accented characters in French capital letters
Thread poster: Graciela Carlyle

Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:14
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jan 14, 2006

I had a look in my Oxford-Hachete and found some examples of letters where it mentions both "EXPERIENCE" AND "EXPÉRIENCE".
Is there any rule in French that makes it mandatory to use accented characters in capital letters? or is it just a choice?

Thanks in advance!
Grace.



[Edited at 2006-01-14 22:52]


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Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:14
Member (2004)
English to French
Depends of the country Jan 14, 2006

If it's a text for France, Belgium and Switzerland, there are no accents on capital letters. If it's for Canada, there is.

Hope it helps,
Nina


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Bilore  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:14
English to French
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in France too! Jan 15, 2006

Accented capital tend to be a rule in France as well. Have a look at: http://www.langue-fr.net/d/maj_accent/maj_accent.htm
or: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_des_majuscules_en_franais

Have a great sunday!

Christine


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Bianca AH  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:14
French to English
+ ...
Great question Jan 15, 2006

I've always wondered about accents on capital letters - now I know!

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Sylvain Leray  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:14
Member (2003)
German to French
Not exactly Jan 15, 2006

Nina Khmielnitzky wrote:

If it's a text for France, Belgium and Switzerland, there are no accents on capital letters. If it's for Canada, there is.

Hope it helps,
Nina


In France, it is a must, though most people choose not to put accents on capital letters.
The rule is to be found in the "Lexique des règles typographiques en usage à l'Imprimerie Nationale" (Imprimerie Nationale is the official provider for printed materiels for the French Government).

You can find many sites on the internet which give examples where the use (or non-use) of accented capital letters gives a very different meaning to one sentence. It is a funny way to remind that the capitals must be accented.

Sylvain

Edit: Christine's post was not there as I posted mine


[Edited at 2006-01-15 11:09]


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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:14
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
exactly what I needed Jan 15, 2006

Christine Biloré wrote:

Accented capital tend to be a rule in France as well. Have a look at: http://www.langue-fr.net/d/maj_accent/maj_accent.htm
or: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_des_majuscules_en_franais

Have a great sunday!

Christine


Thanks Christine,

This really makes sense. Thanks for the links I knew the rule in Spanish but wasn't sure in french.
The risk of changing the meaning of a word was what pushed me towards the "keep the accents" options. (this link -found in one of yours- proves it! http://www.synec-doc.be/doc/accents2.htm)

Thanks a lot!!
Grace.


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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:14
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
THX Jan 15, 2006

Sylvain Leray wrote:

You can find many sites on the internet which give examples where the use (or non-use) of accented capital letters gives a very different meaning to one sentence. It is a funny way to remind that the capitals must be accented.

Sylvain

Edit: Christine's post was not there as I posted mine


[Edited at 2006-01-15 11:09]


Thanks Sylvain! see in my other post the link I found from one of Christine's links

Have a nice Sunday!
Grace


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Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:14
Member (2004)
English to French
Thanks Sylvain Jan 15, 2006

I thought we were the only ones to put accents on capitalized letters. Now I know!

Nina


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:14
Multiplelanguages
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non-accented capital letters in French Jan 15, 2006

Nina Khmielnitzky wrote:
If it's a text for France, Belgium and Switzerland, there are no accents on capital letters. If it's for Canada, there is.


The Canadian QWERTY keyboard on manual typewriters allows one to put accents on capital letters. This is not the case for the French AZERTY keyboard (for typewriters).
The habit of not putting the accent marks on capital letters in European francophone countries was due historically to the constraints of the material to produce the letters. However, desktop publishing has changed significantly over the past 15-20 years.

All serious references that I found in just a few minutes on the topic indicate that if the platform that you use allows you to put the accents on the capitals letters, then you are supposed to do it.

See:

http://www.langue-fr.net/d/maj_accent/maj_accent.htm#Momiron

* Citation taken from "Lexique des règles typographiques en usage à l'Imprimerie nationale" , page 12, ISBN 2-11-081075-0, édition de 1994 :

* Also reference to statements by Yves Perrousseaux

http://www.dsi.univ-paris5.fr/typo.html#ACCE
(rule cited from: Manuel de typographie française élémentaire d'Yves Perrousseaux )

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_l'usage_des_majuscules

http://www.langue-fr.net/faq/faq.htm#maj_accent

http://www.ephemeride.com/typographie.jsp

http://perso.univ-lyon2.fr/~poitou/Typo/t03a.html

http://www.toponymie.gouv.qc.ca/regles.htm#Accents%20et%20autres%20signes%20diacritiques


and for those who say that knowing the CTRL-ALT sequences is too difficult, they are listed here:

http://www.genealogie-standard.org/publier/typographie.html#majaccent

and then there is of course the "Insert Symbol" chart in Windows.

Jeff
http://jeffallen.chez.tiscali.fr/about-jeffallen.htm


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:14
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
cross-validated confirmation on French capital letters Jan 15, 2006

I had started my message above this morning before the replies appeared in this thread, and got pulled away to do other things. I hit submit this afternoon and then saw that several people found several of the same references in the meantime.

Jeff


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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:14
German to English
+ ...
comment Jan 15, 2006

According to Robert Bringhurst's The Elements of Typographic Style, accents on capital letters of French words were omitted by commercial printers (at least for newspapers and magazines) in the days of lead type in order to reduce costs, and this developed into a sort of de facto (but unofficial) 'standard'. However, in the modern era of DTP and word processing, there's no reason to omit accents from capital letters (and no excuse for doing so).

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accented characters in French capital letters

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