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An English translation of the Quran that is as close as possible to the Arabic sacred text
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 Post subject: Capitalization
PostPosted: 12 Aug 2009, 06:57 
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This topic has been split from a translation discussion in which member Pragmatic drew attention to the issue of over capitalization.

I agree with you, Pragmatic, about over capitalization. I don't really have a rule about which words should be capitalized that are not normally in English. In contemporary English, people have taken liberties with capitalization and they capitalize any word they deem important.

Let's agree on a rule set. How about:
  • The word: God,
  • Proper names, such as Muhammad and Mecca,
  • Nouns referring to grand concepts, such as The Garden, Hell, The Beyond, for which there are less grand versions!

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 Post subject: Re: Capitalization
PostPosted: 12 Aug 2009, 15:29 
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Linguistic wrote:
Let's agree on a rule set. How about:
  • The word: God,
  • Proper names, such as Muhammad and Mecca,
  • Nouns referring to grand concepts, such as The Garden, Hell, The Beyond, for which there are less grand versions!

In my mind, capitalization is for names (identifiers). For instance, "God" which is the translation of "Allah" (and the corresponding pronouns He, His, etc.) should definitely be capitalized, but "god" as a translation of ilah (a god) should not. Names of persons, towns, months would certainly be capitalized. Similarly, "Hell" is a specific place so the word is an identifier (as opposed to just being descriptive) and should be capitalized.

The tricky part are words that have attained a special meaning in Arabic because of special religious designation, such as Taqwa or Ghayb. On the one hand, if they are not capitalized, they seem less specific than the Arabic word. On the other hand, capitalizing them may be construed as interpretive, not linguistic. This is worth discussing further.

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