[ih] 'Internet' vs 'internet'
touch at strayalpha.com
Sun Sep 30 09:45:29 PDT 2018
Rules like this fail for two reasons:
- disagreement over the rule itself (English in notorious for its exceptions)
- disagreement over how to apply the rule
Consider the cases of the “moon” vs. “the White House”?
in some cases, capitalization has meaning:
"A White House painting” (i.e., an image constructed of paint displayed inside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave) is different from “a white house painting” (e.g., the application of paint to a white house”.
in others, capitalization is not used but the definite vs. indefinite article or other cues provide context:
“The moon’s orbit” (of our moon) is different from “a moon’s orbit” (e.g., of a moon around Mars), but that *requires use of a different article* to be clear.
For the (public) Internet:
capitalization has meaning:
“An Internet user” is different from “an internet user”
use of definite vs indefinite article doesn’t:
“The internet was attacked” and “an internet was attacked” both refer to what we would call ‘intranets using the Internet protocols”, so use of a definite article doesn’t help.
The best argument I have been able to make is that both variants have different, established meanings.
However, AFAICT, news outlets feel that the Internet is becoming positively lunar (looney? ;-)
> On Sep 29, 2018, at 3:02 PM, Richard Bennett <richard at bennett.com> wrote:
> Cute. I remind the offenders of this rule:
> Although capitalization rules can be a bit tricky, rules for capitalizing proper nouns <http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/parts-of-speech/nouns/Types-of-Nouns.html> are pretty straightforward. First, though, it's important to understand the difference between common nouns and proper nouns.
> Common nouns are the general names of people, places, and things. These types of nouns are usually not capitalized (unless they begin a sentence or are part of a title).
> Proper nouns are the names of a specific person, place, or thing. The basic capitalization rule of proper nouns is that the first letters are capitalized.
> http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/capitalization/rules-for-capitalizing-proper-nouns.html <http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/capitalization/rules-for-capitalizing-proper-nouns.html>
>> On Sep 29, 2018, at 3:47 PM, Brian E Carpenter <brian.e.carpenter at gmail.com <mailto:brian.e.carpenter at gmail.com>> wrote:
>> Dear Noel,
>> (Cc:s intentionally intact)
>> I think you should have addressed your letter to "Dear science news editors".
>> Clearly, if the Internet doesn't need to be capitalised, neither does
>> "Science News". For that matter, you could write a similar letter to the
>> editor of the economist, or of the times.
>> Brian Carpenter
>> On 2018-09-30 03:12, Noel Chiappa wrote:
>>> Dear Science News editors:
>>> I was extremely saddened to see, in the latest issue of 'Science News', that
>>> you all have apparently succumbed to the fashion of using 'internet' to refer
>>> to the Internet. While I expect to see this sort of error in general
>>> publications, it's most unfortunate to see a magazine focused on technical
>>> matters make the same mistake.
>>> Let me explain.
>>> An 'internet' is a generally, and widely, accepted technical term for a
>>> collection of disparate physical networks (fiber optic links, wireless
>>> network, Ethernets, etc) connected together with a particular type of packet
>>> switch, called 'routers'. (There are other kinds of packet switch, but they
>>> have mostly fallen into desuetude now.)
>>> The 'Internet' is the massive internet to which most people of the world now
>>> have access. (See how that sentence doesn't make sense without distinguishing
>>> one with the capital?)
>>> There are, however, still many other internets, which are not connected to the
>>> Internet. (Google "air gap" if you aren't aware of this - and again, the
>>> different spelling is crucial to the sentenced being comprehensible.)
>>> The people who invented internets, and the Internet, carefully chose to use
>>> the capital precisely to distinguish between the two. (I recall the
>>> discussion.) The Internet Engineering Task Force, the body responsible for the
>>> technical specifications for internets and the Internet, continues to use that
>>> Just as there are many 'white houses', but only one 'White House', there is an
>>> important distinction between 'internet(s)' and the 'Internet'.
>>> So I hope you will update your editorial guidlines to note that the term for
>>> _the_ Internet is spelled with a capital.
>>> internet-history mailing list
>>> internet-history at postel.org <mailto:internet-history at postel.org>
>>> Contact list-owner at postel.org for assistance.
>> internet-history mailing list
>> internet-history at postel.org <mailto:internet-history at postel.org>
>> Contact list-owner at postel.org for assistance.
> Richard Bennett
> High Tech Forum <http://hightechforum.org/> Founder
> Ethernet & Wi-Fi standards co-creator
> Internet Policy Consultant
> internet-history mailing list
> internet-history at postel.org
> Contact list-owner at postel.org for assistance.
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