Capital and small letters for interwiki

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This page is dedicated to solve the question related to (native) writing of interwiki links for languages which orthographies say that language names should be written with the small letter at the beginning. This is not related to languages which write language names with the capital letter at the beginning: i.e., this is related to Finish, Italian, Russian, Serbian, etc.; but not to English, German, Dutch, Afrikaans, etc. However, languages from the second group is mentioned in the section "Orthographies".


Arguments for small letters[edit]

  1. Interwiki links can be treated as references. --Millosh 16:07, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  2. The most of languages which writes language names with the small letter at the beginning write the names of the weekdays and months with the small letter at the beginning. It is not correct to write isolated date with the capital letter at the beginning. --Millosh 16:07, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  3. English orthography has a lot of influences to smaller languages. I think that references with capital letters at the beginning are the product of following of English orthography as well as argumenst pro are only the rationalization of that. --Millosh 16:07, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Language names with capital letters in some languages (Finnish) don't mean the language name, but something else. --Millosh 20:13, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Arguments for capital letters[edit]

  1. Interwiki links can be treated as "little headings". --Millosh 16:07, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Interwiki links can be treated as reduced sentences. --Millosh 16:07, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Unified initial letters (ie. capital letters now) look tidy, unlike the proposed list of items initiating with capital or small letter. --Dodo 16:37, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  4. In the design of the page, the headings look good, being under navigation box and toolbox. --Dodo 16:37, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  5. In ALL languages, items on navigation and toolbox lists have initial capital letter, so interwiki links should have to be the same. --ca:Usuari:Viktor 14:41, 14 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]


Languages with orthographies where language names are written with the small letter at the beginning[edit]

  1. Bosnian
  2. Breton
  3. Bulgarian
  4. Catalan (Begin? What kind of begin?)
  5. Croatian
  6. Czech
  7. Danish
  8. Finnish
  9. French
  10. Friulian
  11. German (depending on context)
  12. Hungarian
  13. Italian
  14. Lojban
  15. Norwegian (bokmål)
  16. Norwegian (nynorsk)
  17. Polish
  18. Russian
  19. Serbian
  20. Serbo-Croatian
  21. Sicilian
  22. Slovak
  23. Slovenian
  24. Spanish
  25. Swedish
  26. Ukrainian

Languages with orthographies where language names are written with the capital letter at the beginning[edit]

  1. Afrikaans
  2. Dutch
  3. English
  4. German (depending on context)
  5. Welsh
  6. Tagalog

Languages without orthographies (at least for this case) but with following small-letter rule[edit]

Languages without orthographies (at least for this case) but with following capital-letter rule[edit]

Languages without orthographies (at least for this case) and without following any rule[edit]

In this case community decision makes orthography rule. --Millosh 16:51, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]

  1. Latin

We don't have a data for language orthographies[edit]

  1. Albanian
  2. Portugese

Talks and decisions of communities about this matter[edit]

I went to a lot of village pumps (and I didn't finish with all Wikipedias yet) and asked the question: --Millosh 16:07, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]

I am seeking for right orthography inside for interwiki links. The question is: Is to correct to write the name of <Language> language "<Language>" or "<language>"? For example, Italian, Serbian, Croatian and Serbo-Croatian would be written with the starting small letter because by orthography of these languages language name is written with the starting small letter. --Millosh 16:07, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]

For further questions I'll say that people should look at this page, as well as I'll add this note on Wikipedias where I asked the question. --Millosh 16:07, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Initial answers are copied from village pumps or from my talk page at sr:. Also, you should note that some of them just answered on my question about orthography and some of them said that they want or not to write interwiki link with the small letter at the beginning. --Millosh 16:07, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]



In this moment just one annonymous user said that it should be with the small letter at the beginning (in Bosnian). --Millosh 16:11, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]


"български" is written with a small letter unlike "English" etc. --Емил Петков 06:12, 13 юли 2005 (UTC)


As has been said for many other languages, català (Catalan in Catalan) is written in small case inside of a sentence. After a dot or in the begining of a paragraph it is, of course, Català. --Viktor 22:32, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

But if we pay attention on the format of the interwiki links we realize that this is a list, and, in a list, every starting word must be capitalized following the catalan rules. Gangleri2001
In Catalan names (noun, and proper name) of humans, animals, or things (real or abstract) are written in Capitals: Català. This word may be also adjective: català, but an adjective is not the name of a language. For example: Viquipèdia catalana (adjective), but Viquipèdia en Català (name of a language). Pérez 08:39, 30 July 2005 (UTC) Post Scriptum: Of course, an adjective at begining a paragraf is written capitalized, and inside the sentence small.[reply]
Post data: Misericordia Cabré, Josep M.ª Fulquet, i Jordi Larios: Diccionari Anglès Català (1983) Enciclopedia Catalana, S. A. Barcelona. Note that they write Català on the cover, but when we look for Catalan (sic), on page 133 they write català, the name of the language; and Catalonia: Catalunya (proper name of a Country).


Community concenzus depends on Polish decision :) (i.e. if Polishes are for small letter, all contributors to hr: which were talking about that are for writing small letter; if not, there is no concenzus). --Millosh 16:37, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]


It should be written "česky" (small letter). --Luděk 06:16, 13. 7. 2005 (UTC)
The correct name of Czech language is čeština. The word česky means in Czech language. --Guy Peters 12:26, 13. 7. 2005 (UTC)

It should be written "česky" (small letter). --Luděk 08:19, 13 јул 2005 (CEST)

Yes, "česky" means "in Czech", as eg. "in English". The name of the language, though, is "čeština" (Czech as language). It is not clear to me how and where you want to change the interwiki names of the language. For me, I am perfectly happy with the current state. --Dodo 16:37, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]


In Danish, the names of languages are written with starting small letter. So it is "dansk". --Sir48 (Thyge) 13. jul 2005 kl. 14:52 (CEST)
See also Olve's exceptions under Norwegian - they apply to Danish, too. --Palnatoke 20:50, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]


Everything referring to a nationality or geographical name should be capitalized in Dutch, including languages. IIVQ (talk) 10:14, 29 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]


In Esperanto, languages not deriving from a people or place name are almost always capitalized. Other languages may be capitalized for clarity. So "Esperanto" is capitalized in E-o. --Yekrats 14:41, 14 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]



That is the case in Finnish language as well. Thus, "suomi" is the correct form. –Kooma 13. heinäkuuta 2005 kello 11:53:39 (UTC)
Suomi with capital letter actually means the country Finland and not the language. --Nikerabbit 19:00, July 13, 2005 (UTC)


In french a language name is written with a starting small letter : français. Roby 13 juillet 2005 à 13:33 (CEST)
But the inhabitant will get a capital letter : a Frenchman => un Français. 13 juillet 2005 à 13:40 (CEST)

Friulian (furlan)[edit]

Sabine Cretella from it.wiktionary said that Furlan should be written with the small initial letter. --Millosh 17:41, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Yes, normally it's in lowercase, if you encounter in the middle of a sentence; in this case, in a list, even uppercase doesn't appear so odd, it's like the beginning of a sentence. Therefore probably we should follow the other similar languages like Catalan, Sicilian or Italian. Just out of curiosity, the name of the months are written always uppercase instead--Klenje 10:03, 14 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]


It is to be written with a small initial letter. 09:15, 13 јул 2005 (CEST)

(I tend to disagree, if the question is the interlang links at the side! That is a list, and not a sentence. --grin@huwiki)

The situation is similar to the Russian one as outlined by ajvol below. We generally write names of languages with a small initial letter, but there is nothing wrong about starting the names of items in a list with a capital letter since they may be considered titles. — KovacsUr 12:11, 13 јул 2005 (CEST)

It is written by a small initial in sentences, but on the interwiki list it would seem odd with small initials. – (Alensha from HunWiki)


Bahasa Indonesia literally means: "Indonesian language". In Indonesian there is no capitalisation of the substantives (nouns) so actually the word language in Indonesian should be written in lower case: "bahasa Indonesia". However proper names have to be written in uppercase. But since the interwiki links are headers, the capitalisation into Bahasa Indonesia is right as the beginning of a sentence or a phrase must be written in capital. Meursault2004 00:19, 14 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]


There is no standardization for capitalization in Latin. The Ancient Romans used no lower case letters. Later authors used whatever conventions they were accustomed to use in other languages. This continues to this day, and the Latin Wikipedia has not declaired any standard. That said, I think pretty much all of us would agree that the captial L should be kept.
Anyone want to discuss whether or not Latina is the forme juste? ;) --Iustinus 05:46 iul 13, 2005 (UTC)
The case for Latina vs. something else is similar to the #Czech problem of česky ("in Czech") vs čeština ("Czech language") ... For Latin, too, I think the better form might be "Latine" ("in Latin") rather than Latinum, [sermo] Latinus, or [lingua] Latina (all of which mean "Latin language".
The form, whatever the circumstance, should still be capitalized as is usual for lists in most languages. — 07:32, 16 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Norwegian (bokmål and nynorsk)[edit]

Добар дан Милош, language names are not capitalised in Norwegian. In other words, one would write “norsk (bokmål)” and “norsk (nynorsk)” except for when other reasons (e.g., beginning of a sentence, capitalised lists) underlie the capitalisation issue, in which case one would write “Norsk (bokmål)” and “Norsk (nynorsk)”. Hope this is of help! :-) Olve 13. jul 2005 kl.06:03 (UTC)


Hello! I'm writing in answer to the question you asked on Polish Wikipedia about the spelling of "polski". It is a small letter, as in your native language, and possibly all Slavic languages. There is a rule in Polish to start "nationality adjectives" with small leters. Greetings! You can contact me on pl wiki here: [1]. Selena



In the Romanian language, the name of the language (română - Romanian or limba română - the Romanian language) is written with small letter inside of any given sentence and it is capitalized only if the word is the first one in a sentence.

For instance it is written:

  • "Româna este o limbă romanică." -- "Romanian is a Romance language.", respectively
  • "Limba română este o limbă romanică." -- "The Romanian language is a Romance language."

That does not mean that we, the native speakers of Romanian, are not satisfied with the word română written capitalized or not (română or Română). In fact, used as a single word or as a link, the word română looks better capitalized (Română) because it has the same function as a single-word title.

By the way, in the Romanian language, any first letter of the very first word of a title must be capitalized . The words of the rest of the title must not be capitalized, unless the whole title is written entirely with majuscules. It is a pretty common practice that poem titles are written entirely with capital letters.

  • "Mobilă şi durere" or "MOBILĂ ŞI DURERE" -- "Furniture and Pain" -- a play written by the Romanian playwright Teodor Mazilu, respectively
  • "Daimonul meu către mine" or "DAIMONUL MEU CĂTRE MINE" -- "My Own Daimon Speaking to Myself" a poem by the Romanian poet Nichita Stănescu.

In conclusion, in my opinion, it looks better if the word "română", used as a single word or as a link is capitalized (Română).

Wars 22:27, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]


Yes, we write "русский" in text, but about list it's unclear. Variants:
List with semicolons:
  • итальянский;
  • русский;
  • сербский.
List with points (the list item is sentence consisting of one word):
  • Итальянский.
  • Русский.
  • Сербский.
But in the text-design purposes it is possible to clean both points, and semicolons.
--ajvol 08:03, 13 июля 2005 (UTC)



Similarly as for the languages above [Russian, Polish, Hungarian, etc; from Millosh's talk page on sr:] is "slovenčina" written starting with a small "s" in the beggining. --Maros 11:05, 13 јул 2005 (CEST)


In general, two Slovenian Wikipedians are agreed with the change of the case. (We were talking in Slovenian and Serbian.) --Millosh 17:49, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]


We write with a starting small letter, except, of course, behind dots or in the phrases beginings--Caiser (Mi buzón) 13:46 13 jul, 2005 (CEST)


"svenska" is the proper spelling. Gunnar Larsson 13 juli 2005 kl.08.49 (CEST)
In the middle of a sentence, yes indeed. However, an interwiki link in a menu is not in the middle of a sentence but stands on its own. I don't see the problem with spelling all the names of the languages with a capital letter. / Habj 08:38, 16 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]
It's very common in swedish to have all items in a list lowercase (even initial letters); I've seen both variants and neither is wrong. It comes down to personal preference. Sunnan


  • I'm not an expert in (comparative) orthographies, but please have some ideas: in Ukrainian you write the name of the language starting from small letter but almost always you should add the word "мова" (that is "language") after to avoid any misunderstandings --Pavlo Shevelo 16:02, 14 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]




To vote or not to vote?[edit]

  • I am not sure that we should vote about that. However, if there are a lot of people who don't want such implementation, I think that we should vote (or to conclude that this question is not solved, or to conclude that we should not change anything). --Millosh 16:07, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]


  • I prefer not to change the status quo or current state in interwiki hyperlinks. --Dodo 16:37, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  • Of course, the interwiki links could be considered to be "titles" or "at the beginning of a sentence," and might therefor be better capitalized anyway. Compare, for instance, how "Main Page" "What links here" "Special pages" and similar links are done in different languages, and I will bet you will find the first letter capitalized. --Iustinus 17:03, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  • How and when was the decision to implement the change made? I can't see any consensus or vote here, or any reference to one. I'm not well versed in rules applying to this kind of changes, so I'm sorry if I'm asking about something obvious, but seeing how appalling the new language list is, I felt an urge to state my dissent somewhere. It doesn't even make sense, as all the other menu items start with capital letters - which was already mentioned on this page! Litawor (talk) 21:49, 18 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I noticed the different captitalization on the English Wikipedia today, I find it strange that there is so few discussion about it - the discussion has been mostly dead the last 7 years - and I am in favour of capitalization, not so much because of any language-ortographical argument, but because of the "list elements start with capitals"-argument, which is connected with a "Mixed case looks untidy"-argument. IIVQ (talk) 10:14, 29 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Languages which have to have interwiki links with small letters[edit]

As I can see, French and Finnish have to have small letter inside of interwiki. French word with capital letter means inhabitant of France and Finnish word with capital letter means Finland. --Millosh 19:17, 13 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Distinction in French is not relevant. --Millosh 06:13, 14 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]
But in all languages, including Finnish, I suppose, at the beginning of a sentence language name will be written with capital letter anyway. So even in these "problematic" languages the rule isn't that absolute and it would be orthographically correct to use capital letter in situations, mentioned by Iustinus above. On the other hand, writing language name with small letter in some languages (such as English) is an error in any sutuation. Taking into account that the mix of starting capital and small letters in one list may look odd, my opinion is that all starting caps are preferable. Jinma 00:21, 15 July 2005 (UTC) (native lang: Russian)[reply]
This is exactly the case with Finnish. No one in the finnish wiki community has (at least not before this) been bothered by the capital letter and there is virtually no sign to indicate that the community would care to change it. Samulili 09:34, 15 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]