[Humanist] 26.191 uppercaselessness

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Jul 27 01:25:50 CEST 2012


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 191.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2012 02:28:17 -0500 (CDT)
        From: Alan Corre <corre at uwm.edu>
        Subject: a comment prompted by steven totosy de zepetnek's uppercaseless contribution
        In-Reply-To: <1316603556.7035.1343286973001.JavaMail.root at mail12.pantherlink.uwm.edu>

steven:

i wish i had your courage to eschew almost totally the upper case. in my years of study of hebrew and arabic i never saw any problem in not having an upper case. but of course hebrew has five rather useless "final" letters, (english has a remnant in the "Rx" of medical prescriptions) and arabic has a complicated alphabet, really being a cursive, so humans seem determined to punish themselves.

the opportunity was lost when people realized that computers could handle strings, and the upper case was chosen for initial use. this was a mistake because caps look like SHOUTING, but those folk never realized how important strings would become in the digital world. when ASCII effectively pushed out FIELDATA, and a double set of the alphabet came in, upper and lower, the battle was lost, if indeed it was ever fought. interesting to speculate what might have happened if the early developments had been among speakers of a language with diacritical marks which english happily lacks.

alan





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