7

A common way to format titles (of movies, songs, publications,...) in English is to capitalize the starting letter of every word (for example: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).

This practice popular in the current Italian too, but is it accepted by the grammar or is just a recent influence from foreign cultures? In this case

Guida galattica per gli autostoppisti

vs

Guida Galattica per gli Autostoppisti

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    Not necessarily related, but just for letting you know that I will personally find and torture anyone Asking Questions Using Capital Case In The Titles – Gabriele Petronella Nov 5 '13 at 23:40
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    Where did you find something like “Guida Galattica per gli Autostoppisti”? This is certainly not the norm. – DaG Nov 6 '13 at 0:10
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    That was an example I made up, but rest assured somebody somewhere writes it that way. This way of formatting is getting common, and I've been scolded more than once because, apparently, not capitalizing all initials in a title is considered an error by the most. – Cavaz Nov 6 '13 at 7:51
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    Luca, I don't see on what bases 'the most' affirm that assertion, though. – Kyriakos Kyritsis Nov 6 '13 at 7:59
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    Well, mostly from personal experience. But you can see this trend all over the web for instance (well, for sure not in the headlines of the Corriere della Sera), probably because doing it the English has more appeal. My point is what does the Crusca or manuals of style say about it? – Cavaz Nov 6 '13 at 14:11
22

In Italian there is no reason to capitalise words within a title. Quoting from Roberto Lesina, Il nuovo manuale di stile, Zanichelli 2009:

Nei titoli in lingua italiana si usa l'iniziale maiuscola per la prima parola del titolo (ed eventualmente di un sottotitolo), e per i nomi propri che compaiono all'interno:

Il ritratto di Dorian Gray (pubblicazione singola [romanzo])

Illusioni: Le avventure di un Messia riluttante (pubblicazione singola [romanzo], con sottotitolo)

“Il cuore artificiale totale” (articolo su periodico)

In genere, lo stesso trattamento può essere applicato ai titoli in lingua straniera. Es.: Les malheurs de Sophie. Considerazioni specifiche valgono però per i titoli in lingua tedesca e inglese, come di seguito specificato. [...]

To summarise in English, capital letters are used only for the very first word of the title and of the subtitle, if any (and for proper nouns, as always).

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  • Both answers are good IMHO, but this might be better, despite the fewer votes it has now. – o0'. Nov 6 '13 at 8:53
  • It appears that the norm for capitalizing words in a title is only the first word and when a proper noun--name is used. Am I missing something? – David Love Apr 20 '18 at 15:04
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    @DavidLove Isn't this basically what the answer says? – Federico Poloni Apr 21 '18 at 7:07
  • @FedericoPoloni: I agree with you but, in my opinion, it would be a good idea to add an explanation like this in English to the answer. – Charo Apr 21 '18 at 8:37
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    Right, @Charo. Done. – DaG Apr 24 '18 at 16:02
13

Title case is very used in the English language, but it's not a common practice in Italian, where sentence case is much more frequently used.

For instance, this is the original title of an English book

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

(title case)

whereas the Italian title goes as follows

Lo strano caso del cane ucciso a mezzanotte

(sentence case)

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0

Sadly, in Italian, now it is common practice to capitalize words in titles, even if it is forbidden by the italian grammar. My personal explanation is that, seeing so many foreign (mainly english) titles using this style, people tend to imitate without thinking. I also add, not to be offensive, that this behavior is caused by ignorance, the same ignorance that leads many to use, in Italian, the english plural for english words ("Abbiamo spento i computers").

A little proof of what I am saying is the following picture:

Disco di Mina su Lucio battisti

..and this other one, showing the titles of the songs of Sanremo 2020 (and please note the capitalization of every word, even articles and conjunctions):

Retro CD canzoni di Sarenmo

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  • 1
    The first example is of a title in English though, or am I misunderstanding something? – Denis Nardin Mar 26 at 7:14
  • @DenisNardin yes, you are forgetting the texts at the bottom of the cover. I also ask myself why a work entitled and performed by two immense italian artists should have an english subtitle, and, for me, even so this is not enough to write it capitalized. Anyway thank you for being so collaborative. – linuxfan says Reinstate Monica Mar 26 at 10:19

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