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The origin of the dot over the i (and j, which is the same thing) comes, I
believe, from a time in which a lot of writing was done in the Old English
hand, in which letters like m, u, n, c, r etc were written using repeated
thick vertical pen strokes, so that a word like 'minimum' would be simply
fifteen vertical strokes (3 strokes for m, two for u and n) with
diamond-shaped block serifs at the foot. This was amazingly hard to decipher
(bear in mind that this black-letter script was closely-spaced as well) and
so a dot was added to i in order to break up the repeated line pattern.
Mike
----- Original Message -----
From: "Andreas Johansson" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2003 6:41 PM
Subject: Re: Umlauts (was Re: Elves and Ill Bethisad)


> Quoting Steg Belsky <[log in to unmask]>:
>
> > Actually, i now feel that the dots on lowercase I's and J's are
> > extraneous ornaments.  I learned this attitude from a Spanish teacher
> > of mine, in fact, and got used to it when using pens that didn't make
> > dots very well.  Now i only dot my |i|s and |j|s when my handwriting is
> > so bad that they can be confused with other letters - usually |e| for
> > |i| and |g| for |j|.
>
> I feel that the dot over |i| is extremely important. This mainly because
in my
> handwriting it's frequently the only thing which distinguishes an |i| from
a
> line connecting two letters ...
>
> The dot over |j| is less crucial, but helps in rapid handwriting, where
|g|
> often looks like a dotless |j|.
>
>                                                    Andreas


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