The Double-Vowel Writing System: Capitalization

The double-vowel writing system, in use in Anishinaabemowin since the 1950's, is based on a combination of the sound-to-letter correspondences of the International Phonetic Alphabet and conventional English spelling. Punctuation is for the most part identical to English conventions, with a couple of exceptions. The following cards address some of the more important.

Capitalization. There is considerable variation in the capitalization of the names of ethnic groups and associated words. For example, the words Anishinaabe, 'Ojibwe person, indigenous person, human being,' and Gichi-Mookomaan, 'American, white person,' occur with and without capitalization. There is even more variation in the capitalization of words containing these words as derivatives or the bases of inflection. For example, the word Anishinaabemo, 'speak Anishinaabemowin, speak Ojibwe, has Anishinaabe as a (noun) base from which a verb has been derived by adding /-mo/. A question arises when inflected forms are used, such as indAnishinaabem, 'I speak/am speaking Anishinaabemowin,' which has a first person prefix, /ind/, added to the basic verb form /anishinaabemo/. There are two logical ways to capitalize this form, capitalizing the first letter, Indanishinaabem, or the base word, indAnishinaabem. If the word began a sentence, we might capitalize in both ways, IndAnishinaabem. Writers take a variety of approaches to these issues, and there is no "standardized" way of doing things.