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Thread: Rules for upper/lower case in Russian, re: proper nouns, etc

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    Rules for upper/lower case in Russian, re: proper nouns, etc

    I'm trying to write a peice of software that needs to recognise proper nouns in Russian.

    Their main characteristic seems to be that their initial letters are always upper case. Is this always so?

    What are the rules for the case of the initial letter of a word after the various punctuation marks?
    In English, words preceded by ? or . or ! or ( are upper case.

    I may be wrong about ( as I don't write formally in my own language very often.

    In Russian, should the word after « or or ( etc always be upper case?

    Knowing when words (that may not be proper nouns) start with an upper case letter will help my software recognise proper nouns.

    Thanks!

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    Почтенный гражданин xXHoax's Avatar
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    Have you seen Russian use the ,, Text '' type of quotes? I know German uses that but I haven't seen Russian do it.

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    Почтенный гражданин Soft sign's Avatar
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    Both in English and in Russian, sentences start with an upper-case letter.
    The characters ? ! and . usually separate sentences (unless . marks an abbreviation). Ellipsis also can mark the end of sentence. So you cannot tell if a capitalized word is a proper noun if it follows ? ! . … or is located in the very begining of the text.

    Parantheses ( ) do not require capitalization of the text inside. If a whole sentence is inside parantheses, it is capitalized. If parantheses are used inside a sentence, the words inside are not capitalized. So parantheses are “transparent” for capitalization. You can remove them from the text before the analysis.
    Quotation marks «» (several other characters can be used including „” “” "") are similar to ( ), but they can mark direct speech (starting with an upper-case letter) inside a sentence. In that case, « is precieded by : e.g. Он сказал: «Пошли». The word пошли here is not a proper noun.
    If there’s no colon before the qotation mark, « » are “transparent” for capitalization.
    (dash) can also mark direct speech, but it is “transparent” so the capitalization depends on the presence of ? ! . … before the dash.

    The words for week days and months are not considered as proper nouns and not capitalized in Russian in contrast to English. E.g. вторник, апрель (cp. Tuesday, April).
    The same is true for the names of languages, nationalities and ethnicities. E.g. русский, английский, англичанин (cp. Russian, English, Englishman).

    The difficult case is when a proper noun consists of more than one word. Individual words composing such a proper noun can be either capitalized or not. If capitalized, they on their own can be proper nouns or not.
    Such cases are quite rare, and I don’t think one can easily tell them apart, so don’t bother.
    Lampada, grafrich and maxmixiv like this.
    Please correct my English

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    Завсегдатай maxmixiv's Avatar
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    grafrich likes this.
    "Невозможно передать смысл иностранной фразы, не разрушив при этом её первоначальную структуру."

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    Blimey! That is very complicated, got lost in there quite quickly...

    Thank you Soft sign, that is exactly the sort of information I was hoping to find. I didnt expect it to arrive so promptly! You seem to understand the problem very accurately; are you a software enginmeer or programmer of some sort? I'm not, I'm just following an idea.

    Anyway, thanks for the replies, I can get on with designing now...

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    Почтенный гражданин Soft sign's Avatar
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    One more thing.
    Words with every letter capitailized can be either proper nouns or common nouns (just like in English).
    E.g.:
    США (Соединённые Штаты Америки) — ‘USA’, a proper noun;
    МРТ (магнитно-резонансная томография) — ‘MRI’, a common noun.
    Unfortunately…
    Please correct my English

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