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Old Wednesday 16th August 2017, 18:09   #101
Farnboro John
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Originally Posted by kb57 View Post
At the end of the day as has been demonstrated by both sides, this is just a matter of personal preference?

I personally find capitalisation of English names in a document unattractive, a bit 'shouty'; my use of lower-case is deliberate, and not the result of any laziness. I refuse to accept it is 'wrong', but equally I accept that the alternative view has equal merit. So can we just live and let live with this?

Where I think we have to be careful is the attitude to American spellings, which I think spills over into an unnecessary chauvinism. I can understand the desire to preserve British (and Canadian etc.) English spellings ('license' is my personal hate word), but we really need to move towards an international nomenclature for English names of birds. Great northern diver for sure sounds better to me than common loon, and there maybe isn't a lot of logic in splitting Stercorarius spp. into skuas and jaegers. But I'd be happy to use them in the interests of international communication. I might even be persuaded to use capital letters.

And before anyone points it out, I know we'd still have Dovekie in Clements and Little Auk in IOC...so obviously no easy answers...
I think there is at least one easy answer and its the same one as for scientific names: priority. That is to say, nothing named previously by the Old World should be fair game for the New.... no need for chauvinism then.

John
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Old Wednesday 16th August 2017, 18:12   #102
Hauksen
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by kb57 View Post
At the end of the day as has been demonstrated by both sides, this is just a matter of personal preference?
Seen from one angle, it undeniably is - but from another angle, capitalization objectively transfers more useful information.

I would consider it more a question of how one values one particular aesthetic style over a bit of extra functionality.

Personally, I'd probably be as happy with bold-face common names as with capitalized ones, but capitalization is universally available and convenient to use.

And of course, bold-face words might also be perceived as shouty :-)

Regards,

Henning
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Old Yesterday, 12:29   #103
kb57
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Originally Posted by Hauksen View Post
Hi,



Seen from one angle, it undeniably is - but from another angle, capitalization objectively transfers more useful information.

I would consider it more a question of how one values one particular aesthetic style over a bit of extra functionality.

Personally, I'd probably be as happy with bold-face common names as with capitalized ones, but capitalization is universally available and convenient to use.

And of course, bold-face words might also be perceived as shouty :-)

Regards,

Henning
Henning, I guess I value what I perceive, rightly or wrongly, to be both an aesthetically appealing and grammatically valid convention in written English. I take your point completely about ease of reading, especially if you are from a non-native English speaking background (although I have to say your written English appears perfect!). I'm afraid I don't read or speak German, but I'm aware that capitalisation is much more extensive and correct in German grammar.
In French (which I do at least read pretty well) the opposite seems true; something I pulled randomly off the web: Le vanneau huppé est présent sur l'ensemble de l'hémisphère nord.
En France, il niche dans les trois quarts nord du pays et hiverne sur la quasi totalité du territoire
Now - turning to my other point - the main barrier to understanding for most non-French (but French-speaking) birders in that passage would be identifying the subject is the lapwing...I agree that capitalisation would help draw attention to it, but what would help even more would be to include 'Vanellus vanellus' after the French name. We have a nomenclature for international communication - although we don't need to use it in an English language bird forum, it would help if we learnt a few more scientific names - botanists and entomologists routinely communicate in 'latin'.
Agree with you on bold face, although I do use bold for emphasis, sometimes when I'm deliberately trying to be shouty (as in 'yaay, I've just seen species x')

Quote:
Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
Not being patronising but you do understand that we're not talking about capitalisng the whole species name, just the first letter of the first word and the species i.e Purple Heron, I don't think that looks 'shouty' at all?


A
I'm sure you didn't mean to be patronising, but I had appreciated that.

What I had in mind was what has already been alluded to elsewhere in the post, which is the propensity of some with a poor grasp of grammar to randomly capitalise for emphasis.
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Old Yesterday, 14:50   #104
Farnboro John
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What I had in mind was what has already been alluded to elsewhere in the post, which is the propensity of some with a poor grasp of grammar to randomly capitalise for emphasis.
Surely if its done deliberately for emphasis, it's not random? Obviously it can be seen as incorrect in that case, but random it ain't.

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Old Yesterday, 18:55   #105
Hauksen
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Hi Kb57,

Quote:
Originally Posted by kb57 View Post
I'm afraid I don't read or speak German, but I'm aware that capitalisation is much more extensive and correct in German grammar.
When it comes to bird names, it's more that the name of a bird is one entity, and the German spelling makes it easy to recognize that (through contraction, not through capitalization):

blue tit = Blaumeise
three-toed woodpecker = Dreizehenspecht
wryneck = Wendehals
red-backed shrike = Rotrückenwürger
black redstart = Gartenrotschwanz
yellowhammer = Goldammer

(Funnily enough, some of the English bird names are actually contracted as well.)

Capitalization of English bird names, as seen in the Collins and the Sibley's, is another way of making the conceptual entity of the bird name recognizable in print, and to discern name-giving adjectives from merely descriptive adjectives.

So it's more than just drawing attention to the bird names - it's making clear what their names actually are. (Just to point out that the two options you listed are not symmetrical ... one has an objective advantage over the other.)

However, I certainly wouldn't suggest that anyone should set aside his personal preference for a certain variant of spelling just because of something like that ... in fact, I'm happy to find people who consider questions of orthography and type-setting important enough to sacrifice a certain amount of utility in favour of aesthetics, because I can definitively relate to that :-)

Regards,

Henning
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Old Yesterday, 23:30   #106
Nutcracker
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Originally Posted by Hauksen View Post
black redstart = Gartenrotschwanz
Black Redstart = Hausrotschwanz

(Gartenrotschwanz = Common Redstart)
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Old Yesterday, 23:49   #107
fugl
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. . .Capitalization of English bird names, as seen in the Collins and the Sibley's, is another way of making the conceptual entity of the bird name recognizable in print, and to discern name-giving adjectives from merely descriptive adjectives. . ..
As I've said in a previous post, I capitalize their names not for any practical reason but because of all the many "conceptual entities" in the world, birds are one of my favorites.

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Old Today, 08:57   #108
Hauksen
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nutcracker View Post
Black Redstart = Hausrotschwanz

(Gartenrotschwanz = Common Redstart)
Thanks for the correction ... I screwed up because here in Germany, the Black Redstart is the common one :-)

Regards,

Henning
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