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Old May 14 2013, 04:37 PM   #27
rhubarbodendron's Avatar
Location: milky way, outer spiral arm, Sol 3
Re: Capitalisation of I

OK, that's going to be a long one as I'll try to answer several questions asked in the previous posts:

The ß / ss in German follows a comperatively simple rule nowadays:
ß is written after a long vowel. Example: Straße
ss is written after a short vowel or vowel-combi. Example: Fluss
The old rule was more complicated:
ß if pronounced really sharp and always when a consonant follows. Examples: naß, häßlich.
ss if pronounced softer and when a vowel follows. Examples: Nuss, Flüsse. (exception: when a long vowel goes before the ß it stays: Straße, Muße)


Capitalisation in German is really simple: the first word of a sentence and all names are written with a capital. Nouns are considered names and hence are invariably capitalized.

A formal address is always capitalized in a letter (You, Your). That's for reasons of politeness. For the same reason we do not capitalize the first person (I / me/ mine/ we /us / our)


Arab has indeed no capitals. Nor have most of the other oriental fonts.


According to a German article I found online, the capital I in English has a second reason beside the one already mentioned:
at the same time the ic turned into i, an i in the beginning of a word would also occasionally be used to indicate a past participle: what today is 'run', used to be 'irunne' back then. The font used was very narrow (parchment was expensive and you had to save space - paper was not yet known in the western world). This could lead to misunderstandings if the i (I) was getting close to a verb. So they decided to first write the i (I) larger and then to capitalize it.

Shaytan wrote: View Post
French doesn't capitalise its formal you (vous). We're rude, never forget that !
Shaytan, are the Parisians really as rude as rumour has it? I'm starting to learn French in preparation for a trip to Paris and I'd like to know what I am facing.
Can you give me a few insider tips how to treat Parisians correctly to receive only a minimum of rudeness? I'm the type of tourist who asks before taking photos, who attempts to be very polite and not to stand in the way of people who are in a hurry. I switch off my cell in hospitals, public transport, museums, theatres and churches and never hear loud music or make phone calls in public.
What other dos and don'ts are there?
a hug a day keeps the psychiatrist away

Last edited by rhubarbodendron; May 14 2013 at 04:48 PM.
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