Capitalization

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Capitalization

Postby maverick-99 » Tue May 31, 2011 9:54 am

Hi everyone, I have a sort of random question and I'm not even really sure that this is the correct forum, but here it goes.

When writing about Tolkien's world and his creatures, is is appropriate to capitalize races such as Orc, Elf, Dwarf, Goblin, etc.? Is Human / Men included in that?

How about when writing about the same creatures, but not taking place in Tolkien's world, i.e., your own work of fiction or a game campaign/setting?
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Postby Elmtree » Tue May 31, 2011 10:09 am

I'd think they were common nouns, like "human" and you'd not capitalize them unless you were stressing something or indicating a particular person somehow (like The Great Goblin).
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Postby rwhen » Tue May 31, 2011 10:36 am

And I tend to capitalize them. Like Italians, British, Hobbits, Orcs and Elves.

I don't know if it is right or not, but I see Hobbits, living in The Shire ie Frodo Baggins the Hobbit, the same as Guido Ortelli the Italian.
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Postby maverick-99 » Tue May 31, 2011 11:31 am

^^ that makes sense to me. Look at them more as "nations" rather than "races."
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Postby Morwenna » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:14 am

That probably is the rationale Tolkien himself uses; take hobbits for instance. When he's speaking of the people, it's Hobbits; when he's speaking of persons, it's hobbits. I think he does the same for Men, Elves, and Dwarves. Just my offhand recollection. Though he does on occasion speak of "an Elf."
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Postby ngaur » Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:57 pm

I've always seen them as races rather than nations. I don't know the rules for a race but I would also capitalize when mentioning them as a race, but not when speaking of individuals.

Although in honesty most of the time I'm too lazy to bother and I skip capitalizing.
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Postby Cressida » Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:05 pm

I always capitalize them when speaking of them as peoples/species, especially "Men." That way I can differentiate between "the race of Men" and male human beings.
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Postby Gladhaniel » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:16 pm

For my part, when writing any nationality of Earth, I employ capitalization if it is used as a proper noun (the Germans), but I don't capitalize if the nationality has the role of an adjective (the german people).

So I guess I would use the same technique for Middle-earth. :) I would say: the Elves, the elvish people.
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