Thursday, December 30, 2010


Just bought De Mente's book on Japanese customs, mindsets, and phrases and am enjoying very much. Read on the way home and am reading now. I think I'd be a little annoyed if anyone put out a book purporting to Explain me, but maybe I'm reacting really to the lack of seem. And maybe it's more reasonable to generalize about a more homogeneous population.

Wrote to a copyeditor friend of mine about capitalization in the title. I find I want to capitalize for; it's against the usual rules, but there's something in the sense or weight that seems to justify it, just as we might cap On in "Take On the Challenge". In that phrase, on carries weight; it's not just a little particle that no one cares about, but actually part of the verb, to take on. Maybe it's that have a word for is in itself a kind of extended verb. What do they do to the object? They have-a-word-for the object. I think that's it. Anyway, if we weaken for by not capping it, then it starts to seem (barring italics) that we mean that the Japanese have a word for "it", which is entirely different and in fact not true. It's not that the Japanese have a word for it, but that the Japanese have a word for it.

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