Upper & lower case (was: Speedwords hare etc
|From:||Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, May 29, 2001, 17:31|
At 4:06 pm -0400 28/5/01, Andreas Johansson wrote:
>The Gray Wizard wrote[snip]
>>I don't know. Given the other complexities of German nouns (gender, case,
>>number), I can't imagine that capitalization rules score very high in terms
>>of learning difficulties. I can't remember any significant class time
>>spent on it when I studied German as an undergrad.
>But you're not a native speaker, are you? To a native speaker (given that
>his/her dialect isn't divergent from High German), the cases and genders
>come pretty naturally. Same with the somewhat impredictable plurals. The
>noun capitalization rules, on the other hand, have no real counterpart in
>spoken language, and thus have to be learnt actively by even native
>PS Obviously, the difference between higher and lower case is strictly a
>feature of written language. If ease of learning were our sole motive, we'd
>be busy reforming capital letters out of existence.
quite - as long ago as 1931 jespersen was saying much the same thing:
"In an international language we might, perhaps we should, write everything
with small letters, as the rules for capitals are more or less arbitrary in
all languages - at present, however, I dare not propose that reform."
surely, the reform is long overdue - and not only in international languages.
A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
[J.G. Hamann 1760]