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Capitalization of people groups' names

Discussion in 'Research' started by Yora, Dec 8, 2019.

  1. Yora

    Yora Maester

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    Are there any clear rules when you write the names of people groups with a capital or minor first character?

    I know its Germans and Asians, and it seems to be elves and orcs.

    But why is is mestizos but Gaels?
     
  2. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    With those examples, Germany and Asia are places with proper names. We don't capitalize elf any more than we capitalize human. Same goes for the second example.

    But to complicate things, consider tribal names. We capitalize Franks, Sioux, Inuit, Dorians. Maybe if there were tribes of orcs we might capitalize those. Of course, were we writing in German we'd capitalize all of them!
     
  3. Yora

    Yora Maester

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    Because German orthography makes sense. :p

    So can we say ethnicities and nationalities are always capitalized, but everything else is not?
     
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    No, we can't quite. In truth, the only thing we can always say is that we can never say always. All rules have exceptions, even the ones you don't know about. One thing I know is, you just never know.

    And similar nuggets. We're you looking for consistency? In English? *chortle*

    I'd say just write it, let your editor correct it, then have long, spirited arguments with the editor. Just be consistent. This makes the God of Search and Replace happy.
     
  5. Alex Reiden

    Alex Reiden Minstrel

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    When in doubt, do not capitalize unless it's the proper name for a recognized, specific tribe, nation, region, or organization.
     
  6. Yora

    Yora Maester

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    I have a category of people called the Wilders. It's a term for all groups from all cultures who live in the wilderness and worship the spirits of the forest, and are avoiding contact with the city states.
    It's basically a category like barbarian, so should I write them in minor case?
     
  7. Alex Reiden

    Alex Reiden Minstrel

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    Sounds like lowercase to me, especially considering you say it's a term for types of people from multiple cultures instead of the name of a specific culture. You comparison to barbarians seems apt.
     

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