8

In English, several types of words are capitalized in titles that are not normally capitalized. In German, are words capitalized in the same way? And if not, how are they capitalized?

  • well, regarding the Fact all Nouns are already capitalized ))) – shabunc Jun 27 '17 at 10:24
8

In German there are no extra rules for capitalization of titles. This means: Titles are capitalized exactly according to the same rules as any other German text.

Rules of thumb:

  1. Standard: All words are written with lower case characters only.
  2. Exceptions from that standard:
    2.1. The first letter of all nouns is always written as an uppercase letter.
    2.2. The first letter of the first word in a sentence is always written as an uppercase letter.

There are also other rules, that clarify which word takes the role of a noun in a sentence, and which one doesn't, which can be quite tricky sometimes, and of course you can also use CAPS LOCK, which means: write everything in uppercase letters only, but you can do this in titles as well as in normal texts.

I give you an example:

There was a movie with this English title:

enter image description here
Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines

As you can see, all words except "in" and "their" have been capitalized. The German title of this movie is:

enter image description here
Die tollkühnen Männer in ihren fliegenden Kisten

You can see: Only three words are capitalized:

  • Die
    Because it is the first word
  • Männer, Kisten
    Because they are nouns

All other words are neither nouns nor the first word, and therefore written all in lowercase letters.

  • To me, this seems weird, as in English, "Flying Machine" is a compound noun meaning "Aeroplane", rather than being treated as an adjective and a noun. Compound nouns cause headaches for people trying to write automatic title-case scripts for English, as it should be "The In Crowd" but "Alice in Wonderland". Is treating them as separate words a translation error, or does German not have the concept of compound nouns? Knowing nothing about German, I'd have expected Fliegendenkisten or Fleiderkisten or somesuch. – Dewi Morgan Mar 5 at 4:43
  • 1
    @DewiMorgan: German has lots of compound nouns. The longest ever used in an official document was the title of a law: Grundstücksverkehrsgenehmigungszuständigkeitsübertragungsverordnung. But "flying machine" translates to "fliegende Maschine" and in the movie title Kiste (engl: box) was used as funny sounding synonym. A compound German word would be Flugmaschine, but Flugmaschine is not "flying machine" in English. "Flugmaschine"*is *"flight machine". – Hubert Schölnast Mar 5 at 7:56
  • Interesting, thank you! So it is a good translation, which deviates from using identical grammar, in order to far better depict the feeling of the English title :) – Dewi Morgan Mar 5 at 17:39
13

I am not aware of such extra capitalization for titles in Germany.

As far as I know, titles are capitalized like any normal sentence. Or they are ALL CAPS, of course.

  • 4
    All CAPS in a title is more a question of typography rather than orthography - But basically, your answer is correct. Note that punctuation is different in titles, normally, but that is the same in English. – tofro Jun 26 '17 at 19:40
  • @tofro: Correct, it is more a typographical issue, but the result is the same and then you can't judge the capitalization. Anyway, all caps are not so usual. And indeed, you don't punctuate titles the same way. You omit the final period, for instance. – Rudy Velthuis Jun 27 '17 at 9:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.