In English, it is written as Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday and January February March April May June July August September November December. On the other hand, in Romance languages like Italian, it is written as lunedì martedì mercoledì giovedì venerdì sabato domenica and gennaio febbraio marzo aprile maggio giugno luglio agosto settembre ottobre novembre dicembre. In Romance languages, there is no capitalization for the days of the week, months of the year, languages, and nationalities. However, there is capitalization for names of people and names of places in all languages. How did the languages end up getting different capitalization rules for proper nouns and proper adjectives?

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    Why are all nouns capitalized in German but not in English?
    – Draconis
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 17:12
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    Capitalisation rules are language specific and can also change over time. There is no reason to expect them to be the same over many different languages. Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 17:37
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    “The same capitalization for days of the week, months of the year, and names of languages and nationalities is followed in all Germanic languages.” — Incorrect. Weekdays, months, nationalities and languages are capitalised only in English and German (the latter by default, since all nouns are capitalised in German). In the other Germanic languages (Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, etc.), weekdays and months are not capitalised. Nationalities and languages are capitalised in Dutch, but not the Scandinavian languages. Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 17:55
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    Also, your use of the word “diverge” is misleading – it implies that capitalisation across languages started the same and then gradually moved away from each other, which is not the case. Rather, capitalisation was non-standard in all languages until quite late in history, and different languages just ended up settling on different principles to standardise it. Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 17:59
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    In Italian I was taught to capitalize weekdays and month names. That was a fair number of years ago, and in the meanwhile, standards have changed (although Italian doesn't have a standards body so I assume someone in government mailed all primary school textbook publishers...), but it really is an ephemeral thing. I still naturally capitalize them and I bet so do a lot of other people.
    – LjL
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 18:03

1 Answer 1


The short version is that capitalization standards are actually a very recent invention, compared to when these languages diverged! The idea of capital and lowercase being the two standardized types of letters, with rules for when to use one and when to use the other, really only starts with the printing press; before that, scribes would modify individual letters as they saw fit, for readability or aesthetics.

It's only since the printing press that these conventions have arisen, and different areas just came up with different ones. English eventually settled on capitalizing certain things that Spanish didn't, and German now capitalizes even more.

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    As far as standardising these rules is concerned, I’d say it’s significantly later than the advent of the printing press. Not until the 19th century does capitalisation start to really be standardised. Even in many early-19th-century printed books, capitalisation is pretty random. Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 18:42

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