Style / Language / Latin

Status: This is an official style guideline.

In English

Because of several historic reasons, there are not very clear rules regarding Latin capitalisation. The usage seems to vary from country to country.

In the interest of uniformity, we have compiled below a set of guidelines. They are somewhat difficult to use for non-Latin speakers, because it's sometimes hard to identify proper nouns. Because of this, you should generally use the capitalisation on the cover, unless one of the following happens: (1) different releases of the song don't agree with eachother, (2) the Latin title in question is in all-caps on the cover or (3) capitalization is not used at all (everything is all-lowercase, including the first letter).

If you find differently capitalized titles (outside the three cases above) and you think there is no specific intent involved, you might still apply the guidelines below. This is just as for the other languages: the guidelines may be aplied, unless there is considerable consensus among releases, and only if you're very careful to get them right.

No matter what the reason, however, always make sure you got it right and ask for opinions. In other words, don't touch Latin titles unless you're dead sure you know what you're doing! It's always a good idea (not only for Latin) to check the list of former mods for an artist; they sometimes contain notes by previous contributors to justify a choice of capitalization.

The rules for Latin are similar to those for Italian. The general rules below apply to Artists, Releases and Tracks:

  • Do not capitalize any word except for:
    • the first word of the text (title).
    • the first letter of a sentence. (Usually after separators like . ! ? /)
    • the first letter of proper nouns: names of persons, institutions, cities, nations, gods etc.

Such capitalization can be achieved using "Sentence Mode" option and GuessCase.

The last rule needs great care: names (proper nouns) are often difficult to recognize because they are declined according to their grammatical roles. Those that are similar to modern names are usually recognizable, but many can be surprising. If you do need to decide the capitalization, please make an effort to find out the meaning of the title, as well as possible, to be able to identify names. Document in the mod notes all your search, with links, so that moderators who vote on the mod can verify your conclusions. Remember, they probably don't speak Latin either!

It would be best to try and ask someone who does speak Latin to check. You may find some here, or ask on the mailing lists for opinions.

Special case: The letters "U" and "V"

Note that often on release covers the letter "U" is written as "V". This usually happens (as it should) only when the text is written in all-caps: "ATHENAEVM" for "Athenaeum", "RVBICON" for "Rubicon". In such cases, write them into the database in mixed-case (as described by the rules above) and use the letter "u" for lower-case and "V" for upper-case.

Recognizing Latin

Often Latin can be "guessed" by its appearance. It usually written with no accents, so if you find any it's probably not Latin; however a bar above signifies a long vocal (as in "laudābam") in modern spelling. Latin normally does not use the letter "J" (instead "I" is used), "u" and "V" are used as described above. The letter "W" should not appear at all. The groups "AE" and "OE" are common too (though they can be found in Romance languages); they are sometimes written as ligatures (Æ, æ, Œ or œ), please use whatever the cover uses in those cases.

You can try googling a few words or even an automatic language guesser (but unfortunately these are often imprecise for short texts, like a song title), or try using online dictionaries or translators to find out the meaning. Many song or album titles are derived from popular Latin quotes, so you might get lucky and find detailed explanations by googling the entire title. (But don't trust their capitalization!)

You may find useful Wikipedia entries for the Latin language and a list of common phrases. While you're less likely to encounter them in song titles, the page on Roman names may be interesting to help identify any proper nouns. Google can also provide good dictionaries and more info

Title Style
Special Cases/Misc.