Thursday, September 29, 2016

Why is First Person Singular I always written with a Capital Letter in English ?

We may wonder   why first person singular is always written with a capital letter in English unlike  other important languages like French or German Some people believed that it showed the Englishman's  love of self-assertion and self glorification !   But  the  great savant Otto Jespersen strongly  disagrees with this view and he considers it as little short of calumny!  .  According to him this practice of using capital letter is simply an orthographic habit .

In Anglo-Saxon ic was the spelling of first person singular . During the 13 th century  c got dropped off and i was left alone. The scribes who copied manuscripts  used capital letter lest the small letter i should be easily missed by reader of the manuscripts . Thus the convention of using capital letter for I began in the 13th century which has continued to our day !

William Caxton introduced   printing in England in the 15th century and his use of capital letter for first person singular in his books  must have made the practice universal .

Thanking  you ,



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