i/, mainly in foreign words.

The Greeks adopted a form of this Phoenician yodh as their letter iota (Ι, ι). It stood for the vowel /i/, the same as in the Old Italic alphabet. In Latin (as in Modern Greek), it was also used for the consonant sound of /j/. The modern letter J was originally a variation of this letter, and both were interchangeably used for both the vowel and the consonant, only coming to be differentiated in the 16th century.

In modern English, I represents different sounds, mainly a "long" diphthong /aɪ/, that developed from Middle English /iː/ after the Great Vowel Shift of the 15th century, as well as the "short", open /ɪ/ as in "bill". The dot over the lowercase 'i' is sometimes called a tittle. In the Turkish alphabet, dotted and dotless I are considered separate letters and both have uppercase (I, İ) and lowercase (ı, i) forms.

Use in Germany

Some German typefaces of the fraktur or schwabacher types, which have been obsolete since the end of the Second World War, do not necessarily distinguish between the capital I and J. The same character, a 'J' with a top serif of the tilde form, was sometimes used for both. The minuscule i and j, however, were distinguished.

In Germany, Roman numerals are often used for numbering. When listing things by capital letters of the alphabet, they avoid using the letter I, skipping over to J, to avoid confusion with the alternative Roman numeral numbering system. For example, in every regiment in the German Army there is what would be expressed in English as a "J company" but no "I company."

Codes for computing

In Unicode the capital I is codepoint U+0049 and the lower case i is U+0069.

The ASCII code for capital I is 73 and for lowercase i is 105; or in binary 01001001 and 01101001, respectively.

The EBCDIC code for capital I is 201 and for lowercase i is 137.

The numeric character references in HTML and XML are "I" and "i" for upper and lower case, respectively.

See also

af:I als:I ar:I an:I arc:I ast:I az:I bs:I ca:I cs:I co:I cy:I da:I de:I el:I es:I eo:I eu:I fa:I fur:I gan:I gd:I gl:I ko:I hr:I ilo:I is:I it:I he:I ka:I kw:I sw:I ht:I la:I lv:I lt:I hu:I mzn:I ms:I nah:I ja:I no:I nn:I nrm:I pl:I pt:I ro:I qu:I se:I scn:I simple:I sk:I sl:I fi:I sv:I tl:I th:I vi:I vo:I yo:I zh-yue:I bat-smg:I zh:I

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