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Le pronom personnel "I" - Forum anglais - Forum Babel
Le pronom personnel "I"

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Inscrit le: 27 Oct 2007
Messages: 26
Lieu: Ozoir-la-Ferrière

Messageécrit le Saturday 03 Nov 07, 19:45 Répondre en citant ce message   

Pourquoi le pronom sujet de la première personne "I" a-t-il obligatoirement une majuscule ?
Cette règle a d'ailleurs tendance à être de moins en moins respectée sur les forums anglais eux-mêmes.
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Inscrit le: 18 Mar 2007
Messages: 34
Lieu: Haute-Normandie

Messageécrit le Saturday 03 Nov 07, 21:08 Répondre en citant ce message   

J'avais posé la même question à ma prof il y a quelques années et voilà ce qu'elle m'avait répondu :

This may help you imagine what may have happened, although it's a little long...:

Some answers to questions

Several readers had theories about why the pronoun I is written with a capital letter. Some people think the reasons are chiefly orthographic. First, an answer from Poland:

"I think the answer may lie in the history of book copying before the 13th century. In the font of the time, some letters (especially i, f, n, and m) looked similar in clusters, and words that had them were often misread and then misspelled, which is what happened to "woman" - originally "wifman." As a preventative measure, publishers tweaked the spellings of some of such high-risk words. I think this may have had something to do with the spelling of "I"."

A reader in Spain agrees:

"In the time when "I" lost the rest of its letters, Middle English, there were lots of problems with written script and comprehension. A small "i" could be more easily lost in script. That's why I think that it kept its capital letter."

A couple of people thought it might have something to do with the fact that we attribute greater importance to ourselves than to anyone else:

"no, I have no answer, but i think it may have something to do with importance. the only other capitalized one is he, for god. (also him, his) god created man in his image or else man created god in his image."

"The personal pronoun "I" is used to refer to the 1st person singular. That is to say, it is the word every speaker uses to speak about herself (my apologies for not using himself or themselves). So, why shouldn't she use capital letters to refer to her own person since it is true that everyone is the most important person in her own life?"


Further to your enquiry about the capitalized "I", I found this very interesting discussion on a linguists' discussion list:

As a primary discussion of the issues:

And then, in more detail:

but it's all still looking pretty up-in-the-air!

I wonder whether the influence of email and texting will eventually lead to I losing its capital status, as in the work of the American poet e.e. cummings:

'next to of course god america i love you land of the pilgrims' and so forth' .
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