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Specifically, for song titles.

I know that in English all words are capitalized, except for short function words like “of”, “for” etc. and in Russian only the first word is capitalized, plus proper names, obviously.

But what about French, Breton and Irish?

For example, “Tri Martolod” vs “Tri martolod”; “Cad É Sin Don Té Sin” vs “Cad é sin don té sin”.

  • Can't understand you very well. I could help you. Reexplain it again – Konan Aug 16 at 16:09
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This is more of a language usage question, but since I can't think of another SE site where this question would fit, here goes.

English is the only language I know of that uses title case as opposed to sentence case.

Some specific examples for the languages you asked about:

Gaelic: Ceud soiridh soiridh bhuam (A Hundred Greetings from Me)

Breton: Amañ pell diouzh an trouz (Here Away from the Noise)

French: Quand on n'a plus rien à perdre (When You Have Nothing Left to Lose)

I suppose it would be ideal to have some resource where languages were listed with their capitalization style. Failing such an easy list after some quick Googling, I found another SE answer that links to Microsoft's style guides per language where you could check the "Capitalization" heading for any that you're interested in. For example, I just checked Dutch and Basque and they're also sentence case.

I think European languages all use sentence case, though I'm open to a counterexample. You might also find it interesting that some languages have no case, such as Arabic and Hebrew.

As jlliagre notes, French has more specific conventions that sometimes override sentence case (and even the question of what the first word is can be ambiguous when you begin with d' or l'). I suspect other languages do too — a well-known one is that German always capitalizes nouns — but all are likely set against the backdrop of one of the major case conventions.

  • Thanks for a comprehensive answer! – natewind Aug 16 at 16:36
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    Wait, why is it in title case in the Wiki? br.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tri_Martolod_Yaouank – natewind Aug 16 at 16:44
  • @natewind Hmm, I'm not sure. Looking at the song names in the article on Alan Stivell, most seem to be in sentence case. Looking at the album where he performed Tri Martolod, it would appear that most of the Breton songs are title case. Perhaps there's a Germanic influence (sentence case but capitalize nouns) ? — you'd have to understand Breton to be sure. But if I found mixed results, I'd probably assume sentence case because... – Luke Sawczak Aug 16 at 17:29
  • ... in my experience with a French song collection, if a website has it wrong, it's almost always applying title case where it doesn't belong. See e.g. this Breton band's album on Discogs where every song is title case, even the French — and even the word "Of" in English. This is probably because it's easy to program a rule to capitalize all words but hard to make finer distinctions (this behaviour is even a CSS rule). All it takes is for one site to list "Tri Martolod" for a Wikipedia article to source a spelling. – Luke Sawczak Aug 16 at 17:33
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    French has specific rules for titles (e.g. Le Rouge et le Noir), see french.stackexchange.com/q/12835/1109 – jlliagre Aug 17 at 5:25

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