English authors didn't constantly put a dot over the letter "i" and also "j." find out when and why they started.

You are watching: What is the dot over an i called

I’ve long been fascinated through the dot over the letter i, which choose the period over the letter j, is called a tittle. Walk you understand that we didn’t constantly have a dot over the letter i in English, or that Turkish has an i with a dot and an i there is no a dot, or the the period over the letter i wasn’t constantly a dot?

The period Wasn't always a Dot

The an initial mark end the i in English looks like an upside down u or crescent moon. It's native the Gutenberg holy bible published in 1455, and also in the publication where I uncovered most the this information—The background and technique of Lettering through Alexander Nesbitt—it's placed forward as the an initial example the a mark over the letter i.
The factor those clues started appearing in the first place is that through the Gothic creating of the time, plenty of of the letters had very similar angles and also line widths and also were written so the they touched every other, make it practically impossible come tell the difference in between the set of letter im and un as soon as they were next to each other (as you can see in the picture above).As writing layouts changed, the upside down u became much more like a swoosh or a big accent mark, and also eventually in 1514 we space presented through the an initial example of an actual period over the letter i. Once it was there, it stayed even though lettering formats changed, and also the dot was no longer essential to phone call the difference between combinations the letters.

Turkish has an "i" with a Dot and also an "i" without a Dot

The Turkish alphabet has two kinds of i—one with a dot and one without—which has caused problems when cabinet phone key-boards don’t properly distinguish between the two. People think they space typing one letter however they end up through the various other one, i m sorry can change the definition of your message. A recent article on Gizmodo said the story the a male who was murdered after that accidentally sent an humiliation to someone since his cell phone offered the wrong version of the letter i. Sticks and also stones may break your bones, but in this instance words in reality did bring about a killing. All since of that dot over the letter i.

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Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and also Dirty Tips and the author of seven publications on language, consisting of the brand-new York times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and also Dirty tips for better Writing." She is one inductee in the Podcasting hall of Fame, and the display is a five-time winner of best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest experienced on the Oprah Winfrey Show and also the this particular day Show. She popularLinkedIn learning courses help people write much better to communicate better.