Monday, April 11, 2011

Is I better than you and should i freak you out?

Before I begin my next post for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I would like to say two things. First, I am extending the deadline for my blog contest (originally this evening) to midnight tomorrow evening (Tuesday, April 12) at midnight EST. All you need to do is write a short definition of the word education. For complete details and to enter (or to read a bit of the competition) please click here.

Secondly, the third round of Germany's reading contest took place today. My daughter represented our county (Rems-Murr-Kreis) and competed against 13 other sixth-graders. Many of you emailed or wrote comments on my blog wishing her luck. I would like to extend my thanks to all of you. She gave a great performance and receive a book prize and a certificate. Unfortunately, she did not win the number one spot. She was terribly disappointed since she dreamed of winning this ever since the third grade. Since it only takes place in the sixth grade, the dream has come to an end. Nonetheless, I am extremely proud of her. KATARINA, YOU ROCK AND I LOVE YOU!

Now, on to the letter I.

When pondering which “I” word to discuss, it didn't take long. Immediately I thought of the word I. Yes, it is both a letter and a word. You might argue that B (bee), C (see) and even G (gee whiz) are words. What about the names J (Jay) and K (Kay)? Oooh, what about O? Uh, let's not even talk about P. Are ( R) you (U) going to give me a line about T (tea) being a word? Now why (Y) would you want to do that? Really, folks...I is the only letter than can stand alone as a word.

Have you ever stopped to consider how often we use the word I in our lifetimes? As children we proudly announce “I can count to 100!” or “I can tie my shoes all by myself”. At Christmas we recite our wishes as we sit on Santa's lap. “I would like a doll that talks” or “I want a brand new fishing rod and roller blades and the newest electronic game”.

When we are teenagers we can brag “I got an A+ on the Geometry test. And you?” Don't ask. The girls hang around in their cliques babbling “Oh, my gosh. I can't believe (insert name of school quarterback or other popular boy) wants to go out with ME”. In response one jealous girl will snapped, “I can't believe it either, you bitch.”

On a job interview--“I feel that I am qualified for this job because...”. As parents—I don't care what so-and-so is allowed to do. I am your mother and I said NO”. Yep....always I, I, I. Even when we aren't even focusing on ourselves we use it. For instance, when we thinking about food. “I love sushi”. “I would like the lobster bisque as an appetizer.” “Sweetbreads? I have never tried those before.” Probably none of us could get through the day without using I at least once.

That brings me to a memory from a few years ago. I had just begun teaching English as a foreign language and one of my students made a joke about English-speaking people feeling self-important. When I asked her to explain she pointed out the difference in the usage of “I” between German and English. In German if I wanted to say, “Should I begin now?” it would be “Soll ich jetzt beginnen?” As you might notice, the word ich (German for I) is not capitalized. Hmmmm. We don't use upper case letters for you or he or she or it nor we or they or us. Yet, I is always written with a capital letter. I had never thought about it before. In fact, the only other reference to someone other than a proper name (like Linda or Stefan) that I have seen capitalized in German is der Herr (the Lord). Jeepers. When one looks at it that way, we English-speaking people really are full of ourselves. Who is to say that I am more important that you or anyone else for that matter. And I certainly wouldn't compare myself to God. Yet, the word I is somehow deserving of being eternally capitalized.

I wonder how other languages treat the word I. Is it capitalized in Spanish or Italian or French? If I remember correctly from what little of those languages I once learned, it isn't. Do you speak a language other than English? If so, please let me know how the word I is written. I am curious. I want to know. I...I...I....or should I say ay-yay-yay? Perhaps tomorrow I will only use lower case i in my post. Now that would freak everyone out. Oh, and i do so love to freak people out.Yes, i do.


E.J. Wesley said...

Your post title made me laugh, so I knew it would be a good one! :-)

I've started writing in first person for my latest couple of projects, so I have a love/hate thing going on with 'I' at the moment.

Great post!


Catherine Denton said...

Wow, "I" really is a stand-alone; kind of like Cher or Madonna.

Yeah, you freaked me out. ;)
My Blog

Linda H. said...

EJ, thanks so much. I was afraid people wouldn't get the title, that they'd think I was too dumb to write a proper sentence. LOL. I am glad the title caught your attention instead of driving you away.

Catherine, sorry for freakin' you out :-) Perhaps that goes along with the Cher and Madonna thing They are sort of freaky. LOL

LKHarris-Kolp said...

You know Linda, I think you are on to something here. I always thought "I" was capitalized so that we would know it was the word and not the letter "i"... but now i am confuesd.

= ) laurie

Linda H. said...

Thanks, LK. Never fear...I am here to confuse you at anytime. Just pop in and read. :-)

Karen Walker said...

Sorry I can't help you out with other languages. Yo is "I" in Spanish, but I don't when when it is capitalized and when it isn't. Thanks for the follow and I'm so happy to meet you on this a-z challenge.

Linda H. said...

Nice to meet you, too, Karen.

SweetMarie83 said...

This is a terrific post! Congrats to Katarina, first of all, I'm glad she did well even if she didn't get top spot like she'd hoped. We really do use I a lot, don't we? And I had never thought of it in other languages, but you're absolutely right - the only other language I speak is French and I isn't capitalized. Very interesting!

Angela Scott said...

Funny, I've never thought of the letter "I" in that regards before--self-inflating. It's just the way we taught growing up, capitalize the I. Never questioned it. I also never realized that other languages didn't. Very interesting. I am also like E.J. above, when you write in first person the word "I" becomes something to try and avoid. Hard to do.

Consider yourself stalked. You are officially placed in the BEST DARN BLOGS EVER file and I will be back to visit soon.


Linda H. said...

Thanks, Marie. I am sure am proud of her. And thanks for letting me know that i is not capitalized in French.

Angela...don't make me blush :-)