Posted by: Estrella Ruiz, Project Manager
The “I” is the skinniest and simplest letter in the English alphabet. It is one of the five main vowel letters, and also the fifth most common letter in the English language.
“I” can represent two main different sounds, either a “long” diphthong /aɪ/ as in mine or kite, or the “short”, /ɪ/ as in bill or tin. The short I is used in most European languages, whereas the long I pronounced as “ee” is more typical of English.
Where does the I come from? In 1000 B.C Phoenicians called the letter “yod”, which was later copied and incorporated to the Hebrew alphabet. Greeks made the yod their I vowel, changed its name to iota, and also gave the letter a second meaning, small in size or the last element in a bigger group. This is where the phrase “not one iota” comes from, and the word “jot”, which was the translation of “iota” in the Bible of 1611. The letter was then copied by Etruscans (700 B.C.), by Romans (600 B.C.), and finally pased into the alphabets of modern European languages, like Spanish, French and finally English.
The lowercase i had originally no dot. Since it was too hard to distinguish on a page of handwriting, it was topped with a slanted mark, becoming í. With the spread of printing, the stroke was reduced to a simple dot, giving birth to the present “i” ...Continue Reading →