Brazil nut: upper case?

  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It could be either. At a certain point, words that were originally proper names or their adjectives are so far away from the original place that we don't really associate them with that place any more. They can be written lower-case: for example, french windows, french polish, siamese twins, dalmatians, holland covers. I'm not sure how I'd write this nut, actually.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I agree that it looks fine in lower case.
    Sorry, I've now changed my mind. When googled, the tree seems overwhelmingly to be described as Brazil nut, not because of the genus but because of the name of the country.
    The same applies to French windows, which is capitalised in the Merriam-Webster (US) and Collins and Oxford Concise (BE) dictionaries.

    The question is really do we have to conform to what the dictionaries tell us. I would write brazil nut if the reference was to the nut.
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    :eek:
    So how can we rationalize these, for a (non-) native speaker/writer? Until I thought about this, it was so clear - always capitalize. Are the food items as french fries, french toast, french roast coffee and french salad dressingare part of French cuisine. How about French wine? That said, I would see brazil nut as looking weird. (spellchecker agrees - ha!)
    Wait a minute - this is the English language and I'm expecting rational explanation?
    I think the preference of (many, most ?all) other languages never to capitalize has some merit :D
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Julian, I'm guessing that your realize that none of those foods are part of French cuisine, but some of the other readers may not. Three lashes with a wet danish pastry (what the Danish call vienna bread). ;)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    D'oh! So that's why they're not capitalized - they're not actually French?

    But seriously though, folks, are we left with only authentic language, geography and nationality type issues that do get capitalized and other things not?

    Bring on the danish - how about a berliner :D
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'd write brazil nut (french fries, dutch treat, japanning, etc.) Unless I forgot.
    But for me those would be Brazil nut (chips, Dutch treat, japanning, etc.)

    and

    JulianStuart said:
    Bring on the danish - how about a berliner

    Bring on the Danish pastry (never Danish alone) - how about a jam doughnut

    I would never write french toast, but always French toast, and my relaxing glass may well hold a Napoleon.
     

    Nanon

    Senior Member
    français (France)
    Woaow! I did not expect to start such a discussion :).
    So how can we rationalize these, for a (non-) native speaker/writer? Until I thought about this, it was so clear - always capitalize.
    The text I was reading is AmE. It is not about food - it is a review about natural oils used for cosmetics.
    I asked out of curiosity. However I have some ground to suspect Brazilian producers of this oil to proudly capitalise their home country :).

    Are the food items as french fries, french toast, french roast coffee and french salad dressingare part of French cuisine. How about French wine?
    That may be food for another thread... French wine only indicates the country of origin, not a particular kind of wine, unlike b(B?)razil nuts. All the other items are a non-exclusive part of French cuisine, starting from the fries (the world's best fries are Belgian :D).

    I think the preference of (many, most ?all) other languages never to capitalize has some merit
    This may not be the right place to discuss languages other than English, but some use adjectives (brazilian instead of brazil) and apply their respective capitalisation rules.
    That said, many words function as more than one part of speech in the English language...

    Wait a minute - this is the English language and I'm expecting rational explanation? :tick::thumbsup::D
    That's one of the things I love about English!
     

    Nanon

    Senior Member
    français (France)
    Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, ewie! I didn't perform the right search...
    I mean, I considered Brazil as a noun used to name a country, not as a possible adjective, and my eye did not perceive Brazil nuts in the same way as french windows.
     
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