Dotless I


I, or ı, called dotless I, is a letter used in the Latin-script alphabets of Azerbaijani, Crimean Tatar, Gagauz, Kazakh, Tatar, and Turkish. It commonly represents the close back unrounded vowel /ɯ/, except in Kazakh where it represents the near-close front unrounded vowel /ɪ/. All of the languages it is used in also use its dotted counterpart İ while not using the basic Latin letter I.

I ı
Latin letter Iı.svg
Writing systemLatin script
Language of originTurkish language
Phonetic usage[ɯ]
Unicode codepointU+0049, U+0131
Time period1928 to present
Sistersİ i
This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

In scholarly writing on Turkic languages, ï is sometimes used for /ɯ/.[1]

Implications for ligature useEdit


In some fonts, if the lowercase letters fi are placed adjacently, the dot-like upper end of the f would fall inconveniently close to the dot of the i, and therefore a ligature glyph is provided with the top of the f extended to serve as the dot of the i. A similar ligature for ffi is also possible. Since the forms without ligatures are sometimes considered unattractive and the ligatures make the i dotless, such fonts are not appropriate for use in a Turkish setting. However, the fi ligatures of some fonts do not merge the letters and instead space them next to each other, with the dot on the i remaining. Such fonts are appropriate for Turkish, but the writer must be careful to be consistent in the use of ligatures.

In computingEdit

Character information
Preview I ı
Encodings decimal hex dec hex
Unicode 73 U+0049 305 U+0131
UTF-8 73 49 196 177 C4 B1
Numeric character reference I I ı ı
Named character reference ı, ı
ISO 8859-9 73 49 253 FD
ISO 8859-3 73 49 185 B9

Unicode does not encode the uppercase form of dotless I separately, and instead merges it with the uppercase form of the Latin letter I. John Cowan proposed disunification of plain Ii as capital letter dotless I and small letter I with dot above to make the casing more consistent.[2] The Unicode Technical Committee had previously rejected a similar proposal[3] because it would corrupt mapping from character sets with dotted and dotless I and corrupt data in these languages.[citation needed]

Most Unicode software uppercases ı to I, but, unless specifically configured for Turkish, it lowercases I to i. Thus uppercasing then lowercasing changes the letters.

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.

In the LaTeX typesetting language the dotless ı can be written with the backslash-i command: \i.

Dotless ı is problematic in the Turkish locales of several software packages, including Oracle DBMS, PHP, Java (software platform),[4][5] and Unixware 7, where implicit capitalization of names of keywords, variables, and tables has effects not foreseen by the application developers. The C or US English locales do not have these problems. The .NET Framework has special provisions to handle the 'Turkish i'.[6]

Many cellphones available in Turkey (as of 2008) lacked a proper localization, which led to replacing ı by i in SMS, sometimes severely distorting the sense of a text. In one instance, a miscommunication played a role in the deaths of Emine and Ramazan Çalçoban in 2008.[7][8] A common substitution is to use the character 1 for dotless ı. This is also common in Azerbaijan (see also translit), but the meaning of words is generally understood.

Usage in other languagesEdit

A bilingual Chipewyan (Dënësųłınë́) sign at La Loche Airport in Saskatchewan, Canada, with dotless i.

The dotless ı may also be used as a stylistic variant of the dotted i, without there being any meaningful difference between them. This is common in Irish, for example, but is considered simply an omission of the tittle rather than a separate letter. In some of the Athabaskan languages of the Northwest Territories in Canada, specifically Slavey, Dogrib and Chipewyan, all instances of i are undotted to avoid confusion with tone-marked vowels í or ì.

Lowercase dotless ⟨ı⟩ is used as the lowercase form of the letter Í in the official Karakalpak alphabet approved in 2016.

Both the dotted and dotless I can be used in transcriptions of Rusyn to allow distinguishing between the letters Ы and И, which would otherwise be both transcribed as "y", despite representing different phonemes. Under such transcription the dotted İ would represent the Cyrillic І, and the dotless I would represent either Ы or И, with the other being represented by "Y".

See alsoEdit

  • İ, the letter's dotted counterpart
  • African reference alphabet, where a similar situation occurs, albeit with the serifs rather than the tittles
  • Tittle: the dot above "i" and "j" in most of the Latin scripts
  • Yery (ы) — a letter used to represent [ɯ] in Turkic languages with Cyrillic script, and the similar [ɨ] in Russian
  • I with bowl


  1. ^ Erdal, Marcel (2004). A Grammar of Old Turkic. Boston: Brill. p. 52. ISBN 9004102949.
  2. ^ Cowan, John (September 10, 1997). "Resolving dotted and dotless "i"". (Mailing list).
  3. ^ Davis, Mark (September 11, 1997). "Re: Resolving dotted and dotless "i"". (Mailing list).
  4. ^ Winchester, Joe (September 7, 2004). "Turkish Java Needs Special Brewing". JDJ. Archived from the original on 2017-07-26. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
  5. ^ Schindler, Uwe (2012-07-11). "The Policeman's Horror: Default Locales, Default Charsets, and Default Timezones". The Generics Policeman Blog.
  6. ^ "Writing Culture-Safe Managed Code: The Turkish Example". 2006-09-13.
  7. ^ Diaz, Jesus (2008-04-21). "A Cellphone's Missing Dot Kills Two People, Puts Three More in Jail". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2015-08-28. The use of "i" resulted in an SMS with a completely twisted meaning: instead of writing the word "sıkışınca" it looked like he wrote "sikişince". Ramazan wanted to write "You change the topic every time you run out of arguments" (sounds familiar enough) but what Emine read was, "You change the topic every time they are fucking you" (sounds familiar too.)
  8. ^ Orion, Egan (2008-04-26). "Cellphone Localisation Glitch Turned Deadly in Turkey – Dotted i Leads to Tragedy". The Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2020-01-02. Retrieved 2015-08-28.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)

External linksEdit

  • Unicode chart
  • Tex Texin, Internationalization for Turkish: Dotted and Dotless Letter "I", accessed 15 Nov 2005