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Î, î (i-circumflex) is a letter in the Friulian, Kurdish, and Romanian alphabets. This letter also appears in French, Turkish, Italian, Welsh and Walloon languages as a variant of letter “i”.



In Afrikaans, î is a punctuated form of i: wîe, the plural of wig ('wedge').

Doulos SIL glyphs for Majuscule and minuscule î.


Î is a letter which appears in several French words, like naître (to be born), abîme (abyss), maître (master), (crème) fraîche and more. Unlike Â, Ê, and Ô, the circumflex does not alter the pronunciation of î or û.

The circumflex usually denotes the exclusion of a letter (usually an s) that was in a prior version of the word:

  • voster became vôtre.
  • abismus became abisme and then abîme.
  • magister became maistre and then maître.

The 1990 spelling reforms removed the accents if they are not required to distinguish between homonyms and so naitre, abime, maitre and fraiche no longer take the circumflex. Vôtre, however, (meaning 'your one' as a pronoun) uses the circumflex to distinguish it from votre (meaning 'your' as a possessive determiner).


Î is used for get a longer value of I, becoming /iː/. It can be found for example in all verbs of the fourth conjugation: pandî /paɳ'diː/, (to revel). Another use that Î (and also the other long vowels) have, is dued to latin derivation. Instead of preserve the last vowel, in friulian was used to give a longer value to the penultimate vowel, ending the word with a consonant: gliru(m) < glîr, (dormouse), where the ending u disappeared.


Italian (italiano [itaˈljaːno] (About this soundlisten) or lingua italiana [ˈliŋɡwa itaˈljaːna]) is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, and together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages.[6] Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland (where it is the first language in Canton Ticino and in the districts of Moesa and Bernina in Canton Graubünden), San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria (Croatia and Slovenia). It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece (Ionian Islands and Dodecanese), and is generally understood in Corsica (also due to the similarities with the Corsican language) and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia.[7] Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a regional or a traditional language in these countries, where Italians do not represent a historical minority.[8] In the case of Romania, Italian is listed by the Government along 10 other languages which supposedly receive a "general protection", but not between those which should be granted an "advanced or enhanced" one.[9] Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian (either in its standard form or regional dialects) and other regional languages.[10]

Italian is a major European language, being one of the official languages of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and one of the working languages of the Council of Europe. It is the fourth most widely spoken first language in the European Union with 69 million native speakers (13% of the EU population) and it is spoken as a second language by 16 million EU citizens (3%).[1] Including Italian speakers in non-EU European countries (such as Switzerland and Albania) and on other continents, the total number of speakers is around 90 million.[11] Italian is the main working language of the Holy See, serving as the lingua franca (common language) in the Roman Catholic hierarchy as well as the official language of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Italian is known as the language of music because of its use in musical terminology and opera. Its influence is also widespread in the arts and in the luxury goods market.

Italian was adopted by the state after the Unification of Italy, having previously been a literary language based on Tuscan as spoken mostly by the upper class of Florentine society.[12] Its development was also influenced by other Italian languages and to some minor extent, by the Germanic languages of the post-Roman invaders. The incorporation into Italian of learned words from its own ancestor language, Latin, is another form of lexical borrowing through the influence of written language, scientific terminology and the liturgical language of the Church. Throughout the Middle Ages and into the early modern period, most literate Italians were also literate in Latin; and thus they easily adopted Latin words into their writing—and eventually speech—in Italian. Its vowels are the second-closest to Latin after Sardinian.[13][14] As in most Romance languages, stress is distinctive but, unlike most other Romance languages, Italian retains Latin's contrast between short and long consonants.[15] Almost all words and syllables finish with pure vowels, a factor that makes Italian words extremely easy to use in rhyming. Italian has a 7 vowel sound system ('e' and 'o' have mid-low and mid-high sounds); Classical Latin had 10, 5 with short and 5 with long sounds.

During the Middle Ages, the established written language in Europe was Latin, though the great majority of people were illiterate, and only a handful were well versed in the language. In the Italian peninsula, as in most of Europe, most would instead speak a local vernacular. These dialects, as they are commonly referred to, evolved from Vulgar Latin over the course of centuries, unaffected by formal standards and teachings. They are not in any sense "dialects" of standard Italian, which itself started off as one of these local tongues, but sister languages of Italian. Mutual intelligibility with Italian varies widely, as it does with Romance languages in general. The Romance dialects of Italy can differ greatly from Italian at all levels (phonology, morphology, syntax, lexicon, pragmatics) and are classified typologically as distinct languages.[16][17]

The standard Italian language has a poetic and literary origin in the writings of Tuscan writers of the 12th century, and, even though the grammar and core lexicon are basically unchanged from those used in Florence in the 13th century,[18] the modern standard of the language was largely shaped by relatively recent events. However, Romance vernacular as language spoken in the Apennine peninsula has a longer history. In fact, the earliest surviving texts that can definitely be called vernacular (as distinct from its predecessor Vulgar Latin) are legal formulae known as the Placiti Cassinesi from the Province of Benevento that date from 960–963, although the Veronese Riddle, probably from the 8th or early 9th century, contains a late form of Vulgar Latin that can be seen as a very early sample of a vernacular dialect of Italy.[19]

The language that came to be thought of as Italian developed in central Tuscany and was first formalized in the early 14th century through the works of Tuscan writer Dante Alighieri, written in his native Florentine. Dante's epic poems, known collectively as the Commedia, to which another Tuscan poet Giovanni Boccaccio later affixed the title Divina, were read throughout the peninsula and his written dialect became the "canonical standard" that all educated Italians could understand. Dante is still credited with standardizing the Italian language. In addition to the widespread exposure gained through literature, the Florentine dialect also gained prestige due to the political and cultural significance of Florence at the time and the fact that it was linguistically an intermediate between the northern and the southern Italian dialects.[16]:22 Thus the dialect of Florence became the basis for what would become the official language of Italy.

Italian was progressively made an official language of most of the Italian states predating unification, slowly replacing Latin, even when ruled by foreign powers (like Spain in the Kingdom of Naples, or Austria in the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia), even though the masses kept speaking primarily their local vernaculars. Italian was also one of the many recognised languages in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Italy has always had a distinctive dialect for each city because the cities, until recently, were thought of as city-states. Those dialects now have considerable variety. As Tuscan-derived Italian came to be used throughout Italy, features of local speech were naturally adopted, producing various versions of regional Italian. The most characteristic differences, for instance, between Roman Italian and Milanese Italian are the gemination of initial consonants and the pronunciation of stressed "e", and of "s" in some cases: e.g. va bene "all right" is pronounced [vabˈbɛːne] by a Roman (and by any standard Italian speaker), [vaˈbeːne] by a Milanese (and by any speaker whose native dialect lies to the north of the La Spezia–Rimini Line); a casa "at home" is [akˈkaːsa] for Roman, [akˈkaːsa] or [akˈkaːza] for standard, [aˈkaːza] for Milanese and generally northern.

In contrast to the Gallo-Italic linguistic panorama of northern Italy, the Italo-Dalmatian Neapolitan and its related dialects were largely unaffected by the Franco-Occitan influences introduced to Italy mainly by bards from France during the Middle Ages, but after the Norman conquest of southern Italy, Sicily became the first Italian land to adopt Occitan lyric moods (and words) in poetry. Even in the case of Northern Italian languages, however, scholars are careful not to overstate the effects of outsiders on the natural indigenous developments of the languages.

The economic might and relatively advanced development of Tuscany at the time (Late Middle Ages) gave its language weight, though Venetian remained widespread in medieval Italian commercial life, and Ligurian (or Genoese) remained in use in maritime trade alongside the Mediterranean. The increasing political and cultural relevance of Florence during the periods of the rise of the Banco Medici, Humanism, and the Renaissance made its dialect, or rather a refined version of it, a standard in the arts.


Î is the 12th letter of the Kurdish Kurmanji alphabet and represents /iː/: Kurdî ([ˈkuɾdiː], 'Kurdish language').


Î is the 12th letter of the Romanian alphabet and denotes /ɨ/. This sound is also represented in Romanian as letter â. The difference is that â is used in the middle of a word, as in România, but î is used at the beginning or the end of a word: înțelegere (understanding), a urî (to hate). A compound word starting or ending with the letter î retains it, however, even if it is in the middle of the word: neînțelegere (misunderstanding).


In Turkish, î can indicate the /iː/ sound in Arabic loanwords where it is used as an adjectival suffix that makes an adjective from a noun: hayatî (vital), iktisadî (economical), siyasî (political) etc.


In Welsh, î is used to represent long stressed i [iː] when, without the circumflex, the vowel would be pronounced as short [ɪ] (dîm [diːm], the mutated form of "team"), as opposed to dim [dɪm] "no, nought, nothing".

Other usageEdit

In mathematicsEdit

  • The letter   is sometimes used to denote a unit vector in physics

Character mappingsEdit

Character Î î
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 206 U+00CE 238 U+00EE
UTF-8 195 142 C3 8E 195 174 C3 AE
Numeric character reference &#206; &#xCE; &#238; &#xEE;
Named character reference &Icirc; &icirc;
EBCDIC family 118 76 86 56
ISO 8859-1/2/3/4/9/10/14/15/16 206 CE 238 EE

See alsoEdit