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I was watching a foreign film and I saw a "i" with a dot on the top as usual and a dot on the bottom. What is it called and is there a way I can find it and type it?

More details:
It was a Vietnamese film published by a French company. I think it was Vietnamese text.

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1  
It's called a Latin Small Letter I with dot below and is Unicode U+1ECB: ị. How you type it is system-dependent. Because this is not about English, it's rather off-topic, I think. –  Andrew Leach Feb 4 '13 at 16:23
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@AndrewLeach I was about to agree with you and vote to close, but then I realized this is a question asking for an English word for a foreign glyph. Not so sure it's off-topic. –  ghoppe Feb 4 '13 at 16:24
    
And there is no vietnamese.stackexchange.com... –  Mr Lister Feb 4 '13 at 16:25
    
Thank you for keeping the question open and understanding! –  1.21 gigawatts Feb 4 '13 at 16:33
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shapecatcher.com –  whoabackoff Feb 4 '13 at 16:34

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

It's English it's called an underdot. It is a diacritical mark much as acute accents and umlauts are. In Unicode it is referred to as "dot below".

In Vietnamese, it's used to represent a particular tone, as Vietnamese is a tonal language where tone affects meaning and so it is good to reflect it in spelling.

Note that in the underdot is considered a diacritical mark, but the dot above is not; it is considered part of the i itself.

How to type it depends on your keyboard. One type used in Vietnamese would type it by pressing the key that is in the position 9 is on English-language keyboards, followed by the letter wanted for ạ ẹ ị ọ ụ ỵ (a "dead key" method to diacritics, as on physical typewriters the key wouldn't move the paper). It's combined with other dead keys for ặ ậ ệ ộ ợ ự.

In Unicode, it can be encoded either by "precomposed characters", or by following the vowel with "combinging dot below".

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Thank you for your answer! –  1.21 gigawatts Feb 4 '13 at 16:41

The dot below the letter i is a diacritic markdot is actually the correct term for the kind of mark it is.

In the case of Vietnamese, it denotes the nặng tone (low, glottal), used on the base vowels: ạ ặ ậ ẹ ệ ị ọ ộ ợ ụ ự ỵ

How you type it is system and keyboard dependent.

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Thank you for your answer! –  1.21 gigawatts Feb 4 '13 at 16:34
    
It's not "combining dot below", that's a unicode character used for one particular way to encode it in computing. for example does not use combining characters, and the term isn't used outside of computing contexts. –  Jon Hanna Feb 4 '13 at 16:35

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