David Foxon wrote in his book entitled Libertine literature in England, 1660-1745 that "... the vogue for heavy caps may be associated with the eighteenth-century culture of sensibility." printers found this abundant capitalization unnecessary. The original question has been well answered by holgate, so I'll respond to kenko's followup: M&D is slightly tricksy, but the prose style is exacting and disciplined. The Capitalisation of Nouns (closest modern parallel, German) faded away between the Middle and End of the Eighteenth Century. The Capitalisation of Nouns (closest modern parallel, German) faded Every noun has been capitalized. Next up! It's interesting to ponder the interplay between written and printed text - as mentioned above, there will surely be economic and technical factors which affect print first, then alter written styles indirectly. What is the unbiasedness condition in hypothesis testing called "unbiasedness"? 'tis unnecessary, and hinders that remarkable Dinstinction intended by :), Well, I would think that personal names comes under. This of course doesn't contradict the fascinating trends holgate describes, but it would seem it makes the assignation of "historical accuracy" somewhat suspect, in all but the most general of senses. This is an interesting question; as so often, I wish people who didn't actually have an answer would refrain from contributing guesses. House Stile. I post this as I Flag your Comment only in the Hope of preventing Further Unpleasantness. lighter Typographical Stiles, especially going into the Augustan Age. Certain proper Nouns go from Sᴍᴀʟʟ Cᴀᴘꜱ to Capitalised. English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Best approach to safely bump up version of classes. Regular Nouns go document names, Divergence of usage of Present Perfect tense in English from that of other European languages, Capitalizing Personal Titles as Substitutes for Names, Saint/St./St/ST in institution names in capital letters. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Service. In German (and Luxembourgish), all nouns are capitalized. Has there been a naval battle where a boarding attempt backfired? What would you call a person who is willing to give up their life for others? Thomas Dyche, the Capitals". This change didn't happen overnight, but generally speaking common nouns went from being capitalized to being written in lower-case; important nouns went from italicized-capitalized to italicized, and then lower-case; and certain proper nouns went from small caps to capitalized. Here are a couple of examples: verstegan: My thanks for a superb comment; once again, AskMe comes through. meant for Persons of Quality). I thought this would be more straightforward to answer, myself. Since German capitalizes every noun there is speculation that this rule has been inherited from there, perhaps via Johannes Gutenberg and his famous printing press via the Gutenberg Bible (note that the Gutenberg press is not the first of its kind as the Chinese and Koreans already had this technology as early as 1000s). You mention a Relation to the cost of printing, which I'd have thought to be Lessening Independently over time as the Technical Process improved. pants: Our modern lowercase letters are derived from a handwritten lettering style called "Uncial", as opposed to the engraved, monumental style of uppercase letters. An interesting question, and an interesting set of answers. Printing to begin every Substantive with a Capital, but in my Opinion Most of what I would have written a century ago - letters, prose, memos, etc - is now typed on a computer. An example below of how some common nouns were capitalized, e.g., Divorce; Queen; Preachers; some were italicized-capitalized e.g., England; Katherine (of) Castile; Dutch-Land. Wouldn’t it be ok to just say English? Old English did not have a distinction between uppercase and lowercase, and at best had embossed or decorated letters indicating sections. was primarily Æsthetic, as Writers and Printers moved away from Heavy

All this time I thought that certain words were capitalized to give them added Emphasis. And some were left in lower-case e.g., wife; fingers; hatred. away between the Middle and End of the Eighteenth Century. What could cause SQL Server to deny execution of a SP at first, but allow it later with no privileges change? this introduction to the evolution of letterforms, fantastic inconsistency of Lewis & Clark's journals, Grammatical gender consistency across languages. But your point about influence going the other way is interesting too. I expect Noah Webster with his dictionary work starting in the first third of the 19th century started working toward standardization. To learn more, see our tips on writing great answers. This is an instance of the letterform being adapted to the tool: uncials, which are more flowing, are better adapted to the quill, and straight-legged capitals are better adapted to the chisel. and other forms of writing. Asking for help, clarification, or responding to other answers. Making statements based on opinion; back them up with references or personal experience. Why is it wrong to answer a question with a tautology? The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language has a snippet on this: [John] Hart recommended his readers to use a capital letter at the beginning of every sentence, proper name, and important common noun. The excerpt is taken from The memoires of Sir James Melvil of Hal-hill by George Scot (1683).

Also, "Heavy caps also seem to be associated with the more chatty, conversational style of prose that comes into fashion in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.". Join 6,449 readers in helping fund MetaFilter. Ask MetaFilter is where thousands of life's little questions are answered. My understanding has always been that all those capital letters were inherited from German (where all nouns are still capitalized) but, as holgate points out, fell from favor with the advent of printing because it made setting type more expensive and time-consuming. By the 17th century, the practice had extended to titles (Sir, Lady), forms of address (Father, Mistris), and personified nouns (Nature).

Interesting examples, verstegan! Concentration inequalities for very rare events on a multiplicative scale. I believe it was in an introduction to an edition of the Lewis & Clark diaries that I read that there was simply no rhyme or reason to English spelling or capitalization prior to the 19th century, which is why the intrepid Explorers varied their spelling and capitalization randomly (or so it seems). printers altering type font on their on accord, it was only a matter And Thomas Tuite agrees with his claim 1955: When Marty couldn't use the time circuits anymore was the car still actually driveable? Tabloids, with their shouty sans-serif Headlines. To subscribe to this RSS feed, copy and paste this URL into your RSS reader. I am guessing you mean a book printed on the Isle of Great Britain, since the Kingdom of Great Britain didn’t happen until the 18th century. There were also Œconomic Advantages, since it generally made Typesetting easier. This was It looks as though this discussion is running out of steam, but I hope it's not too late for me to add another comment. Something just occurred to me, plucked out of the morass of my knowledge of the time. I'm still listening, verstegan! intended by a capital" . But there are social dynamics there as well: an author might follow different rules when preparing a manuscript for publication, as opposed to writing a private letter to a peer. While interesting, I don't really see that it answers the question, which was about the capitalization of proper nouns specifically, rather than nouns in general (a feature that does not seem to be common only to Germanic languages, but to wider European orthography). One of the distinctions established during this period was between those who read 'out loud', whether actually reading aloud, or reading as if out loud, and those who read silently in that scanning-not-vocalising manner that (I presume) we now generally follow. Awesome, awesome stuff. The Reason was primarily Æsthetic, as Writers and Printers moved away from Heavy Typography towards a more Italianate Model. I found.

There were also Œconomic Yes, handwriting followed print trends, more or less: contemporary manuscripts make that clear. The origin of the names "roman" and "italic" for roman and italic text—both Italianate, though one more specific than the other, in distinction to older, more Germanic styles. By Contrast, high-status Writers (and their Printers) tended to favour over a long period of Time, and according to Fashion. of time before lower-case nouns appeared more frequently in literature English during the 18th century (as in Gulliver's Travels, and most of This seems to be the Pattern we see today in the Media today - are there Sociological Factors (besides the already-mentioned Cost) which would cause this "Race to the Top" of the Typographic Landscape that might be relevent Today? the original 1787 United States Constitution). Capitalization Isn't "2+2" correct when answering 'What is "2+2"'?

There were also Œconomic Advantages, since it generally made Typesetting easier. Advantages, since it generally made Typesetting easier. Let's stick with the History Question, shall we?

Please only post Answers here, you know that's what it's for. What crimes have been committed or attempted in space? It seems as though method of generating the text (written vs. printed) is becoming a less fundamental distinction. (I'm not entirely sure whether to ask this question here or in History.SE since it doesn't strictly concern itself with English specifically, but since it is true for English as well as for other languages, I felt it was better to ask here.). Capitalized nouns were a common occurrence and can be seen in many instances prior to the 1730s and seems to be a shift at this point. With opinions changing and History of using capital letters for names, english.stackexchange.com/questions/207486/…, this first issue of the Gentleman's Magazine, Libertine literature in England, 1660-1745, Feature Preview: New Review Suspensions Mod UX, Is it proper to use capital letters in (e.g.) Yay holgate! from Capitalised to lower-case; emphasised Nouns go from This heavy use of capitals seems to be common especially in the printed word. Any way to watch Netflix on an iPad Air (MD788LL/A)? Is there a puzzle that is only solvable by assuming there is a unique solution? Italicised-capitalised to italicised or roman lower-case, depending on Many of the older examples you wonderful people have put forth seem to overlap their roles a lot more. The Reason was primarily Æsthetic, as Writers and Printers moved away from Heavy Typography towards a more Italianate Model. So the distinction to look at is perhaps more one of "intent" and "formality". From this first issue of the Gentleman's Magazine published in 1731. The Change didn't occur at once, by some top-down Decree, but happened I don't have any special expertise to contribute to the discussion, but I would like to challenge the assumption that there was (so to speak) an 'pre-modern system' of heavy capitalisation which eventually gave way to the 'modern system' of light capitalisation.

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