RFC: english capitalization of shortened words begining with a single quote

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RFC: english capitalization of shortened words begining with a single quote

Olivier-3
Hi,

Joan and I started this thread on MB-users on August 28, out of the
specific capitalization difficulty presented by the title 'round
Midnight (or 'Round Midnight), and on the generic question on how to
cap abbreviated words begining with a quote.

As stated in the thread, the actual wiki quideline doesn't address
this, and the question has been in the discussion section for ages.
Though some people may find this problem trivial, we have the feeling
we need a firm resolution about it, as the lack of it already led to
wasted work.

If no one strongly disagree, we think it's now time to close this issue.

Hence this mail, again co-signed by Joan and myself.


>From the opinions expressed on the thread, we suggest the following:
- abbreviated words begining with a quote, when in the middle of a
sentence, must have their first letter lowercased
- abbreviated words begining with a quote at the begining of a
sentence must have their first letter capitalized

Of course, the usual Artist Intent (if clear and proven) is to be
prefered over the guideline.


If no additional discussion and/or important new information is
provided here, we'll ask for a RFV in two days.


Thanks!


- Joan Whittaker and Olivier "dmppanda"

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Re: RFC: english capitalization of shortened words begining with a single quote

Steve Wyles
On Fri, 1 Sep 2006, Mangled wrote:

>> From the opinions expressed on the thread, we suggest the following:
> - abbreviated words begining with a quote, when in the middle of a
> sentence, must have their first letter lowercased
> - abbreviated words begining with a quote at the begining of a
> sentence must have their first letter capitalized
>

As they are guidelines instead of strict rules, I would use the word
'should' instead of 'must'.

Steve

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RE: RFC: english capitalization of shortened words beginingwith a single quote

Michelle .
In reply to this post by Olivier-3
>>From the opinions expressed on the thread, we suggest the following:
>- abbreviated words begining with a quote, when in the middle of a
>sentence, must have their first letter lowercased
>- abbreviated words begining with a quote at the begining of a sentence
>must have their first letter capitalized

I think I must have missed the discussion, but wouldn't it be more
consistent with other style guidelines to have abbreviated words:

- capitalised if the word it stands for would normally be capitalised
- not capitalised if the word it stands for would normally not be
capitalised

i.e. "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree" rather than "Tie a Yellow
Ribbon 'round the Old Oak Tree"

("'Round Midnight" is still the same as for your proposed guideline, because
"Around" would have been capitalised as the first word of the title.)

Also, a lot of titles in the database are grammatically incorrect, with
missing abbreviation apostrophes (eg. Round instead of 'Round). This version
of the guideline would keep the capitalisation consistent across these
versions:

i.e.
Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree
&
Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree

in the database rather than

Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'round the Old Oak Tree
&
Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree


This also seems more consistent with the guideline/consensus that words like
"da" (the) and "o'" (of) are lowercase because their equivalent is.

Michelle (dirtyboots)

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Re: RFC: english capitalization of shortened words beginingwith a single quote

Olivier-3
2006/9/1, Steve Wyles <[hidden email]>:
> As they are guidelines instead of strict rules, I would use the word
> 'should' instead of 'must'.

Sure.


2006/9/2, Michelle . <[hidden email]>:
> - capitalised if the word it stands for would normally be capitalised
> - not capitalised if the word it stands for would normally not be
> capitalised

Apparently, most people felt the "aphesis" should be lowercased
(except when at the beginning of the sentence)...
While of course it is not too late to discuss this again (and as
stated I myself don't have a preference), I think it will take a
stronger argument than "more consistent with other guidelines" to have
this accepted.

> Also, a lot of titles in the database are grammatically incorrect, with
> missing abbreviation apostrophes (eg. Round instead of 'Round). This version
> of the guideline would keep the capitalisation consistent across these
> versions:

True.


- Olivier

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Re: RFC: english capitalization of shortened wordsbeginingwith a single quote

Michelle .-2
>From: Mangled <[hidden email]>
>2006/9/2, Michelle . <[hidden email]>:
>>- capitalised if the word it stands for would normally be capitalised
>>- not capitalised if the word it stands for would normally not be
>>capitalised
>
>Apparently, most people felt the "aphesis" should be lowercased
>(except when at the beginning of the sentence)...
>While of course it is not too late to discuss this again (and as
>stated I myself don't have a preference), I think it will take a
>stronger argument than "more consistent with other guidelines" to have this
>accepted.

OK. Have thought about this further, and tried to logically lay out my
arguments.


Arguments:

1. Consistency within the database (detailed in earlier email)

* A lot of titles in the database are grammatically incorrect, with missing
abbreviation apostrophes (eg. Round instead of 'Round). This version of the
guideline would keep the capitalisation consistent across these versions
(related to Argument 3).
* More consistent with other guidelines, in particular 3 and 5 of
Capitalisation Style (http://musicbrainz.org/style.html) (related to
Argument 2)


2. Consistent with a wider interpretation of existing English grammatical
rules for Title Case
(aka. Abbreviations are words too!)

Most versions of Title Case grammatical rules have this, or some variation
thereof:

[from the Australian Guide to Legal Citation, 2nd edn, similar found in the
StyleGuide]

"In titles, the first letter of the following should be capitalised:
* the first word in the title;
*all other words in the title except articles ('the', 'a', 'an'),
conjunctions (eg. 'and, 'but') and prepositions (eg. 'on', 'with',
'before')."

Currently Capitalisation Guide 5. states:

"Capitalize contractions and slang consistent with the rules above to the
extent that such clearly apply. For example, do not capitalize o' for "of",
'n' or n' for "and""

The current problem can actually be solved without a new guideline, if we
interpret the existing grammatical rules more widely.

Clearly, all words are to be capitalised with a few exceptions (articles,
conjunctions, prepositions). Since abbreviations/aphesises are words, there
is no real reason to place them in a separate class.


3. The Historical Argument

A great number of words in common use today began as aphesis.
A short list (from Wikipedia):
vanish from (now obsolete) evanish
squire from esquire
bus from omnibus
phone from telephone
plane from aeroplane

Technically, these words, if in titles, could be equivalently entered as
'bus, 'phone, 'plane, 'mend, etc. (I think 'phone and 'plane are still in
general usage, actually).

By historical accident (as seems to be the case with much of English
development), the apostrophes have disappeared as the shortened form has
entered common usage.

It hardly seems logical to distinguish between "Words Whose Users Have
Become So Lazy They Leave Off the Apostrophe" and "Words Whose Users Still
Take a Microsecond More to Add a Small Dash, But in the Future Are Likely to
Not Bother Either".


Michelle (dirtyboots)

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Re: RFC: english capitalization of shortenedwordsbeginingwith a single quote

Michelle .-2
Hi,

I've waded through the MB-users list for arguments against my stance on the
general case, but I can only discussions about capitalisation of first
letters (i.e. 'Round Midnight), with which I wholeheartedly agree.

So could someone please point out arguments on the other side to me? I think
I may be having a bad case of wilful blindness :)

I sincerely apologise for destroying consensus. However, the consensus seems
to have been on the first letter case only, so I feel like less of a
vandal...

Michelle (dirtyboots)

_________________________________________________________________
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Re: RFC: english capitalization ofshortenedwordsbeginingwith a single quote

joan WHITTAKER
As one of the original authors of this thread, I thought we had reached a
general consensus that the where a track began with an apostrophe, i.e.
'round, then it should be capitalised.

However, where it occurred in the middle of a track name, then it should be
lower case.

Am I over simplifying, but I thought we were going to go to RFV on this.

Joan

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michelle ." <[hidden email]>
To: <[hidden email]>
Sent: Sunday, September 03, 2006 6:02 AM
Subject: Re: [mb-style] RFC: english capitalization
ofshortenedwordsbeginingwith a single quote


> Hi,
>
> I've waded through the MB-users list for arguments against my stance on
> the general case, but I can only discussions about capitalisation of first
> letters (i.e. 'Round Midnight), with which I wholeheartedly agree.
>
> So could someone please point out arguments on the other side to me? I
> think I may be having a bad case of wilful blindness :)
>
> I sincerely apologise for destroying consensus. However, the consensus
> seems to have been on the first letter case only, so I feel like less of a
> vandal...
>
> Michelle (dirtyboots)
>
> _________________________________________________________________
> 1000s of Sexy Singles online now at Lavalife. Click here
> http://a.ninemsn.com.au/b.aspx?URL=http%3A%2F%2Flavalife9%2Eninemsn%2Ecom%2Eau%2Fclickthru%2Fclickthru%2Eact%3Fid%3Dninemsn%26context%3Dan99%26locale%3Den%5FAU%26a%3D23198&_t=751140432&_r=emailtaglines_search_aug06&_m=EXT
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Musicbrainz-style mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.musicbrainz.org/mailman/listinfo/musicbrainz-style
>



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Re: RFC: english capitalizationofshortenedwordsbeginingwith a single quote

Michelle .-2
>However, where it occurred in the middle of a track name, then it should be
>lower case.
>
>Am I over simplifying, but I thought we were going to go to RFV on this.
>
>Joan

I thought RFV only happened if discussion died down, but since I resurrected
it...

Michelle (dirtyboots)

>----- Original Message ----- From: "Michelle ."
><[hidden email]>
>To: <[hidden email]>
>Sent: Sunday, September 03, 2006 6:02 AM
>Subject: Re: [mb-style] RFC: english capitalization
>ofshortenedwordsbeginingwith a single quote
>
>
>>Hi,
>>
>>I've waded through the MB-users list for arguments against my stance on
>>the general case, but I can only discussions about capitalisation of first
>>letters (i.e. 'Round Midnight), with which I wholeheartedly agree.
>>
>>So could someone please point out arguments on the other side to me? I
>>think I may be having a bad case of wilful blindness :)
>>
>>I sincerely apologise for destroying consensus. However, the consensus
>>seems to have been on the first letter case only, so I feel like less of a
>>vandal...
>>
>>Michelle (dirtyboots)
>>
>>_________________________________________________________________
>>1000s of Sexy Singles online now at Lavalife. Click here
>>http://a.ninemsn.com.au/b.aspx?URL=http%3A%2F%2Flavalife9%2Eninemsn%2Ecom%2Eau%2Fclickthru%2Fclickthru%2Eact%3Fid%3Dninemsn%26context%3Dan99%26locale%3Den%5FAU%26a%3D23198&_t=751140432&_r=emailtaglines_search_aug06&_m=EXT
>>
>>
>>_______________________________________________
>>Musicbrainz-style mailing list
>>[hidden email]
>>http://lists.musicbrainz.org/mailman/listinfo/musicbrainz-style
>>
>
>
>
>_______________________________________________
>Musicbrainz-style mailing list
>[hidden email]
>http://lists.musicbrainz.org/mailman/listinfo/musicbrainz-style

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Re: RFC: english capitalizationofshortenedwordsbeginingwith a single quote

autodave
I think Michelle's arguments are very well put here.

Capitalization of the first word is, in my opinion, much easier to nail
down.  The argument for it is different, that

1) Initial capitalization overrides other considerations.  You capitalize
an initial article, like "the" or "a", even though you would not if it is
in the middle of a title.

Thus, it is easy to conceive that #1 could trump the "missing letters"
argument (that the first letter of the word is what you would capitalize,
but it is missing.)  If you believe that you really really need a cap at
the beginning of a title (as you would at the beginning of an
English-language sentence) you can believe that initial capitalization
trumps all kinds of things (like trademarked words in lowercase, my eMusic
example.)

Plus, it was really quite easy for me to satisfy myself that this is the
standard out in the world, doing a quick search of library catalogues and
my CD shelf.  (Joan is the only one in the thread who also indicated that
she bought the library cat. example.)

***

Most people who weighed in for lowercase in the middle of titles were
still influenced by the "missing letters" argument.  I am in agreement
with Michelle that you could go farther and dispute the importance of
missing letters altogether.  This is similar to what I was saying earlier,
that "these are words in a dialect" more than abbreviations.

The key to the representation-of-dialect way of thinking is that the
apostrophe is a "signal" that something you might otherwise expect has
been removed, but not a *necessary* punctuation every time something is
removed.  This is where contemporary verbal representation is going, and
it becomes much more obvious when you look at hip-hop titles.

The example I used with zout in an off-list email is "Snap Yo Fingaz."
"Yo" is obviously a shortening of "you," but I think most of you will
intuitively sense that it would be foolish to insist that it really should
be yo' with an apostrophe.  After all, how will we correct "fingaz"?
(Should we interject [sic.] for every other word?)  The wider context of
the title makes it clear that we are in a dialect and there is really no
reason to worry about "missing letters" - everything is just being
transformed to mimic the way African-Americans speak.  (Or, in the case of
some hip-hop, an exaggerated dialect that some are choosing to use.)

Michelle also writes:

> I've waded through the MB-users list for arguments against my stance on
> the
> general case, but I can only discussions about capitalisation of first
> letters (i.e. 'Round Midnight), with which I wholeheartedly agree.
>
> So could someone please point out arguments on the other side to me? I
> think
> I may be having a bad case of wilful blindness :)
>
Yeah, it is in there, all based on the "missing letters" argument.

Also, somebody tried and failed to say that most abbreviations are
prepositions and thus should be lowercase, but that didn't wash due to the
3/4 letter thing.

Nobody explicitly went to bat for mid-title capitalization.

(Apologies if I mis-remember anything, as, it has been demonstrated, I am
certainly capable of doing.  But I have reread the whole thread..)

> I sincerely apologise for destroying consensus. However, the consensus
> seems
> to have been on the first letter case only, so I feel like less of a
> vandal...

While I do think the list's valuation of consensus is good, I remain
conviced that the discussion here is still somewhat broken.  Firstly, if
you really count posts as votes, I don't see why you would say we have
reached consensus on initial capitalization.  There was a surprising (to
me) initial flurry of comments in favor of 'round Midnight, my arguments
in favor of 'Round in the middle with some people concurring with that,
and trailing arguments for "just follow artists intent."

But more so I am disturbed that many just don't value good arguments
and/or research in the discussion.  Many weigh in with "I like this" or "I
don't like this" and "I have no idea why" or even "Obviously there is no
rule."  Not that that is totally unacceptable (except for the last
statement, which IS), but we should try to do a lot better.   The
Wiki-model works not just because it is a democracy, but because it is a
democracy of people who are willing to do the necessary work to create
knowledge.

So, if what I am saying is true, then the real problem (and the real
reason the list might be broken) may be people who don't have the patience
to read other people's arguments and just want to broadcast their own,
people who make willfully uninformed or unpragmatic arguments, and people
who essentially want to say "shut up, I am tired of hearing about this
already."  (Switching to a message board would certainly help alleviate
that last problem, since every single message will no longer be broadcast
into one's mailbox.  And it becomes much easier to reread the past and
digest what has been said.)

Or, to wrap up, good job Michelle.  You go girl, I hate Pink Floyd too.

-D


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Re: RFC: english capitalizationofshortenedwordsbeginingwith a single quote

joan WHITTAKER
That's two things we are in agreement on.

Initial capitalisation
and
I also hate Pink Floyd.

Joan

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave Smey" <[hidden email]>
To: "MusicBrainz style discussion" <[hidden email]>
Sent: Sunday, September 03, 2006 5:18 PM
Subject: Re: [mb-style] RFC: english
capitalizationofshortenedwordsbeginingwith a single quote


>I think Michelle's arguments are very well put here.
>
> Capitalization of the first word is, in my opinion, much easier to nail
> down.  The argument for it is different, that
>
> 1) Initial capitalization overrides other considerations.  You capitalize
> an initial article, like "the" or "a", even though you would not if it is
> in the middle of a title.
>
> Thus, it is easy to conceive that #1 could trump the "missing letters"
> argument (that the first letter of the word is what you would capitalize,
> but it is missing.)  If you believe that you really really need a cap at
> the beginning of a title (as you would at the beginning of an
> English-language sentence) you can believe that initial capitalization
> trumps all kinds of things (like trademarked words in lowercase, my eMusic
> example.)
>
> Plus, it was really quite easy for me to satisfy myself that this is the
> standard out in the world, doing a quick search of library catalogues and
> my CD shelf.  (Joan is the only one in the thread who also indicated that
> she bought the library cat. example.)
>
> ***
>
> Most people who weighed in for lowercase in the middle of titles were
> still influenced by the "missing letters" argument.  I am in agreement
> with Michelle that you could go farther and dispute the importance of
> missing letters altogether.  This is similar to what I was saying earlier,
> that "these are words in a dialect" more than abbreviations.
>
> The key to the representation-of-dialect way of thinking is that the
> apostrophe is a "signal" that something you might otherwise expect has
> been removed, but not a *necessary* punctuation every time something is
> removed.  This is where contemporary verbal representation is going, and
> it becomes much more obvious when you look at hip-hop titles.
>
> The example I used with zout in an off-list email is "Snap Yo Fingaz."
> "Yo" is obviously a shortening of "you," but I think most of you will
> intuitively sense that it would be foolish to insist that it really should
> be yo' with an apostrophe.  After all, how will we correct "fingaz"?
> (Should we interject [sic.] for every other word?)  The wider context of
> the title makes it clear that we are in a dialect and there is really no
> reason to worry about "missing letters" - everything is just being
> transformed to mimic the way African-Americans speak.  (Or, in the case of
> some hip-hop, an exaggerated dialect that some are choosing to use.)
>
> Michelle also writes:
>
>> I've waded through the MB-users list for arguments against my stance on
>> the
>> general case, but I can only discussions about capitalisation of first
>> letters (i.e. 'Round Midnight), with which I wholeheartedly agree.
>>
>> So could someone please point out arguments on the other side to me? I
>> think
>> I may be having a bad case of wilful blindness :)
>>
> Yeah, it is in there, all based on the "missing letters" argument.
>
> Also, somebody tried and failed to say that most abbreviations are
> prepositions and thus should be lowercase, but that didn't wash due to the
> 3/4 letter thing.
>
> Nobody explicitly went to bat for mid-title capitalization.
>
> (Apologies if I mis-remember anything, as, it has been demonstrated, I am
> certainly capable of doing.  But I have reread the whole thread..)
>
>> I sincerely apologise for destroying consensus. However, the consensus
>> seems
>> to have been on the first letter case only, so I feel like less of a
>> vandal...
>
> While I do think the list's valuation of consensus is good, I remain
> conviced that the discussion here is still somewhat broken.  Firstly, if
> you really count posts as votes, I don't see why you would say we have
> reached consensus on initial capitalization.  There was a surprising (to
> me) initial flurry of comments in favor of 'round Midnight, my arguments
> in favor of 'Round in the middle with some people concurring with that,
> and trailing arguments for "just follow artists intent."
>
> But more so I am disturbed that many just don't value good arguments
> and/or research in the discussion.  Many weigh in with "I like this" or "I
> don't like this" and "I have no idea why" or even "Obviously there is no
> rule."  Not that that is totally unacceptable (except for the last
> statement, which IS), but we should try to do a lot better.   The
> Wiki-model works not just because it is a democracy, but because it is a
> democracy of people who are willing to do the necessary work to create
> knowledge.
>
> So, if what I am saying is true, then the real problem (and the real
> reason the list might be broken) may be people who don't have the patience
> to read other people's arguments and just want to broadcast their own,
> people who make willfully uninformed or unpragmatic arguments, and people
> who essentially want to say "shut up, I am tired of hearing about this
> already."  (Switching to a message board would certainly help alleviate
> that last problem, since every single message will no longer be broadcast
> into one's mailbox.  And it becomes much easier to reread the past and
> digest what has been said.)
>
> Or, to wrap up, good job Michelle.  You go girl, I hate Pink Floyd too.
>
> -D
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Musicbrainz-style mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.musicbrainz.org/mailman/listinfo/musicbrainz-style
>



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Re: RFC: english capitalizationofshortenedwordsbeginingwith a single quote

Chris B-2
In reply to this post by autodave
On 03/09/06, Dave Smey <[hidden email]> wrote:
> But more so I am disturbed that many just don't value good arguments
> and/or research in the discussion.  Many weigh in with "I like this" or "I
> don't like this" and "I have no idea why" or even "Obviously there is no
> rule."  Not that that is totally unacceptable (except for the last
> statement, which IS), but we should try to do a lot better.

off topic, but it depends on the discussion. here is IMO a good
example of a discussion where it IS just down to personal preference.
of course there are plenty of perfectly valid arguments you can use,
but in the absense of any authoritative english captilization rules
that *specifically* deal with this situation (ergo, that last statment
would be acceptable to me - didn't i say it anyway?), non of them are
deal breakers.

you talk as if personal preference ("i (don't) like this") have no
merit. i don't think i would go that far. of course research
(real-world usage) is valid, but the real question is WHY they used
the method they did? IMO it's...personal preference.

back on topic, i would go with michelle's reasoning. i think the
arguement that a lot of titles don't have these apostrophes is
compelling. i never looked at it like that.

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