General Question

PhiNotPi's avatar

Are there any other languages that capitalize their version of I?

Asked by PhiNotPi (12150 points ) November 25th, 2011

In English we capitalize our first person pronoun when it is used as the subject of the sentence. We capitalize the pronoun “I.” Are there any other languages that do this? If not, why does English do this but not capitalize “me,” the pronoun used as the object?

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13 Answers

KatawaGrey's avatar

In German, all nouns are capitalized. I can’t remember if pronouns are as well, but perhaps that is where the whole thing comes from.

bob_'s avatar

@KatawaGrey pronouns are not capitalized (except for the formal second person, Sie). “I” is “ich”.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@bob_ So, nouns are capitalized except for pronouns?

morphail's avatar

We capitalize simply for legibility. I stands out more than i.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/magazine/03wwln-guestsafire-t.html

bob_'s avatar

@Aethelflaed Well, pronouns aren’t nouns…

Aethelflaed's avatar

@bob_ Just checking to make sure I was understanding the rule (and pronouns are nouns, just a special subcategory…).

Brian1946's avatar

I know this isn’t much help, but according to the Google translator, neither French, Italian, nor Spanish capitalize the first person pronoun.

Hmmm, I don’t know one word of Haitian Creole, but according to this, HC capitalizes the FPP.

PhiNotPi's avatar

@Brian1946 I would not trust Google translate in the case of HC. When I type I, it returns Mwen, but when I type i, it returns mwen.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, in German the pronoun for the formal version of you (Sie, Ihre, Ihren, Ihrem etc.) is capitalized. In letters the informal you can be capitalized as well (Du, Dein, Dich etc.).

rebbel's avatar

In Dutch we used to capitalize the U (you), but we don’t (have to) anymore.
We can do it though, but it is viewed as to create distance between the person that is being addressed (that is why it is done by some in job application letters, etc.).

Brian1946's avatar

@PhiNotPi

The GT is consistent in capitalizing the FPP in Swedish.

cazzie's avatar

I never noticed that in Swedish before. I’ll have to ask my Swedish friends.

Like German, Norwegian has an old, formal way of addressing people in which pronouns are capitalised, but it is hardly ever done any more. When I write something, I never capitalise the ‘jeg’ or ‘du’ or ‘deg’.

Brian1946's avatar

According to this, in Russian it’s capitalized when you’re writing formally.

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