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On Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 6:55 PM, H. S. Teoh <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 07:38:18PM -0400, Zach Wellstood wrote:
> >
> > I removed all of the capitals from a randomly chosen paragraph to
> > demonstrate my opinion that readability has been very very minimally
> > affected.
>
> And this is, in fact, how much of today's online generation
> communicates: all lowercase. With the advent of self-correcting input on
> handheld devices, a few capital letters are making it into the chat
> streams, but for the most part it's still mostly in lowercase (very few
> people bother to uppercase something when texting, or chatting on
> forums, etc., and they still understand each other).
>
> Another data point: my wife always writes emails in all lowercase, even
> though she doesn't do that in handwriting. I find it rather jarring, but
> OTOH it's not hard to read at all. In fact, it has a more informal feel
> to it than a Properly Capitalized message.
>

These are very limited contexts, though. In many environments
capitalization conventions are expected.


> It's this informal feel that I wanted to capture when I decided that
> Tatari Faran's romanization will be all lowercase. The san faran are the
> easy-going type, and don't really care too much about such nitpicky
> details, and I thought it would be fitting to convey this in the
> romanization of their language.


That's a perfectly valid aesthetic choice. No issues here.


> > If you want to really mess things up, you could remove all punctuation
> > as well. THAT would affect readability for me. I think the punctuation
> > is more important in this respect than capitalization, so I don't know
> > why this is such a huge gripe! Convention is only convention, it
> > doesn't mean it's how everything needs to be done.
> [...]
>
> Punctuation is definitely more important than capitalization.
>

It is still a convention, though, and there's plenty of room for variation
in how you use punctuation. English has competing styles when it comes to
using certain punctuation marks among native speakers, as do many other
languages.


> And while capitalization is only convention, I'd argue that for
> *English*, it's preferable. But when it comes to *conlangs*, I think
> it's needlessly nitpicky to insist on English-style capitalization. I
> mean, even German uses its own capitalization conventions, and it also
> uses the Latin script, so why the insistence on English-centric bias?
> Reading *any* foreign language (conlang or not) requires some initial
> effort to learn the writing anyway, be it romanization or native script.
> One can hardly expect to fairly evaluate a conlang if one is unwilling
> to put the effort into learning the conventions the author chose to
> adopt.  Nitpicking on capitalization conventions in lieu of actually
> learning how the conlang works seems to me to be a case of straining out
> the gnat and swallowing the camel.


All of language is built around social conventions, so of course it's
understandable to use conventions for natural languages. As far as the
"English-centric bias", I think that many of the conlangers here who are
presenting conlangs to a general audience (i.e. as part of a novel or
story) will be doing so using English, so that's an obvious starting point.
My preference is to use conventions more akin to Spanish: only sentence
beginnings and proper nouns get capitalized. I find that to be a good
minimal position -- sentence-initial capitalization serves to reinforce the
period, which could easily be missed, and it's often important to pick out
proper nouns easily, if for no other reason than that you know what
probably shouldn't be translated.

That's my reasoning for my preferred conventions. It's all up to individual
artistic choice, ultimately.