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Turkish dotted and dotless I: Wikis

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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.

I ı is the letter which describes the close back unrounded vowel sound (/ɯ/). Neither the upper nor the lower case version has a dot.

İ i describes the variant close front unrounded vowel sound (/i/). Both the upper and lower case versions have a dot.

Examples:

  • İstanbul /isˈtambul/ (starts with an i sound, not an ı).
  • Diyarbakır /dijaɾˈbakɯɾ/ (the first and last vowels are spelled and pronounced differently)

In contrast, the Turkish alphabet uses the letter "j" (pronounced /ʒ/) the same way as in other Latin scripts, with the tittle only on the lower case character: J j.

Contents

Consequence for ligatures

Ligature fi.svg

In their realizations in several fonts, the common ligatures for "fi" and "ffi" make the dot of the letter "i" disappear by merging it with the dot-like end of the curve of the minuscule "f". These ligatures should be avoided when typesetting text in Turkish.

In computing

In Unicode U+0131 is a lower case letter dotless i (ı). U+0130 (İ) is capital i with dot. ISO-8859-9 has them at positions 0xDD and 0xFD respectively. 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.

Software handling Unicode uppercasing and lowercasing will generally change ı to I and İ to i but unless it is specifically set up for Turkish it will change I to i and i to I rather than I to ı and i to İ. This means that the effect of uppercasing followed by lowercasing can be different from the effect of just lowercasing for texts that contain these characters.

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

Dotless i (and dotted capital I) is also famous for its problematic handling under Turkish locales in several software packages, including Oracle DBMS, Java[1], and Unixware 7, where implicit capitalization of names of keywords, variables, and tables has effects not foreseen by the application developers. When applications written for such software act strangely, it is better to switch locale to C or US English via system-wide or application-specific settings. Bugs should be logged in such situations, and if necessary patches submitted by developers to the software involved.

Usage in other languages

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

  • Azerbaijani: The Azerbaijani Latin alphabet in the Republic of Azerbaijan is modeled after Turkish since 1991.
  • Kazakh: The Kazakh alphabet as used in Kazakhstan is Cyrillic; however, several Romanization schemes exist. Dotted and dotless I, in addition to I with diaraesis (Ï) are employed in the Latin script versions of the Kazakh Wikipedia and of several governmental websites, among them the main website of the government of Kazakhstan and the national information agency KazInform-QazAqparat.
  • Tatar: The Tatar alphabet in Russia is officially Cyrillic due to the requirements of Russian federal law. Several Romanization schemes exist, which are often used on the Internet and some printed publication. Most of them are modeled in different ways on Turkish and employ dotted and dotless I, while some also use I with acute (Í), although for different phonemes.
  • Crimean Tatar: The Latin alphabet is officially used for the Crimean Tatar language and does use both dotted and dotless I letters. Cyrillic script is still used in daily life in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, but is not the official script for the language.
  • In Irish, see Tittle#Dotless and dotted i.

See also

  • Tittle: the dot above "i" and "j" in most of the Latin scripts

References

The Basic modern Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
Letter I with diacritics
Letters using dot-above sign
Letters using dot-below sign

history palaeography derivations diacritics punctuation numerals Unicode list of letters ISO/IEC 646

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