Carlsberg: Caps or not?

Discussion in 'Polski (Polish)' started by rbeard, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. rbeard New Member

    US English
    I am editing a Polish spellchecker list using SJP dictionary. It gives Carlsberg in two forms: the name of the company is "Carlsberg" with a capital "C", but also "carlsberg" with a small "c" for the beer itself. It does this consistently "Toyota: toyota", "Cadillac: cadillac". Is this consistent spelling in Polish: company name in caps, product, not?
  2. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    If you're talking about the company or brand/make you capitalise the name:
    Carlsberg [name of a company] to firma produkująca piwo o nazwie Carlsberg [name of a brand] i Okocim [name of a brand]. -- Carlsberg is acompany making beer called Carlsberg and Okocim.
    Fiat [name of a company] jest włoską firmą produkującą samochody. -- Fiat is an italian car-making company.
    Samochody marki Fiat [name of a make] były kiedyś bardzo popularne w Polsce. -- Fiat cars [literally: Cars of Fiat make] used to be very popular in Poland.

    If you're talking about a product of a given brand/make, it becomes a common noun and, consequently, you don't capitalise it:
    Kupił trzy carlsbergi i dwa okocimy. -- He's bought three Carslbergs and two Okocims [for instance: three bottles of Carslberg and two bottles of Okocim].
    Ma fiata i forda. -- He's got a Fiat and a Ford.

    Here's a rule:
    Proces przekształcania nazwy własnej w nazwę pospolitą polega na zmianie pisowni (wielka litera na małą) i/lub jej koniecznym uproszczeniu (polonizacji). Wielkie litery zachowujemy tylko w pisowni dzieł określonych twórców (są to użycia metonimiczne), np. kupić Kossaka (obraz), grać Szopena (utwór), recytować Mickiewicza (wiersz).
    Source: Nowy słownik poprawnej polszczyzny PWN © Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN SA

    So answering directly your question, yes, it is a consistent rule in Polish.

    EDIT: it's done not only with companies or brands/makes vs. products. Compare:
    Głównym bohaterem najsłynniejszej powieści Cervantesa jest Donkiszot/Don Kichot. -- Don Quixote is the protagonist of the most famous novel by Cervantes.
    W swojej najnowszej powieści, XYZ przedstawił losy kilku donkiszotów, którzy nie potrafią dostosować się do współczesnych realiów. -- In his latest novel, XYZ presented the fate of a few Don Quijotes, who can't adapt to the modern reality.

    English handles the matter of capitalising words very differently than Polish, to my experience. For example, very often you see names of products capitalised in English, but if the word changes its status, it often loses the upper case:
    Hoover (ˈhuːvə)
    (Tools) a type of vacuum cleaner

    vb (usually not capital)
    (Tools) to vacuum-clean (a carpet, furniture, etc)
    3. (often foll by: up) to consume or dispose of (something) quickly and completely: he hoovered up his grilled fish.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  3. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    I would like to comment on this subject: The rule presented in the previous post is very often ignored by "ordinary" Polish speakers, who prefer to write Fiat, Okocim etc. also about products. It seems that the rule has not been rooted deeply in the ordinary man's language intuition.
  4. jasio Senior Member

    Probably because it's not that much intuitive. Except for really obvious situations, like "rower" (a common name of a bicycle, derived from Rover brand) or elektroluks (a common albeit obsolete name of a vacume cleaner, derived from Electrolux brand) it's not always easy to figure out whether the word is used as a sort of common name or a brand name.

    Anyway, the spell checker should accept both spellings.

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