I am wondering about the correct spelling of the word

to islamize

which I met right now in a research paper on distribution of conspiracy theories by a colleague (not important here, just to give you the context why I deal with that word).

The author chose to write "to Islamize" with capital i. I found that weird and suggested to write it with a small initial i like ordinary verbs. That's where I noticed that Mircosoft Word's spell checker by default suggests capital i (and I suppose that my colleague just accepted this suggestion). Now, I am totally not a person who obeys the law of Microsoft, and I know very well how to adjust Word's spell checker to what is good and right. Anyway, there seems to be a dispute about how to spell "to islamize".

Of course, I know that mayor religions, nationalities and names of groups of all sorts are usually spelled with a capital letter: the German government, the history of Christianity, the golden age of Islam, the Republican party, and so on.

On the other hand: do we really transfer the capitalized initials to verbs? So, are we going to Christianize the pagans in the hotter countries (if we happen to live with such a mindset, of course)? Or would we rather be a bit more reticent and not try to christianize - nor islamize - anybody?

  • Far be it for me to start evangelising about virtues of the "s" in verbs... – Mari-Lou A Jan 27 '20 at 14:41

Yes, Islamise (or Islamize in US English) should be capitalised.

The word means "to make Islamic; convert to Islam". It is derived from 'Islam' which is capitalised because it is a proper noun.

The names of religions and their adherents are proper nouns, e.g. Buddhism/Buddhist, Christianity/Christian. Other words derived from these tend to be capitalised also. For example, the word "Christian" is used the same as "Islamic" is, to refer to things relating to Christianity, so it would be "a Christian text", and "an Islamic text". The word "Christianise" does exist but is used less frequently.

Interestingly, the word "Americanised" (to make something American) tends to be capitalised whereas its equivalent meaning to make something English "anglicised" does not appear to be.

  • 1
    To anglicise something is to make it English, not necessarily British, but the larger point is that it is not formed from an English proper noun or adjective, but from a classical root; hellenise but Greekise, gallicise but Frenchify, and so on. – choster Jan 27 '20 at 15:26
  • @choster. Notice though to many (ignorant? or careless?) people outside Britain, there is often little distinction drawn between “English” and “British” - they are effectively interchangeable in many ordinary contexts. My apologies to the Welsh, Scots and Northern Irish people reading this, but this gross generalization is made.) – Orbital Aussie Jan 28 '20 at 2:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.