We decided to change the name of our chat room to:

deutschsprachiger Raum

This may leave the impression that names, headlines, titles, and the like are allowed to start with a lower case letter in German. But this is not the case. They must be capitalized in the beginning even if they start with an otherwise lower-case word.

Shouldn't the rule of capitalizing the beginning of names, headlines, or titles in German also be reflected there?

  • If this “may leave the impression that names, headlines, titles, and the like are allowed to start with a lower case letter in German”, then that impression is absolutely right. – chirlu Sep 27 '15 at 9:56
  • It is irrelevant whether it is a title or "similar" (§53) or a proper name (§60) -we always must capitalize the first word, there is no exception to this rule. – Takkat Sep 27 '15 at 11:17
  • As I already demonstrated, there is an exception for proper names, namely, § 60 E2. And there are more exceptions (consider von Ossietzky, a proper name). – chirlu Sep 27 '15 at 11:27
  • Again, these exceptions do not hold for the beginning of a sentence, title, etc. See e.g.: canoo.net/blog/2011/03/03/… – Takkat Sep 27 '15 at 11:35
  • 2
    @chirlu However, although “von Ossietzky” and “von der Tann” are proper names, the name of the street is “Von-Ossietzky-Straße” and the name of the ship was “Von der Tann”. – user9551 Sep 27 '15 at 15:12
  • On my opinion, it should be capitalized, but not because of the grammar rules, but because simply it looks better. (And even from the grammar view isn't it surely a big problem, especially in a title.) Most non-German speaker will think it is title case. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Oct 6 '15 at 18:34
  • On my opinion, the lowercase version isn't okay, non-german speakers will think it is some unpretending thing. Anyways, being a title, there couldn't exist any problem with the uppercase version. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Oct 6 '15 at 18:36

The chat room name is neither a headline nor a work title (there is no general capitalization rule for other titles). It might be a proper name (again, there is no general rule for other names) or not; accordingly, the spelling deutschsprachiger Raum is justified by either § 60 E2 or § 63 of the official spelling rules:

§ 60 … E2: In einigen der oben genannten Namengruppen kann die Schreibung im Einzelfall abweichend festgelegt sein, zum Beispiel: neue deutsche literatur, profil, konkret (Zeitschriften); Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst „Mozarteum“; Zur letzten Instanz (Gaststätte) …

§ 63 In substantivischen Wortgruppen, die zu festen Verbindungen geworden, aber keine Eigennamen sind, schreibt man Adjektive klein.
Beispiele: das autogene Training, das neue Jahr, die höhere Mathematik, die graue Maus, …

I like deutschsprachiger Raum as it is. Let’s keep it that way.

  • While I generally agree, I need to note that I find § 60 E2 very questionable and would advise to ignore it every time as it is allows all sorts of silly capitalisation (like “neue deutsche literatur” or all-caps company names that are not abbrevations (outside of logos)). Note that this rule was written before silly capitalisation became a fad in marketing. – Wrzlprmft Sep 27 '15 at 10:11
  • @Wrzlprmft: I was trying to avoid a lengthy debate to prove it is not a proper name. :-) – chirlu Sep 27 '15 at 10:19
  • All these rules you quoted do not apply for the beginning, i.e. the first letter of a headline, title, etc. – Takkat Sep 27 '15 at 10:27
  • @Takkat: I addressed this (§ 53: “Das erste Wort einer Überschrift, eines Werktitels, einer Anschrift und dergleichen schreibt man groß.”) above when I wrote that the chat room name is neither a headline nor a work title. I understand from chat that you believe it is included by the incredibly vague “und dergleichen”; at this point any choice becomes purely arbitrary, so let’s vote according to our preferences. Note, however, that dictionaries don’t capitalize all their lemmas even though these could easily be considered “the likes” of headlines. – chirlu Sep 27 '15 at 10:42

To follow German capitalization rules our chat room name should be:

Deutschsprachiger Raum


We also want a lower-case compound adjective to be part of our chat room name. To follow capitalization rules the name should then be:

Der deutschsprachige Raum

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