Weeks before, I read few pieces where some writers used “i” instead of “I”. I was highly intrigued with this usage of personal pronoun. I even had a discussion with my tech writer friend that whether it is the correct use or not. We had indeed no answers, so, we came to a conclusion that this might be rather a modified kind of literary usage and there might be no grammatical suggestions over exactly which one of them to use.
An article on NY Times clears this dilemma. No other language or dialect capitalizes personal pronouns and, even, English language used dotted ‘i’ (though, the word was ‘ic’ insted of ‘i’) till the 13th century. According to “The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology “:
Modern and Middle English I developed from earlier i in the stressed position. I came to be written with a capital letter thereby making it a distinct word and avoiding misreading handwritten manuscripts. In the northern and midland dialects of England the capitalized form I appeared about 1250. In the south of England, where Old English ic early shifted in pronunciation to ich (by palatalization), the form I did not become established until the 1700’s although it appears sporadically before that time).”
How does that make any difference? Caroline Winter says:
It’s impossible to know, but perhaps our individualistic, workaholic society would be more rooted in community and quality and less focused on money and success if we each thought of ourselves as a small “i” with a sweet little dot. There have, of course, been plenty of rich and dominant cultures throughout history that have gotten by just fine without capitalizing the first-person pronoun or ever writing it down at all. There have also been cultures that committed atrocities even while capitalizing “you.”
Read entire piece here.
Image Source: NYTimes