RE: Dr.Chambers have Brains, Too
Mon, 01 Apr 1996 17:23:52 EST

Mercedes Lopez Invarato writes:

>PS: the "I" has been written as "i", because it is a question of
>principles, "i" places the subject in equal terms with other subjects,
>without enhancing it above, in an ego-narcissistic way, as it is done
>following an ortodoxian rules of English grammar. Language create mind
>structures, and in a world of too big "I"'s there is less importance
>given to "we".

I'm quite facinated by Mercedes' use of "i" rather than "I". I had
never reflected on the use of the capital I in language. At the very least,
seeing, and repeatedly seeing, the small "i" has the same effect of seeing
and repeatedly seeing the word "she" in place of the more traditional "he"
in written discourse. It marks the extent to which the language in which we
write (and think -- do we think in capital I's?) helps to structure the way
that we think about ourselves and our relations to others. I'd like to know
more about the history of the use of capital I's and other similar
conventions in language.

(Yes, yes -- some might characterize the use of "i" as "politically
correct." I, for one, am not terribly troubled by being called politically
correct. I believe that "political correctness" only means standing up for
what one believes. It's negative connotation comes from those who want to
associate left-of-center ideas with those who would impose those ideas onto
others. There is nothing wrong in holding left-of-center ideas and trying
to convince others of their value. The problem comes when one tries to
impose those ideas on others through force rather than through force of
rhetoric. So, if "i" is politically correct, so be it...)

Mike Mascolo
Department of Psychology
Merrimack College