French Capitalization

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Massenetique
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French Capitalization

Postby Massenetique » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:30 am

We need to conform to a standard in capitalizing French titles. The library standard is only the first word is capitalized, even if it is an article, and only proper nouns thereafter. For example: L'enfant et les sortilèges, L'heure espagnole, Le roi de Lahore, Le tribut de Zamora, Les Turcs, Les Troyens ... This is by far the most common method when searching WorldCat and is also the system used by the Grove Dictionary of Music. Too many contributors are making their own rules and even going so far as to immediately move a page upon its creation to fit their system, often resulting in a hodge-podge of redirects that leaves the correct page unable to take its place as default. Case in point: Gabriel Dupont's "Les heures dolentes" is stuck as "Les Heures dolentes" because of people redirecting between all the various capitalizations. Can we get a definitive answer from the admins? I thought this had been resolved long ago but it needs clarification. Thank you. --Massenetique

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Re: French Capitalization

Postby Davydov » Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:08 am

Yes, we do need a standard, but the trouble is that there seems to be more than one system in general use, as indicated by these websites:

http://french.about.com/library/writing ... titles.htm
http://www.howard.edu/library/assist/gu ... .htm#Works
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(MUSTARD)#Titles_.28classical_music_and_opera.29

It would be helpful to have advice from our native French speakers on this, and maybe someone could seek opinions in our French forum as well as here. Mon français n'est pas bon, malhereusement :oops:

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Re: French Capitalization

Postby pml » Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:50 pm

The possible problem with soliciting the advice of our French speakers is that like the multiple library standards, there seem to be different ideas on the subject even amongst the French. When tidying the pages of Hector Berlioz for example, where capitalisation is concerned I’ve been slightly guided by Hugh Macdonald (lower case apart from proper nouns) rather than D. Kern Holoman (Titles Generally in Upper Case), thus L’enfance du Christ, rather than L’Enfance. (It’s sad but true that many of Berlioz’s keenest fans generally tend not to be French.)

Of course, as soon as I’d done that, someone came along and changed a few of the titles back to following the “all upper case” convention, so that the titles are largely inconsistent in following one or the other standard.

We can’t win on this: even if we do standardise, someone who follows the “other” standard will inevitably come along and change things. But by all means, let’s have a sensible standard.

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Re: French Capitalization

Postby Carolus » Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:02 pm

Here's what the Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.) states (page 320):
The University of Chicago Press recommends following a simple rule: In any language by English, capitalize only the words that should be capitalized in normal prose. For all the languages in question [languages using the Latin alphabet] this means capitalizing the first word of the title and of the subtitle and of all proper nouns; in addition, it means capitalizing proper adjectives in Dutch and common nouns in German.
This is actually a different rule than the one used for English titles (known as headline style, page 282), where
the first and last words and all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinating conjunctions (if, because, that, etc.) are capitalized. Articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor), and prepositions, regardless of length, are lowercased unless they are the first or last word of the title or subtitle. The to in infinitives is also lowercased. Long titles of works published in earlier centuries may retain the original capitalization, except that any word in full capitals should carry only an initial capital. No word in a quoted title should ever be set in full capitals, unless it is an acronym, such as WAC, UNICEF, or FORTRAN.

Massenetique
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Re: French Capitalization

Postby Massenetique » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:48 am

I think "sentence capitalization" as I described in the first post, and as Carolus has quoted from the Chicago Manual of Style, is the most elegant and straightforward and a brief search of WorldCat will show that it is the most widely used by libraries as well. Does anyone object to its use as the standard for IMSLP?

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Re: French Capitalization

Postby Davydov » Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:42 am

That would be consistent with the scheme used in English Wikipedia, which is:

For Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese titles, capitalize only the first word and any proper nouns (names of particular people or places) in that language, e.g. Al gran sole carico d'amore, Cinque variazione, Quatuor pour la fin du temps, Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus, Le martyre de Saint Sébastien, El amor brujo (music); Ugo, conte di Parigi, Le nozze di Figaro, Les mamelles de Tirésias, Les contes d'Hoffmann, Margarita la tornera, La vida breve, Veinticinco de agosto, 1983 (opera).


Should we also apply this to titles of works that start with a number, e.g. "6 Morceaux" vs. "6 morceaux"?

Incidentally, the same Wikipedia page has guidelines for the capitalisation of English titles, which we should probably give some thought to as well.

Massenetique
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Re: French Capitalization

Postby Massenetique » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:31 am

I think because IMSLP does not consider the number part of the title and pieces are alphabetized as such (ie. 6 Morceaux is under "M", not "S"), then perhaps we should capitalize the word behind the number, treating it as first word of the title?

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Re: French Capitalization

Postby Davydov » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:43 am

Massenetique wrote:I think because IMSLP does not consider the number part of the title and pieces are alphabetized as such (ie. 6 Morceaux is under "M", not "S"), then perhaps we should capitalize the word behind the number, treating it as first word of the title?


I'd go along with that, unless anyone strongly objects?

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Re: French Capitalization

Postby pml » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:58 pm

I know we don’t have any of Messiaen’s work on IMSLP, but how many times can you recall seeing one of his works listed upthread as:

20 Regards sur l'enfant-Jésus (and sorted under R!)

rather than

Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus (sorted under V!)

How do libraries sort cases like this? Surely not the former!?

Regards, Philip
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Re: French Capitalization

Postby Davydov » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:23 pm

The Library of Congress uses
Vingt regards sur l’Enfant Jésus


... so this is considered a distinctive title (i.e. not a suite of 20 pieces called "Regards sur l'Enfant Jésus" !). The capital "E" on "Enfant" is a little surprising though.

For collections of pieces where the title starts with a number, the number is completely ignored under the same system, so Messiaen's "Trois petites liturgies de la présence divine" is catalogued simply as "Petites liturgies de la présence divine", etc.

Massenetique
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Re: French Capitalization

Postby Massenetique » Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:04 pm

A similar problem arose when I recently uploaded a Delibes operetta entitled "Six demoiselles à marier" (Six maids to marry) -- IMSLP automatically dropped the Six and alphabetized it under "D." This is of course quite incorrect but I don't know if there's a way to fix issues like that -- can admins force a work page to categorize differently than the default?

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Re: French Capitalization

Postby KGill » Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:26 pm

There is the Defaultsort template (you'd put it at the very bottom of a work page, past the end of the page template: {{DEFAULTSORT:Six demoiselles à marier (Delibes, Leo)}}). However, I think it doesn't work any more. There's a similar problem (well, actually the opposite) with Eine Alpensinfonie and Ein Heldenleben, which should probably not be sorted under E...

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Re: French Capitalization

Postby pml » Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:12 am

Yep, to get around the {{DEFAULTSORT:}} bug requires adding [[Category:<category>|<sort field>]] to every single category the page is sorted under, which is a fookin’ nightmare. (Sorry for the vulgarity, but I don’t view the inability to override sorting as helpful!)

As for the “Vingt regards” – but isn’t it actually structured as a suite of 20 pieces? How then does that differentiate it from the Trois petites liturgies? ;-)

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Re: French Capitalization

Postby Davydov » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:38 am

pml wrote:As for the “Vingt regards” – but isn’t it actually structured as a suite of 20 pieces?


As far as the Library of Congress rules are concerned, that just happens to be a remakable coincidence! :)

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Re: French Capitalization

Postby pml » Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:18 am

:roll:

For that matter, what does the LoC say about Berlioz’s Huit scènes de Faust ? A little while ago someone moved this page to 8 Scènes de Faust and I had difficulty reining in a response of SIWOTI and moving it back to where it previously was.

Is there a case for having a general rule (numbers in titles should be given in arabic numerals) with guidelines to interpret when the rule should be broken?

I don’t know what I’m arguing any more. My brain’s gone on a holiday this afternoon.

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