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Capitalisation in Polish language; uncapitalised car marques (fiat, buick, honda)?


Polonius3 990 | 12,349
5 Mar 2011 #1
I know the rules that religious orders (dominikanie), town-dwellers (paryżanie), months, days and car marques (toyota, audi, dodge) are not supposed to be written in upper case in Polish, but personally I find this a bit disconcerting and visually awkward re motorcars. I always seem to want to type 'Przyjechał Cadillacem, a odjechał Jeepem'.

Anyone else have a problem with this?
Tlum 12 | 167
6 Mar 2011 #2
Indeed, it's more natural to name car marks starting with a capital letter..
theScorpion - | 1
1 Jun 2011 #3
I've never heard a rule that car makes have to be written with a lower case letter. As a matter of fact, it would be unnatural to me to write "To jest toyota mojego brata" or "Kupiłem wczoraj nowe audi". I think the problem is that these are not proper nouns, inasmuch as they come from names of companies producing cars. It's a similar case as with the words Coke or Velcro in English - they come from names of products of certain companies but were incorporated into common language to refer generically to objects of their type and no longer exclusively to a specific product. Now this where Polish and English diverge - the former will use lower case and the latter will capitalise. But if you consider another examples given by Polonius, you can draw a conclusion that there is much tendency to capitalise in English and quite the opposite is true for Polish.
OP Polonius3 990 | 12,349
4 Jun 2011 #4
In fact, according to Polish orthographic norms, not only car makes but also city dwellers (paryżanin, berlińczyk), religious orders (franciszkanin), months (czerwiec), days of week (sobota) and many other things that may seem strange to Anglos are in lower case. Or maybe it's the other way round and it’s English that’s got a capitalisation obsession. But it's not as bad as German where every noun (mother, dog, house, sh*t) has to be in upper case!
alexw68
4 Jun 2011 #5
But it's not as bad as German where every noun (mother, dog, house, sh*t) has to be in upper case!

Same used to be true of English in the 17th/18th centuries. Not exactly sure when the practice died out.
cinek 2 | 345
5 Jun 2011 #6
But it's not as bad as German where every noun (mother, dog, house, sh*t) has to be in upper case!

I wouldn't day it's bad. You don't need to remember when to use capitals because you always do.

Cinek
OP Polonius3 990 | 12,349
5 Jun 2011 #7
I'll keep that in mind next time I need to write 'Scheiß'!
Atch 20 | 4,155
3 Mar 2017 #8
[moved from]

And you telling anyone off on grammar issues?

Capitalisation is not part of grammar. Anyway it abides by fixed rules. Punctuation is more flexible. In the example you give, a semi-colon would be more appropiate than creating a separate sentence. The use of a comma instead of a semi-colon is a bit sloppy but it's not as grave an offence against literacy as the failure to capitalise a country or nationality.
NoToForeigners 9 | 994
3 Mar 2017 #9
. The use of a comma instead of a semi-colon is a bit sloppy

It's not sloppy. It's an error. You are telling someone off over the grammar issue and you make an error in the very same post. I am starting to see a connection between you and those two of "abnormal sexuality".
Atch 20 | 4,155
3 Mar 2017 #10
grammar

Notty, once again, capitalisation is not a part of grammar. Yes, using a comma instead of a semi-colon is an error but still not anywhere in the same league as failing to capitalise the word 'American'.

Now let's get real here. The fact is that certain widely accepted liberties are taken by educated people in informal written communications. The other main poster in that thread, Dominic, is far better educated than you or I, and his posts also contain numerous 'errors' such as beginning a sentence with 'and'. However, you will find that he wouldn't do that when writing up formal documentation. You would also find that however casual he might be in some respects, he wouldn't fail to capitalise the name of a country - ever - and nor would I.
NoToForeigners 9 | 994
3 Mar 2017 #11
capitalisation is not a part of grammar.

Capitalisation is, of course, a part of grammar in English and Polish. Actually it's a part of grammar of most languages.

grammarbook.com/punctuation/capital.asp

esl.fis.edu/grammar/rules/capital.htm

ef.com/english-resources/english-grammar/capitalisation-rules
Atch 20 | 4,155
3 Mar 2017 #12
No, Notty, It's mechanics, not grammar. That's another example of how we have usages within English that are accepted though not strictly correct. It's easier to bring everything under one handy heading but mechanics, punctuation and grammar are separate and capitalisation is classified under the heading of mechanics.
NoToForeigners 9 | 994
3 Mar 2017 #13
No, Notty, It's mechanics

No. It's as grammar as starting the sentence with capital is. Starting a sentence with capital is capitalisation and together with ending the sentence with a dot it is grammar.
Atch 20 | 4,155
3 Mar 2017 #14
As you won't accept my word for it here's an explanation from a PHD in English:

katherinewikoff.com/2012/10/18/whats-the-difference-between-grammar-punctuation-and-mechanics

I understand what you're trying to say, that by using a capital letter and a full stop you are creating the grammatical unit of a sentence but linguistics doesn't see it that way.
Harry
3 Mar 2017 #15
PHD

I fear your caps lock key must have been stuck there for a moment.
Atch 20 | 4,155
3 Mar 2017 #16
Ha ha! Yes I know and Notty didn't pick up on it either, he missed a golden opportunity there :)) You see Harry when I make an error I'm merely taking a liberty or toying with accepted conventions - when somebody else does it they're just wrong.
Chemikiem
3 Mar 2017 #17
It's not sloppy. It's an error.

It is, but it doesn't hit you in the face quite as much as failing to capitalise a country ;)

Having said that, and it took me a while to find where the posts had been moved from, it seems a bit harsh that the guy is being berated for not capitalising the word American. He might just have written his post quickly and not thought about it too much. Plenty of times I've capitalised words that shouldn't have been or forgotten to altogether! I usually realise later when it hits me in the face and it's too late to edit, but this is just an internet forum...

'errors' such as beginning a sentence with 'and'.

Is it an error though? I had it bashed through my skull at school to never begin a sentence with 'and' or 'but', or any other conjunction come to think of it, but conjunctions have been used at the start of sentences in literature way before it got popular to say it was a huge grammar faux pas. I've often started sentences using 'and' on this forum.

And even Mary could assure her family that she had no disinclination for it. [Jane Austen]

So we had quite a long talk when you were looking at the ruins, and he told me all about his life, and his struggles, and how fearfully hard it had been. [Virginia Woolf]


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