Saturday, June 20, 2015

A capital Experience

I recently learned of an "official" diagnosis for something that I've seen, and I'll admit, drives me a bit nuts: Random Capitalization Syndrome, as explained by Mike Pope here.

It's so strange to me. I've seen things online where people have randomly capitalized things that aren't proper nouns, don't start a sentence, and have no business being capitalized. I've tried to decode these actions. Is it a certain type of word? Why does one do it? Does the person not even know the rule or does she purposefully do it?

Whatever motivates other people to do this, I can't say. However, I've found myself mixing up capitalization lately and it's really annoying. It usually happens if I'm writing in English but mention a German word that fits the best. If it's a noun, I find myself getting tripped up. Should I capitalize it since it's a German noun, even though everything else is English? I do end up capitalizing it but then finding myself starting to capitalize some English (regular) nouns.

I was considering this when I was reading Mike Pope's piece and laughed really hard when I got to his "German 101" Theory. Pope notes that "Sufferers from RCS might have been exposed at a critical time in their writing development to German 101, where students learn that all Nouns are capitalized." Ha! 

Unfortunately, that theory holds no water for the majority of other people I'm seeing who do this. They're native speakers and do not know foreign languages. All I can say is that I hope that they Please Stop.

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