Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 12th Jan 2010 13:31 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Every now and then on OSNews, we discuss typography and language. Despite the fact that many think it's not relevant for computing - it most certainly is. Whether you're browsing the web, reading email, or chatting over IM - the most common element on your computer screen is typography. Today, I want to discuss something we barely have in my native language: small capitals.
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earksiinni
Member since:
2009-03-27

Thom, one of the things that keeps me coming back to this site is your sharp eye for the synergies between language and computing.

A very enlightening article, indeed, although I really like small caps. I've noticed that in the US it is practically a sine qua non when it comes to certain formatting niches, like lists of editors in journals. I discovered that while I was Editor-in-Chief of Foundations, an international undergraduate academic history journal (http://www.jhu.edu/foundations, all English-language submissions are encouraged!), during my undergraduate years, and you can see what I mean if you visit the link and download the PDF of the Spring 2009 issue. Of the editors, I probably had the most experience working with layout, and yet because I was never formally trained I was ever finding out new things about how my mind interprets formatting and its quirks. The proper use of small caps was one of these cases which I had to learn through trial and error, and undoubtedly the subliminal gratification it engendered when put to use properly is caused by the typographical milieu that surrounds me.

I just wanted to make one small correction, because the error was idiomatic yet subtle--it made me chuckle a little at how complex language is, because the sentiment and grammar and everything make perfect sense, and yet it is still "off":

"tout my own horn"

It really should be "toot my own horn". Touting your own horn makes you sound like a horn hawker ;-).

EDIT: I just saw ricard's comment about printed academic journals and JacobMunoz's observation about the seals, both of which are dead on. I might also add that the headers of pages in (old academic?) books that have the running chapter or book title are done in small caps, and I can confirm this in English as well as Portuguese and some Turkish books.

Edited 2010-01-13 05:13 UTC

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