Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Gustav, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    ?? It's not that I refuse to capitalize them. "Muslim" isn't a nationality or people. I capitalize Christian because it's derived from a name. Is there some reason that you think I should? What is it meant to mean if I don't?
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  3. Gustav Banned Banned

    i considered that with a he or she and decided it was too ridiculous to bring up.
    in any case your examples deal with gender neutral terms so..........


    "Each child must wash their face before lunch"

    i'd aim for consistency and attempt to render the noun in its plural form if possible
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  5. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Now Fraggle's intriguing me.

    Let me see...Republican, Democrat, communist (maybe Communist sometimes...should be communist tho), socialist, Nazi, fascist (unless referring to the specific Italian party), Romanov, Russian, Marxist (name), Christian (name), Bhuddist (name)...Confucianist? Jewish (just always seen it that way, really). I usually tend to go for the common usage. islam, muslim, Shi'ite, Sunni, Wahhabi (sects...somehow that's important), Protestant, Catholic, Irish, Norse, Africa, Mexican, latina, Parisian. Seems like they're all just whatever's "common usage". I guess it wasn't that interesting after all.

    But I'd like some explanation on the thrust about "refusing" to do so.
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  7. Slysoon Registered Senior Member

    I have no idea what your intentions are.

    However, it seems odd you would capitalize words such as "Jew", "Christian", "Catholic", "Hindu", "Sikh", "Amish", and even the "Orthodox" in "Orthodox Judaism", but not "Muslim". I'm fine with your reasons for doing so, whatever they may be.

    Although why you refuse to capitalize "Islam" makes little sense to me. Perhaps you could explain why you do not capitalize "Islam"?
  8. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    I've outlined them above. As a congenital antidisestablishmentarian, I tend to go with common usage. The above are either derived from names, or are separate sects, of course, so it's possible that it's that - but to be honest: common usage. I'm normally quite conventional.

    Possibly I should. Still, it's not derived from a name or a place. It's more like a verb. Perhaps I have an inherent revulsion of capitalizing verbs? Why do you call it a refusal?
  9. Slysoon Registered Senior Member

    I call it a refusal because that is how it appears to the casual reader. In the context of your posts, refusing to capitalize "Muslim and "Islam" - all the while capitalizing similar words for specific religions or religious followers - gives people certain indications about your intentions. For example, if you are in a debate about Islam and its influence over national politics, your refusal to capitalize the word "Islam" is not rationalized by readers as a decision on the basis of the word "Islam" being "more like a verb", which the author has an "inherent revulsion" of capitalizing.
  10. Gustav Banned Banned


  11. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Well, I've outlined why I generally don't above. Common usage. Perhaps I'll put a disclaimer at the start of every post. Anyway: now you know, at least.
  12. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    Hmmm. This thread, a good read.

    The pesky Internets has ruined it all for me. I favor meticulously hand-printed discourse, and the time it takes to scan and upload such I can ill afford. And besides, my scanner is broken. It takes it to another level--and not just for the graphologists--and I think there is an uncommon beauty in parsimony: given the physical restraints--cramped hand and whatnot (do only left-handers suffer this?)--one is inclined to emphasize inflection in driving the point home. Fonts and colors and shits--and fucking emoticons--lack the personal touch and sometimes confuse the hell out of an autistic retard like myself. But that which pours from the stylus, it's elegance and poignancy is unparalleled. Still though, I suppose one's got to be partial to some ambiguity.

    I think I might be responding to that other thread, I just didn't want to revive it.
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    In the places where there is a Communist Party - the majority of the planet, IIRC - the word should be capitalized whenever it refers to said Party.
  14. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Agreed. Although apparently I shouldn't be capitalizing Hindu? Unless it's the "ism". Probably.
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Every language has its orthographic rules. In most (if not all) other European languages you don't capitalize American, Greek, etc., whether it's an adjective denoting the nationality or a noun denoting a citizen of the country. But in English you do.

    Similarly, in English you captalize the names of all religions. Not to do so is to identify yourself as a foreign student who hasn't mastered the nuances of our written language yet. But to capitalize some and not others--and as the Head Linguist around here I guarantee this--will be interpreted as an insult to the ones you fail to capitalize.

    The origin of the name does not matter. In English you capitalize the names of all religions. Failing to do so is simply incorrect writing and will be corrected by every editor.

    Even the Dao, which simply means "(the) way," and Shinto, which simply means "(the) new way," the Japanese phonetic normalization of Mandarin xin dao. Even Jain, which means "conqueror."
    I don't know where you're finding your "common usage." Please review, which gives citations in all the leading American English dictionaries.
    You're treading on dangerous ground when you attempt to bring a foreign word into English and identify it by the part of speech it played in its original language. How would you deal with Chinese, which has no adjectives or adverbs? Or with other languages that don't even deconstruct into the same paradigm as English?

    "To protest" is a verb but we capitalize "Protestant." "Catholic" is an adjective spelled in lower case for its more general meaning, but we capitalize it to mean the religion. Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, Congregational... none of those words were originally capitalized. Ditto for Sunni and Shia, although Arabic is a monocase script like Hebrew, with no capitals anyway.
    I think the other members have good reason for calling it that. Nonetheless, even if their reasons could be argued against, this is a good example of what you will face in life if you continue to write the name of the world's second-largest religious community with a lower-case letter. People won't stop to ask you why you do it, they will automatically interpret it as a sign of disrespect. Is that what you want? No one will get your point.
    Hind means "river," but as Indian civilization grew and people realized there were other great rivers, it came to mean the river we call the Indus, and then the adjectival form was used to name the people who live there. So even by your iconoclastic rules it's still proper to capitalize "Hindu." For a long time that region was called Hindustan.
  16. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    ...well, you also do in German. I would assume the same extends to Danish and Norwegian. Swedish? I don't know about Icelandic: Bokmal vs. old Norse.

    Very well. I will aim to do so. My common usage, of course, comes from the Peteral Manual of Intentionally Insulting English: 3rd edition, not the 2nd.

    Mistr Fraggle Rocker,

    Please am thanking you for many kind observances. I am foreign student who likes making american aquaintence, for correction in writing, also for pen-pal! Am liking the Unites states very mcuhly! chips and salsa! But is heart burn me giving!

    Happy salutations to many writers on this thread! Das vidanya!

  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Nicht wahr. Sprechen Sie englisch? Ich bin amerikaner und ich habe ein deutsche Kraftwagen.
    Taler de dansk? Snakker du norsk?
    Talar ni på svenska?
    You parsed the words wrong. It's do svidanya, but the unaccented O is pronounced like American English U in "up."
  18. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Ach, fery good, Mister Fraggle! Exchange student I am being! Language writing, not so much! but loving American discoooo!!

    As for the 'refusal' as an insult: no, simply. Or else why should I capitalize Sufi, Wahhabi, Sunni and Shi'ite? I'm sorry, but it simply ain't so, Joe.

    As for the German, I always capitalized the nouns and no one complained. So there.
  19. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    Inhabitants of Israel would be Israelis just as inhabitants of America are Americans. The word "Jew" in American culture is often used as a negative/comical stereotype. Don't know about other cultures.
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    All nouns in German are capitalized, but adjectives are not. Der Amerikaner ist hier, "The American is here."

    But Ich bin amerikaner, "I am American."

    Sprechen Sie englisch? "Do you speak English?" Englisch is treated as an adjective, standing for "(the) English language." Or perhaps an adverb, standing for the prepositional phrase "(in) English."

    The pronoun Sie, meaning "you" (formal) is capitalized. But not sie, meaning "she" or "they."
  21. rcscwc Registered Senior Member

    Sorry, you are wromg about Hind etc.

    Sindhu is a river, a proper name, aka Indus. Perhaps Persians got it slightly wrong and called it Hind, and the land Hindustan.
  22. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    You're almost right. I think it was a difference in script or alphabet. According to Veer Savarkar:

    I can definitely see the sapta to hapta and asur to ahur, but not sure about Sapta Sindhu

    edit: More here, Fraggle is right, Sindhu means river.
  23. ThinkingMansCrumpet Registered Member

    Oh dear!...Whoops,.. Fraggle, pardon the vernacular but that is shithouse English.

    What's wrong with "You parsed the words wrongly"? Or 'You parsed the words incorrectly'?

    Sprung bad by the high school dropout!

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