It is strange that we always capitalize the "I" pronoun.

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Jetso
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04 Feb 2024, 8:08 pm

We always capitalize "I" no matter where it is in a sentence. This is strange. We don't always capitalize "you" or any other pronouns.



DanielW
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04 Feb 2024, 9:02 pm

There are 2 reasons, one is that a Capitalized I usually starts a sentence, and the second is that a single lower-case "i" is meaningless.



Last edited by DanielW on 04 Feb 2024, 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

naturalplastic
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04 Feb 2024, 9:05 pm

Damned if i know.



funeralxempire
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04 Feb 2024, 9:08 pm

We didn't capitalize it when it was spelled ik, but it's been capitalized since 13th century to mark it as a distinct word and prevent misreading.


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naturalplastic
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04 Feb 2024, 9:09 pm

Its probably just for emphasis. A single letter 'i' is such slender small thing in a text that it needs that muscle of capitalization.

But...

when we in the English speaking world say "it's raining outside"...what exactly IS "it"? The "it" thats raining?



Riddle me that! :D



naturalplastic
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04 Feb 2024, 9:46 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
We didn't capitalize it when it was spelled ik, but it's been capitalized since 13th century to mark it as a distinct word and prevent misreading.

Yes. Middle English was more like its cousin German back then. Ik is more like the modern German word for I: 'ich'



ToughDiamond
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04 Feb 2024, 9:58 pm

Apparently it's a mystery - even Wikipedia doesn't know. I gather English is the only language that always capitalises "I." I've also noticed in some Victorian novels that "Me" was sometimes capitalised as well, particularly when it may have needed a bit of emphasis. The lyrics printed on the inner sleeve of the vinyl version of the album "Imagine" used a lower-case "i" throughout, and some fans said meant that Lennon wasn't an egotist. The only other capitalized pronoun I know of (apart from when beginning a sentence) is "He" when referring to God or Jesus, which I suppose is a mark of reverence popular among many theists. But it would seem odd that English would use "I" as a mark of reverence to self. Maybe it was just a convenience thing from the days before typewriters, printing and computers, when it may have been easier than putting in the dot to denote the lower case.

naturalplastic wrote:
when we in the English speaking world say "it's raining outside"...what exactly IS "it"? The "it" thats raining?

Riddle me that! :D

It does seem odd. Also common is "it seems to me," "it doesn't matter if I forget," "it would be silly of me to do that" etc. They use "impersonal verbs" and in English they're preceded by the dummy pronoun "it" which refers to nothing at all. Language can be irregular like that. I suppose it's easier than saying "Rain is happening," but not a lot easier. French uses impersonal verbs too, as in "Il me semble." So does German and several other languages, though some languages don't use a dummy pronoun, thus avoiding the problem you mention. I don't know why the impersonal verb came into use. It would have been easier for schoolkids to learn languages if it hadn't, and I'm not convinced that impersonal verbs do any good.



IsabellaLinton
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04 Feb 2024, 10:00 pm

"It's raining" means the sky is raining, just like "it's sunny" means the sky is sunny.


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funeralxempire
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04 Feb 2024, 10:24 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
We didn't capitalize it when it was spelled ik, but it's been capitalized since 13th century to mark it as a distinct word and prevent misreading.

Yes. Middle English was more like its cousin German back then. Ik is more like the modern German word for I: 'ich'


To nitpick, it isn't just more similar to German, but instead to the Germanic languages as a whole. Ik is the first person pronoun in Dutch and Frisian; in Old Norse it was ek, in Icelandic it's ég, in Danish and Norwegian it's jeg and in Swedish it's jag.

Scots still retains ik as well, but mostly to be emphatic, I would be more common. A/eh is also occasionally used.

Quote:
Eh hud meh eh on a peh. ― I had my eye on a pie


English and the Scandinavian languages seem to be the most derived, the rest all cluster quite closely. I wonder if the shift to a long vowel in English occurred before or after the consonant was lost.


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naturalplastic
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05 Feb 2024, 2:58 am

IsabellaLinton wrote:
"It's raining" means the sky is raining, just like "it's sunny" means the sky is sunny.


I disagree.

I think its because English is a SVO (subject-verb-object) language. Mama baked the cake. Combined with the fact that we cant do what Romance languages do of ...dispensing with the subject by leaving it be implied.

We can have a sentence without an object (its raining), but not a sentence without a subject.

So we have to set up a "dummy subject" in order to utter the sentence. We have to say "it" to kick start the sentence.

In Spanish (also SVO) you say "esta lloviendo" (yovee-endo). Basically "is raining", or "status raining". Without any "it".



traven
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05 Feb 2024, 3:21 am

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he rains ? (no it-form in eg, french, it's male or female, even rain)

maybe related to dutch u, capital U(You), eg, Your Highness,
Voorheen werd u – net als het overeenkomende Sie in het Duits – altijd met een hoofdletter geschreven. >Previously, U/You were always capitalized, just like the corresponding Sie in German.



naturalplastic
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05 Feb 2024, 3:28 am

In French they say "he rains"?

:lol:

Actually I suppose that many non English European languages say either "he", or "she", rains. :lol:

As Mark Twain quipped "In German a young woman has no sex. But a turnip does."



ToughDiamond
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05 Feb 2024, 2:15 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
In French they say "he rains"?

:lol:

Actually I suppose that many non English European languages say either "he", or "she", rains. :lol:

As Mark Twain quipped "In German a young woman has no sex. But a turnip does."

Yes. There's no neuter pronoun in French, which surprised me when I first found out. I have a daft theory that it's a relic of a time when primitive humans may have thought everything was alive. You can't credibly worship the Sun if you consider it to be neuter, it seems. Deities always seem to have gender, whatever the language that talks about them. Strange.