I casually run into a strange spelling of German, I suspect it was just an experimental one. If you open a volume of the Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum und deutsche Literatur of the 20s (for example here) you'll notice that not only it lacks capitalization of nouns, but even at the beginning of the sentences the capital letters were abolished. They were only used for proper names. An example is attached below. What I wish to ask is some reference to the history of this spelling: who was the proponent? how did it end? enter image description here

  • Thanks for asking, I too was wondering because it's also like that in the FEW (Französisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch). The answer talks about philologists, which is spot on considering what the FEW is. I'm ashamed to say that it's only when I posted a Q. here that I learned about the rule for capitalizing nouns, as well as for the direction of quotes » x «. In my defense where I come from we know very little about the German language and Germany generally. A shame.
    – user19299
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 19:14

1 Answer 1


Such a spelling was proposed by the Grimm brothers in the early 19th century. It gained some popularity among philologists, but unfortunately, it did not catch on.

  • Could you add some more details? Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 16:08
  • 5
    "Unfortunately" - not sure. I find un-capitalized German text much harder to read than properly upper-cased sentences.
    – tofro
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 16:09
  • 2
    @tofro: That is what many Danes said as well – before they abolished noun captalization (the Germans were not the only ones). Afterwards, nobody missed it.
    – mach
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 16:17
  • @mach the most surprising here is the uncapitalized beginning of the sentence. I think this is the only known case in the modern European languages and orthographies. Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 16:33
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    @userunknown same can be said about many other European languages. Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 23:10

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