Posted by: Trudie Trewin | February 18, 2010

The dot has a name

i

Just when I thought I’d never come up with anything to blog about ever again….my husband came home yesterday with the news that the dot over the letter i has a name.  (I would rather he came home with a robot that irons and cleans windows, but he didn’t. Maybe next week.)

Anyway – he couldn’t remember what the actual name for the dot was so I googled it. And he was right, the dot over the letter i does indeed have a name, it’s called a tittle (kinda surprised he didn’t remember that word…)  But I have to ask – why does it need a name?  What’s wrong with the dot? Is this just a case of the letter i trying to rise above itself? Small letter syndrome maybe?  Nobody ever teaches  the tittle, and you can see why – imagine saying to a class of year five boys  ‘Make sure your i’s have a tittle on them‘.  Hmm.

As a writer I’m all in favour of a world full of many wonderful and unusual words, but this one is just plain silly.

Cross your t’s and tittle your i’s? Sorry letter i, it just won’t catch on. (Except maybe with the year five boys)

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Responses

  1. As a writer, I can’t help but enjoy the sound of a ‘tittle’ 🙂 It flickers over the tongue in such a wonderful way. But you’re right – it could never be introduced in schools without titters (sorry) up the back and scowls from the front…

    • I agree that it’s a great sounding word, Kath – just wasted on the dot, cos no-one ever hears it!

  2. There is an expression in my head about “…not one jot or tittle…” I have a feeling it might be from the Bible.

    What would we do without google? Ok, the derivation is Matthew 5:18 “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

    Aren’t words wonderful?

    • Okay… hardly anyone hears it!! You have a great memory for words, Susan!


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