Did you know that you can use Chinese characters to write numbers and that’s considered capitalization (大寫)? It’s 零、壹、貳、叄、肆、伍、陸、柒、捌、玖、拾、佰、仟、萬、億
I found a whole website on just punctuation rules from the Education Ministry. The equivalent of “capitalization” in Chinese is really English Proper Nouns, which I learned is called 專名號. For example, people’s names, country names, names of agencies, or you as I tell Thumper, 人名，地名. (there’s more of course such as agency names, but majority is people and places) Apparently 專名號 used to be called 私名號 and it isn’t used in China much anymore except in old texts. It is however, still used in Hong Kong and Taiwan. I think though, if you read Chinese in a horizontal format, you will seldom see proper names underlined. Or maybe adults just seldom underline things. Basically it will be in children’s textbooks, but perhaps not adult books, at least not as strict about it.
The examples from the websites are:
- People Names: 孫中山先生 (Sun Yat-Sun)
- Name of aboriginal tribes: 阿美族 (A-mei tribe in Taiwan)
- Country Names: 美國 (United states)
- Other locality names: 台北 (Taipei)
- Transportation Routes: 橫貫公路 (Taiwan’s Central Cross-lsland Highway)
- Agency names: 教育部 (Ministry of Education)
- School of Thoughts: 桐城派 (some school of thought I have no clue about)
- Buildings: 萬里長城 (Great Wall of China), 狄斯奈樂園 (Disneyland)
- Names of Dynasties: 戰國 (Warring States period)
- Mountains and Lakes: 喜馬拉雅山 (Himalayas)
Sometimes I start on something and then it becomes a rabbit hole that I sink into. The latest research is on capitalization. Now that Thumper is starting to read in earnest in Chinese and really practicing her English phonics, we’re encountering capitalization. I notice that she does not capitalize when she writes. Probably because Montessori starts writing all in lower case. Perfect timing I randomly decided to do this presentation first!
Capitalization in English
Obviously, lots of resources for capitalization in English on the web. I did a quick search and came across quite a few links for exercises. In my research I read that some kids just kind of pick this up as they read, others need a refresher. I printed a bunch of them out for Thumper to practice. The eight rules, according to Montessori for Everyone, are:
- Capitalize the first word of a sentence. For example: Everyone likes the new exhibit at the museum.
- Capitalize the pronoun “I”. For example: The birthday present is just what I wanted.
- Capitalize place names: countries, continents, oceans, states, provinces, towns, cities, and street names. For example: Namibia, Rwanda, and Gabon are all countries in Africa.
- Capitalize the days of the week, months of the year, and holidays. For example: Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday celebrated on the 5th of May.
- Capitalize the words in a title, except for prepositions and articles unless they are the first word in the title. For example: I’ve always wanted to read The Wind in the Willows.
- Capitalize people’s first, middle, and last names. For example: Johann Sebastian Bach was a great composer.
- Capitalize the first word in a quoted sentence. For example: As Abraham Lincoln said, “Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation.”
- Capitalize titles of address, like “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, “Jr.” and “Dr.”, and place modifiers like “St.” and “Ave.” For example: When my brother got sick, my mother took him to see Dr. Green.
How we’re teaching it
I just researched and printed out a bunch of capitalization worksheets. One of them, the Montessori for Everyone one, has the rules printed on top. I asked her if she could think of some rules on why we capitalize and she came up with needing to capitalize “I” and beginning of sentence. We then talked about the rule, then talked about it some more at dinner with Baba. I like having her talk to him about what she learned so I can see how much she recalls. Now we’re going through worksheet one by one because she can’t actually read the English yet. I’m asking her to circle the letters that need capitalization and then tell me why they need to be circled. It’s kind of nice that I’m able to just go through it one on one with her for the first worksheet. I’m leaving her to do the 3 more that I have to see how it goes…
Oh, we had a moment where she said, “oh nooooooo, I made a mistake” and I, having just recently read the Mindset book, said, “….and we can learn from it.” I had to repeat a few times. Trying to implement this new growth mindset thing…even though I didn’t finish the whole book last Friday when I looked through it at the bookstore.
I originally had the Chinese capitalization post in here. But I realized that in itself is a big subject because there are some gotchas for children if they’re learning both languages. As Chinese “capitalization” is just slightly different from English! So you can follow the link and read on…..