English writers didn't always put a dot over the letters "i" and also "j." discover out when and also why they started.

You are watching: What is the dot above the letter i and j called?

I’ve lengthy been fascinated by the dot over the letter i, which favor the period over the letter j, is called a tittle. Did you recognize that us didn’t always have a period over the letter i in English, or that Turkish has actually an i v 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 constantly a Dot

The first mark end the i in English looks favor an upside under u or crescent moon. It's native the Gutenberg scriptures published in 1455, and in the publication where I discovered most the this information—The history and method of Lettering by Alexander Nesbitt—it's put forward together the first example the a mark over the letter i.
The factor those point out started appearing in the first place is that through the Gothic writing of the time, plenty of of the letters had very comparable angles and line widths and were created so that they touched each other, do it practically impossible come tell the difference between the sets of letter im and also un as soon as they were beside each other (as you deserve to see in the photo above).As writing styles changed, the upside down u became much more like a swoosh or a huge accent mark, and also eventually in 1514 we space presented through the first example of an actual dot over the letter i. When it to be there, it stayed also though lettering styles changed, and also the dot was no longer essential to call the difference in between combinations of letters.

Turkish has actually an "i" with a Dot and an "i" there is no a Dot

The Turkish alphabet has actually two type of i—one v a dot and one without—which has actually caused difficulties when cabinet phone keyboards don’t properly distinguish between the two. People think they are typing one letter however they end up v the other one, which can adjust the meaning of their message. A recent article on Gizmodo told the story that a male who to be murdered after he accidentally sent out an humiliation to someone because his cabinet phone provided the wrong variation of the letter i. Sticks and stones may break her bones, yet in this case words actually did lead to a killing. All because of that dot over the letter i.

See more: Famous Soccer Players With Number 11, The Best Athletes Who Wore #11


Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and also Dirty Tips and the writer of seven books on language, including the brand-new York time bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty advice for far better Writing." She is one inductee in the Podcasting room of Fame, and the present is a five-time winner of ideal Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has showed up as a guest professional on the Oprah Winfrey Show and also the this particular day Show. She popularLinkedIn learning courses aid people write better to communicate better.