Hi Sean -
At 12:05 29/07/1999 +1000, you wrote:
>What do people think of the issue of capitalising common names as opposed to
>not e.g. Red Kangaroo as opposed to red kangaroo?
I can sympathise with your dilemma of trying to decide which policy (to
capitalise or not to capittalise) to use if you are producing books for a
market with a huge north American component (where the tendency not to
capitalise English names has gone farthest). With at least one of the
magazines you mention as NOT captalising, I think the reason is patent -
the editorial policy was set by an editor imported from overseas.
However, my own view is definite on this one; I agree completely with Phil
Battley - if you are referring to a particular species you CAPITALISE. Not
to capitalise is to create ambiguity - a red kangaroo may be a
spray-painted Eastern Grey. Calling the yellow form of the Crimson Rosella
a crimson rosella is plain ludicrous. What is a brown thornbill, a grey
wagtail or a singing honeyeater? Have you ever seen a short-billed
dowitcher? Not to capitalise not only causes ambiguity and degrades
information content, it debases the English language.
You gotta stand firm on this one, Sean.
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