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Capitalization refers to writing the first letter in a word as an upper-case letter, while the remaining in lower-case letters, in writing systems with case distinction. The concept of capitalization differs in most languages. This can lead us to asking the question whether a concept as basic as Capitalization can be so different from a language to another. For example, the capitalization found in the French language and English is different in a number of ways. In the English language, the first word, as well as, all subsequent words (important words) is always capitalized. This excludes conjunctions, articles, in addition to prepositions.
The rules even get more complicated in the French language. It is important to note that many of the words that are capitalized in the English language cannot be in French. Capitalization is just but a set of conventions that are meant to provide clarification in written communication. There are several guidelines that are generally applied in the English language.
An example of the capitalization rule state that, all sentences should be written starting with a capital letter. Adjectives which are from proper nouns as well as proper names themselves should be capitalized. For example, the teacher's name is Kelvin. Kelvin is a proper name and has been capitalized.
It is also a rule that the first word of a direct quotation be capitalized. For example, Kelvin said, "The boys who jumped over the fence will be severely punished." It is also a requirement that all geographical names can be capitalized, for example, Aberdares Hills, the Indian Ocean or the River Nile. However, it should be noted that, directions which are not part of a regions name should not be capitalized. One can also capitalize main as well as first words of poems, books, songs or titles of articles, for example, Staircase to Heaven.
The pronoun I is also supposed t be capitalized in English, for example, if I see him, I will pass your regards. In addition to this, there are several special rules that concern proper nouns. Proper nouns are the ones that refer to places, organizations, specific people, things, in addition to pets. For example, directive words such as North, East, South, and West can be capitalized if they are contained in the name of a place. However, it excludes when giving out directions to a person. For example, one can say, my friend lives in South Africa, but not Southern Europe. Capitalization can also extend to the group name of members belonging to an organization. For example, the Pinky Panthers are playing this coming week.
All the acronyms that refer to specific names can be capitalized, for example, I like listening to PSS radio whenever I am free. It is also important to note that one can capitalize the holidays, days of the week, in addition to the months of the year. On the other hand, the seasons cannot be capitalized. For example, he flew to London in August, or, would you like to come on Monday? It is also correct if one capitalizes titles which come before come names. However, it is not ideal to capitalize titles that come after names. For example, one can say that, the man asked Lieutenant Smith for apples.
Content words like nouns, principal verbs, adjectives, pronouns as well as adverbs can also be capitalized, for example, The Monk and the Ten Monkeys. In French, standardized capitalization depends on several factors such as, the position and importance of the words in a given title. One important thing to note is that, the first word is always capitalized. Moreover, It follows that, if the first word is an article or determiner, then the first noun including any of the adjectives preceding are also to be capitalized, for example, Le Petit Pablo (Albert 1998).
It also follows that if the title has two words or phrases which are equal in value, they are looked at as co-titles, and hence each one of them is to be capitalized according to the rules that have already been given, for example, Robert ou La Nouvelle Héloïse. It is also an important thing in French that important nouns are capitalized in addition to the first word. In the system known as sentence capitalization, only the word that appears first is capitalized. However, it is important to note that proper nouns are not affected by the given capitalization systems, this because they usually follow their own rules.
There are differences in words that can be capitalized in English but not in French. A good example is the first person singular subject pronoun. For example, one could say, I went home, but French cannot capitalize je. The days of the week and months of the year can be capitalized in English but not in French, for example, Monday, or January, but, in French it is written as lundi or janvier. Geographical words such as Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean can be capitalized in English but not in French, for example, l'eocean Pacifique and la mer Mediterranee, (Andre 1999).
Languages can be listed in English while they are being capitalized but not in French, for example, English, Russian, French, but in French it is written as l'anglais, le russe, le francais. In French, the names of most of the religions, their adjectives, as well as their proper nouns are not always capitalized, for example, Judaism or Buddhism, but in French they are written as le judaisme as well as le bouddhisme.