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...in the sentence "Here's a list of great Americana books."

It looks SO weird lowercase: "Here's a list of great americana books."

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Should not it be American? –  kiamlaluno Feb 3 '11 at 19:12
    
@kiamlaluno: it could be, but Americana has a distinct meaning. Americana: All things peculiar to the United States' culture and people, anything that is a symbol of American life. –  Peter Mortensen Feb 3 '11 at 23:09
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Adjectives that derive from a proper noun are written in capital case; it is also true for nouns, even if in some cases nouns that derive from proper nouns are not written in capital case.

  • American, from the noun America
  • Americana, from the noun America
  • Italian, from the noun Italy
  • Martian, from the noun Mars
  • Parmesan, from the noun Parma, the name of a city in Italy
  • Venusian, from the noun Venus

To notice that the adjectives I reported in the list are also used as nouns.

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Well, Americana is not an adjective, but a plural noun :) –  F'x Feb 3 '11 at 19:27
    
So is American. :-) –  kiamlaluno Feb 3 '11 at 19:44
    
Thanks very much! –  Eric Feb 3 '11 at 20:10
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We capitalize all words derived from nationalities and many names, but it is not true that this is done for all nouns/adjectives from proper nouns (e.g. narcissist, sodomy, atlas, echo, siren, bandaid, kleenex, aspirin, thermos, zipper, quixotic, and so on). –  Kosmonaut Feb 4 '11 at 3:19
    
@kiamlaluno, American is both an adjective and a noun, but Americana is only an noun. –  F'x Feb 4 '11 at 9:07
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Yes, similar to national adjectives, Americana should be capitalized. Here's a reference

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