Dotted and dotless I

"Dotted I" redirects here. For the Cyrillic letter, see Dotted I (Cyrillic).
"I-dot" redirects here. For IDOT, see Illinois Department of Transportation.
Dotless and dotted I's in capital and lower case.

The Turkish alphabet, which is a variant of the Latin alphabet, includes two distinct versions of the letter I, one dotted and the other dotless.

The dotless I, I ı, denotes the close back unrounded vowel sound (/ɯ/). Neither the upper nor the lower case version has a dot.

The dotted İ, İ i, denotes the close front unrounded vowel sound (/i/). Both the upper and lower case versions have a dot.


In contrast, the letter j does not have this distinction, with a dot only on the lower case character: J j.

In scholarly writing on Turkic languages, ï is sometimes used for /ɯ/.[1]

Consequence for ligatures

In some fonts, if the lowercase letters fi are placed adjacently, the dot-like upper end of the f would fall inconveniently close to the dot of the i, and therefore a ligature glyph is provided with the top of the f extended to serve as the dot of the i. A similar ligature for ffi is also possible. Since the unligatured forms are unattractive and the ligatures make the i dotless, such fonts are not appropriate for use in a Turkish setting. However, the fi ligatures of some fonts do not merge the letters and instead space them next to each other, with the dot on the i remaining. Such fonts are appropriate for Turkish, but the writer must be careful to be consistent in the use of ligatures.

In computing

Character I i İ ı
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 73 U+0049 105 U+0069 304 U+0130 305 U+0131
UTF-8 73 49 105 69 196 176 C4 B0 196 177 C4 B1
Numeric character reference I I i i İ İ ı ı
ISO 8859-9 73 49 105 69 221 DD 253 FD
ISO 8859-3 73 49 105 69 169 A9 185 B9

In normal typography, when lower case i is combined with other diacritics, the dot is generally removed before the diacritic is added; however, Unicode still lists the equivalent combining sequences as including the dotted i, since logically it is the normal dotted i character that is being modified.

Most Unicode software uppercases ı to I and lowercases İ to i, but, unless specifically set up for Turkish, it lowercases I to i and uppercases i to I. Thus uppercasing then lowercasing, or vice versa, changes the letters.

In the Microsoft Windows SDK, beginning with Windows Vista, several relevant functions have a NORM_LINGUISTIC_CASING flag, to indicate that for Turkish and Azerbaijani locales, I should map to ı and i to İ.

In the LaTeX typesetting language the dotless ı can be written with the backslash-i command: \i. The İ can be written using the normal accenting method (i.e. \.{I}).

Dotless ı (and dotted capital İ) is handled problematically in the Turkish locales of several software packages, including Oracle DBMS, PHP, Java (software platform),[2][3] and Unixware 7, where implicit capitalization of names of keywords, variables, and tables has effects not foreseen by the application developers. The C or US English locales do not have these problems. The .NET Framework has special provisions to handle the 'Turkish i'.[4]

Many cellphones available in Turkey (as of 2008) lack a proper localization, which leads to replacing ı by i in SMS, sometimes severely distorting the sense of a text. In one instance, a miscommunication played a role in the deaths of Emine and Ramazan Çalçoban in 2008.[5][6] A common substitution is to use the character 1 for dotless ı.

Implications for casing

The casing of the dotless and dotted ı forms differ from other languages. That implies that a case insensitive matching expected by an English person doesn't match the expectations of a Turkish user. The "Turkish I" is often used as an example of the problems with case insensitivity in computing.

Usage in other languages

Dotted and dotless i are used in several other writing systems for Turkic languages:

The dotless ı may also be used as a stylistic variant of the dotted i, without there being any meaningful difference between them. This is common in Irish, for example. See Tittle.

Both the dotted and dotless I can be used in transcriptions of Rusyn to allow distinguishing between the letters ы and и, which would otherwise be both transcripted as "y", despite representing different phonemes. Under such transcription the Dotted İ would represent the cyrillic і, and the dotless I would represent either ы or и, with the other being represented by "y".

See also



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