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Italics or not? A question of style.

2020 Camino Guides

JohnLloyd

Author of "Go Your Own Way"
Camino(s) past & future
Francés from SJPDP to SdC - Autumn 2018
Portugués from Porto to Sdc - Spring 2019
Francés again ASAP
Hello all - I hope that you are all safe and well.

I'm making the most of these strange and surreal times by being a bit more creative than usual, and one of my first projects is turning my 2018 Camino Francés blog into an eBook.

I'd like to make sure I'm getting certain things right, so I would like to ask for your opinions.

Should "Camino" be italicised throughout?

What about "albergue"?

The same question applies to "peregrinos" and "hospitaleros".

It seems to me that all Spanish words should be italicised.

Should "Buen Camino" always be capitalised on both words?

I look forward to your thoughts!

Muchas gracias

John
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
English grammatical convention is that foreign language words used in english language texts should be italicised. Presumably to advise the English reader that the word is foreign and therefore requires additional attention (or can be ignored ;) ).
Publishers' conventions suggest that if any number of foreign language words are to be used in a text a glossary should be provided. Which might lead you to some interesting asides as when rendering an accurate translation of Menu Peregrino. At least you'll have no obligation to render "bouff" from the French.

Happy transcribing !
 

JohnLloyd

Author of "Go Your Own Way"
Camino(s) past & future
Francés from SJPDP to SdC - Autumn 2018
Portugués from Porto to Sdc - Spring 2019
Francés again ASAP
Thanks!

What about the capitalisation of Buen Camino?
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Ah .. italics .. true, foreign words in English are italicised - but also the names of novels and films should be ... and it is traditional with us elders to also italicise quotes.

and some use italics for emphasis - but I don't
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
Hello all - I hope that you are all safe and well.

I'm making the most of these strange and surreal times by being a bit more creative than usual, and one of my first projects is turning my 2018 Camino Francés blog into an eBook.

I'd like to make sure I'm getting certain things right, so I would like to ask for your opinions.

Should "Camino" be italicised throughout?

What about "albergue"?

The same question applies to "peregrinos" and "hospitaleros".

It seems to me that all Spanish words should be italicised.

Should "Buen Camino" always be capitalised on both words?

I look forward to your thoughts!

Muchas gracias

John
What are you writing? Blog? Or print?
 

Yoyo

Carpe viam!
Camino(s) past & future
2017: CF 800 km
2019: CF 180 km
Salutation: "Buen Camino".
Affirmation: "I had a buen Camino".
Information: The path from Roncesvalles to Zubiri is a buen camino. Though of course there are those that would argue that neither Roncesvalles or Zubiri need italicising as they are Proper-nouns.
I beg to differ with you here @Tincatinker . :)

Salutation: There ist no capitalization in Spanish, except for the beginning of a sentence or names.
So I would say:
¡Buen camino, peregrino!
Or, in an English text:
Many locals wished us buen camino.
Just like: We climbed into our bunks and wished each other buenas noches.

Affirmation: In a pilgrimage context, I would capitalize Camino (treating it as a proper noun) but use the adjective in English, as it is not part of a salutation.
I had a great Camino.

Information: No need to even use Spanish words in your sentence:
The path from Roncesvalles to Zubiri is very good.
In Spanish, you could say: El camino de Roncesvalles a Zubiri es muy bueno.

And for @JohnLloyd I would add:
When referring to a specific Camino, and using the Spanish names, don't forget about the accents where necessary. Example:
Last year, I walked the Camino Francés. Next year, I hope to walk the Camino Sanabrés. I think the Camino del Norte or the Vía de la Plata would also be wonderful walks.
Same goes for the names of towns and villages: León, Agés, Frómista, Carrión de los Condes, ...
Accents do matter in the Spanish language.
Good luck with your project!
 

Delphinoula

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C.Franconia 2019 C.Algeciras Sevillia 2019
Swabian C. (2020)
As a famous soccer player said: “ Again what learnt.” He is famous for taking sayings word by word from one language to another and so much none sense is created that way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I'm not familiar with how e-book publishing is done but I have some experience with markup in HTML and cascading style sheets. Is this what you use? If so, you can mark a word as foreign and then in one place say what text marked as foreign should look like (e.g., italic, bold, underlined, all uppercase, larger, red or all of the above). Then you need only change the style in one place.
 

Simon B

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles and Camino Frances. VDLP Spring 2019
Hello all - I hope that you are all safe and well.

I'm making the most of these strange and surreal times by being a bit more creative than usual, and one of my first projects is turning my 2018 Camino Francés blog into an eBook.

I'd like to make sure I'm getting certain things right, so I would like to ask for your opinions.

Should "Camino" be italicised throughout?

What about "albergue"?

The same question applies to "peregrinos" and "hospitaleros".

It seems to me that all Spanish words should be italicised.

Should "Buen Camino" always be capitalised on both words?

I look forward to your thoughts!

Muchas gracias

John
One of the problems in these difficult days is we have spare time on our hands. Do not overthink things!!!

Stay safe

SImon
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I personally would not italicize any of the Spanish words that we pilgrims have adopted into our English conversation. It becomes distracting and/or seems like an affectation. Do you think that the reader won't recognize that it is a Spanish word and you are using it as Camino terminology? English is famous for adopting foreign words into our vocabulary, so at some undefined point, they are accepted as English words. Include a glossary if you think people won't understand these terms, or simply give the English translation in brackets after the first usage, and/or put it in quotation marks the first time. Personally, I enjoy some mixing of languages without flagging the differences. If every Spanish work is italicized, the text would start looking cluttered, and you would lose the distinction of using italics for other purposes - e.g. emphasis or naming your guide book.

Use of capitals is similarly inconsistent. One hundred years ago, people used many more capitals than we do now. Proper nouns are generally still capitalized, and the "Camino" is the name of a specific entity, almost like a place name. However our use of "the" before Camino is not consistent with a place name. [Just don't call it "the El Camino."] Further, it is inconsistent with our use of other proper nouns such as "Disneyland" - we say "we are going to Disneyland". We don't say "we are going to the Disneyland."

For capitalizing "B/buen C/camino" - I guess "B" should be capitalized because it starts a quotation. Whether to capitalize the "c" depends on whether
  • You think it is a special expression like "Happy Birthday" or "Happy New Year"
  • You mean "Have a good walk" with the Spanish word "camino" for "walk" or you mean "Have a good experience on the Camino"
There are no clear consistent explanations for these variations. That is what makes English both fascinating and frustrating. (Note that I used italics for emphasis there, not because of foreign words.)

Do not overthink things!!!
I agree with this but admit that I have just done that! Be clear and simple. Try to be consistent and uncluttered.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I personally would not italicize any of the Spanish words that we pilgrims have adopted into our English conversation.
I wonder when you are going to publish a dictionary of Pilgrish that will allow us to decide what Spanish or other words have been adopted into common use by English speaking pilgrims?

On the more substantive matter, Camino is well accepted as a place name or as the name of the activity. Although in the latter case, Camino de Santiago has a reasonable if somewhat less romantic English equivalent in 'The Way of St James'. There might be place names that have both a local spelling and a different English spelling. Lisbon, Florence and Cologne come immediately to mind, but I cannot think of any in Spain right now. Using Lisboa, Firenze and Koln would probably be more correct if one were typesetting for formal publication.

But I think that is the rub. This forum is not expecting its members to contribute with that level of formality. Although some, if not many, of us appreciate it when contributors do use italics for clarity for words that do require to be distinguished from the remainder of the text.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I wonder when you are going to publish a dictionary of Pilgrish that will allow us to decide what Spanish or other words have been adopted into common use by English speaking pilgrims?
I don't see a need for such a dictionary! The author can make those decisions, keeping his/her/their audience in mind.
some, if not many, of us appreciate it when contributors do use italics for clarity for words that do require to be distinguished from the remainder of the text.
I completely agree and I would certainly use italics for this purpose. I just don't think it is necessary, for clarity in an informal account, to italicize the occasional Spanish words. These words would be spoken quite naturally in an English sentence without the use of air quotes or vocal emphasis, at least after one day on the Camino. If the reader doesn't recognize the word as being English, it is a safe bet that the word is Spanish. 🤔 A glossary would then be useful.

However, I am not bothered if the author chooses to use italics for the Spanish words. o_O
 

LesR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017, 2018; Camino Portuguese 2019
The path from Roncesvalles to Zubiri is a buen camino
and then there are those who might argue that it is more a donkey path than a buen camino for significant parts of its length...
 

Harington

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
English grammatical convention is that foreign language words used in english language texts should be italicised. Presumably to advise the English reader that the word is foreign and therefore requires additional attention (or can be ignored ;) ).
Publishers' conventions suggest that if any number of foreign language words are to be used in a text a glossary should be provided. Which might lead you to some interesting asides as when rendering an accurate translation of Menu Peregrino. At least you'll have no obligation to render "bouff" from the French.

Happy transcribing !
"Bouffe" or "bof"? I assume 'bouffe." As in "la Grande ......" However, the reason I am (unusually for me) joining in is that I think convention (this is not grammatical) must be considered in conjunction with typographical usage. Too much in italics is deemed typographically "busy," and should be avoided. Discuss?
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
From a strictly grammatical view, these are all matters of pure personal taste.

Some people viscerally dislike italics ; others view them with kindness, or even pleasure.

Technically speaking, they are a means of providing diacritic information for the purpose of informing readers.

As such, the mistake to be avoided is to use them randomly ; but instead, only with a particular plan whereby an italic script can inform your reader of some purpose that you wish to express through such use.

And that is a variable.

Some texts will, from their very content, be foreign to the use of an italic script.

Others might be suited to some light use of the script, moderate, or even heavy as the case may be -- but always dependent on the prime necessity of cohesion with personal taste and personal writing style ; neither of which can be mandated through 3rd-party diktat.
 
Last edited:

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Ah .. italics .. true, foreign words in English are italicised - but also the names of novels and films should be ... and it is traditional with us elders to also italicise quotes.
Ah, good point -- another common convention is that words or phrases that are underlined in handwritten manuscript should be rendered in print in the italic.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
And for @JohnLloyd I would add:
When referring to a specific Camino, and using the Spanish names, don't forget about the accents where necessary. Example:
Last year, I walked the Camino Francés.
It can be Francès, and that's how I always write it myself ... (how you write it depends I think on how you personally pronounce it in Spanish)

But well, accents rules and points of detail in the Romance languages are a pure nightmare !!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
This is such an important topic for pilgrims! 🤣
Too much in italics is deemed typographically "busy," and should be avoided. Discuss?
Yes. I agree. Save italics for where they are really useful.
Some people viscerally dislike italics ; others view them with kindness, or even pleasure.
Hmmm. I have never thought of italics as an object of such emotions before. Maybe I could work myself up into a fury if I tried. However, today is a beautiful sunny spring day, so I'll save that project for another day. :cool:
 

Yoyo

Carpe viam!
Camino(s) past & future
2017: CF 800 km
2019: CF 180 km
It can be Francès, and that's how I always write it myself ... (how you write it depends I think on how you personally pronounce it in Spanish)

But well, accents rules and points of detail in the Romance languages are a pure nightmare !!
@JabbaPapa: In Castilian Spanish, all written accents have the same orientation: á é í ó ú.
They don't change the quality of the vowel, they only indicate which syllable has to be stressed when you pronounce the word.
[This is not true for French or Catalan where é and è do have different sounds.]

The rules are:
1- Words ending with a vowel, -s or -n are stressed on the penultimate syllable.
Muchos peregrinos cantan en el camino.
2- Words ending with consonants (except -s or -n) are stressed on the last syllable.
Estoy feliz en el parador. ¡Salud!
3- All exceptions to the above rules need a written accent.
El bado cami 30 kimetros a León.

Sometimes, an accent has tu be used on monosyllabic words to distinguish between two different meanings. For example:
el = the (masc.)
él = he
si = if
sí = yes

Sorry if that was too much detail. Couldn't help it. Once a teacher, always a teacher. ;)
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
@JabbaPapa: In Castilian Spanish, all written accents have the same orientation: á é í ó ú.
They don't change the quality of the vowel, they only indicate which syllable has to be stressed when you pronounce the word.
[This is not true for French or Catalan where é and è do have different sounds.]

The rules are:
1- Words ending with a vowel, -s or -n are stressed on the penultimate syllable.
Muchos peregrinos cantan en el camino.
2- Words ending with consonants (except -s or -n) are stressed on the last syllable.
Estoy feliz en el parador. ¡Salud!
3- All exceptions to the above rules need a written accent.
El bado cami 30 kimetros a León.

Sometimes, an accent has tu be used on monosyllabic words to distinguish between two different meanings. For example:
el = the (masc.)
él = he
si = if
sí = yes

Sorry if that was too much detail. Couldn't help it. Once a teacher, always a teacher. ;)
Once you know the simple rules, it's really quite easy to understand the accent marks.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across La Rioja!
I beg to differ with you here @Tincatinker . :)

Salutation: There ist no capitalization in Spanish, except for the beginning of a sentence or names.
So I would say:
¡Buen camino, peregrino!
Or, in an English text:
Many locals wished us buen camino.
Just like: We climbed into our bunks and wished each other buenas noches.

Affirmation: In a pilgrimage context, I would capitalize Camino (treating it as a proper noun) but use the adjective in English, as it is not part of a salutation.
I had a great Camino.

Information: No need to even use Spanish words in your sentence:
The path from Roncesvalles to Zubiri is very good.
In Spanish, you could say: El camino de Roncesvalles a Zubiri es muy bueno.

And for @JohnLloyd I would add:
When referring to a specific Camino, and using the Spanish names, don't forget about the accents where necessary. Example:
Last year, I walked the Camino Francés. Next year, I hope to walk the Camino Sanabrés. I think the Camino del Norte or the Vía de la Plata would also be wonderful walks.
Same goes for the names of towns and villages: León, Agés, Frómista, Carrión de los Condes, ...
Accents do matter in the Spanish language.
Good luck with your project!
And you should always say Maria Bueno fue muy bueno 🎾🎾
 

Michael; Camino-addicted

Take your time to enjoy a beautiful moment
Camino(s) past & future
A few Caminos
Next plan - Camino de Baztan
As a German-speaking pilgrim, I am naturally not familiar with these finesses of the English language.

If I would do it in German, I would only use the Spanish terms that were also adopted by the German-speaking pilgrims on the way, everything else would seem artificial to me.

So we do not call ourselves peregrinos on the way, but "Pilger". Albergue is used as albergue or a "Pilgerherberge".
But hospitaleros are always called "Hospitaleros", we do not use the German word.

Of course I would explain the Spanisch terms once.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
That must have been confusing, being exposed to castellano and català at the same time as a learner!
Catalan has (or at least had in the 1970s) its own regional dialect of Castillano, in addition to the Catalan language. And I will always prefer the dialectal forms that I learned then to standard Spanish.

For similar reasons, many Pugliese regional variations crop up in my Italian.
 

JohnLloyd

Author of "Go Your Own Way"
Camino(s) past & future
Francés from SJPDP to SdC - Autumn 2018
Portugués from Porto to Sdc - Spring 2019
Francés again ASAP
As I suspected, there is no such thing as a straight answer when it comes to these things.

No wonder the Apostrophe Society recently threw in the towel!

I'm nearly done with editing the 25,000 words that will form the basis of the book and I'm comfortable with how the various words in question appear in the narrative - apart from albergue.

That looks silly now in italics, as often as it appears.

Camino does too.

I'll take one more look at it, before submitting to Amazon KDP next week.

On a separate note, I'm going to want to donate some royalties to a relevant Camino charity.

Is there one that you would recommend?
 

Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 x2) (2018) Via de la Plata (1996), Finisterre 2018
As a author who has written a cycling guide to the Camino (Cycling the Camino de Santiago, Cicerone Press, 2019), I follow my publisher's style guidelines when it comes to italicisation and use of upper case letters. These require that only the first appearance of a foreign word be in italics, followed by a standard typeface English translation in brackets; so ...... peregrino (pilgrim)....... Subsequent appearances should be in standard typeface with no translation. Proper nouns, mostly the names of places or people, are not italicised. Italics are also used for quotations and for the names of other literary and artistic works. I always include a brief glossary at the back of all my translated words.

As Camino is always capitalised, where 'Buen Camino' forms a distinct sentence or the beginning of one (ie following a full stop), then both words should be capitalised. Only the first appearance should be in italics. Incidentally I translate this as.....Buen Camino ('have a good walk'), though this could probably start a thread all of its own!

Mike Wells
 

Phoenix

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, CF: partial
2016, CF
2018, CF: partial
2019, CP
@JohnLloyd I wish you the best writing your book, and it looks like you've gotten some good advice in the responses.

I'm working on my next book, this time a novel, and there's a lot of dialogue where both French and Spanish are intermingled with English in the same sentences (I've encountered this several times in both countries). After reading your question here, I did some research of my own. As one posted earlier, it seems best to chose a style and stick with it although it will likely be consistently wrong per another standard.

In playing around with formatting, I've found it helps the readability to italicize the French or Spanish words in the dialogue.
 

josito

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future: When I'm able to, and get my act together.
Hi John,
This following is from a Google search:

Italics are a way to emphasise key points in a printed text, to identify many types of creative works, to cite foreign words or phrases, or, when quoting a speaker, a way to show which words they stressed. One manual of English usage described italics as "the print equivalent of underlining".

It's only a guide. You decide and develop your own style. If I'm quoting speech I'll only use "quotes".

For the words you've used, italics are fine and add variety in the look of your text.

Donovan


Hello all - I hope that you are all safe and well.

I'm making the most of these strange and surreal times by being a bit more creative than usual, and one of my first projects is turning my 2018 Camino Francés blog into an eBook.

I'd like to make sure I'm getting certain things right, so I would like to ask for your opinions.

Should "Camino" be italicised throughout?

What about "albergue"?

The same question applies to "peregrinos" and "hospitaleros".

It seems to me that all Spanish words should be italicised.

Should "Buen Camino" always be capitalised on both words?

I look forward to your thoughts!

Muchas gracias

John
 

JohnLloyd

Author of "Go Your Own Way"
Camino(s) past & future
Francés from SJPDP to SdC - Autumn 2018
Portugués from Porto to Sdc - Spring 2019
Francés again ASAP
As a author who has written a cycling guide to the Camino (Cycling the Camino de Santiago, Cicerone Press, 2019), I follow my publisher's style guidelines when it comes to italicisation and use of upper case letters. These require that only the first appearance of a foreign word be in italics, followed by a standard typeface English translation in brackets; so ...... peregrino (pilgrim)....... Subsequent appearances should be in standard typeface with no translation. Proper nouns, mostly the names of places or people, are not italicised. Italics are also used for quotations and for the names of other literary and artistic works. I always include a brief glossary at the back of all my translated words.

As Camino is always capitalised, where 'Buen Camino' forms a distinct sentence or the beginning of one (ie following a full stop), then both words should be capitalised. Only the first appearance should be in italics. Incidentally I translate this as.....Buen Camino ('have a good walk'), though this could probably start a thread all of its own!

Mike Wells
Thanks Mike - I think you've provided the best solution there - use italics and an explanatory translation for the first instance, and then no more.

That's the ticket.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
These require that only the first appearance of a foreign word be in italics, followed by a standard typeface English translation in brackets; so ...... peregrino (pilgrim)....... Subsequent appearances should be in standard typeface with no translation
As a reader, this is my preference. If the foreign words are always italicized I find it a bit I annoying. I feel like "I got it the first time, quit hitting me over the head with the fact that these are foreign words!"
 

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