Date: 10/29/02-05:02:18 PM Z
It appears that, the way our written language works, a proper noun
tends to remain capitalized even when the proper noun evolves into use as a
common noun. Hence, the common "Van Dyke print". There are exceptions to
this sort-of rule. I'm sure that, like you, I've seen daguerreotypes both
capitalized and not-capitalized. Why is that, I wonder? Is it because the
usage has been around longer? That doesn't seem very likely (115 years
compared to 160 years -- big deal). Is it because some people don't
necessarily pick out the word "daguerreotype" as having come from the name of
a person? Language is full of arbitrary oddities like this. Just south of
Albuquerque here there is a small town called Los Lunas. Why not LAS Lunas?
Luna (moon) is feminine. Well, it appears that, regardless of the gender of
the underlying form, a family name is always felt as masculine, at least in
Spanish usage in this area. There are no rules. Language just does what it
does. All attempts to extrapolate grammar, syntax, semantics, and so forth
are merely best shots at hitting a moving target. It is true that writing
and, more especially, printing, slows change down. -jb
Christopher Lovenguth <email@example.com> said:
> Iíve never really thought about this before and my own use of grammar is
> horrible so Iím getting opinions from all of you. When naming a process that
> is named after someone, do you capitalize it? For example, I make black and
> white prints (not Black and White prints) so do I also make van dyke prints?
> Is it different if Iím talking about the Van Dyke process though? Same with
> Daguerreotypes (or is it daguerreotypes?).
> Any thoughts out there?
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