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Capitalization redux

I am fascinated by the results of the capitalization poll I posted earlier this week. We are narrowly split on whether Medieval or medieval is correctly capitalized. The split crosses nationalities and disciplines, gender and age. The only commonality - which should be a meaningless one - is that capitalizers were more likely to respond to the poll more slowly than non-capitalizers.

I've been trying to wean myself off of automatically capitalizing Medieval and Early Modern since my supervisor believes in lower-case adjectives in this instance, and it behooves me to practice consistency. I'd been hoping to see patterns in the poll results, to have some sense if capitalization (or not) was specific to a particular country or era of training. But a poll hasn't told me the answer. If I really want to know, I'm going to have to look further afield - surveys of authoritative texts in our collective field from different places and eras - unless one of you already has some sense of the answer to this. How is it we don't agree on the adjective used to describe our field of study?

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
justinsomnia
Dec. 4th, 2005 04:34 pm (UTC)
I didn't even see that poll! My understanding is that they are lowercase when you are just referring to the time period, e.g. I study the medieval time period. But it's capitalized when it's a title, e.g. I have a degree in Medieval Studies.

Why you don't do the same thing with the Renaissance, I don't know. And the capitalization of medieval Latin is often another source of confusion.

Do you have enough people for copy editing your diss? I don't know if I can do it ;-(
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )