I guess "chapati" is foreign word and should be italicized in a text. But what about plural? The foreign word is actually chapati, and the plural is made using the English "s" (even if, maybe, chapati is like "bread", singular). What's correct?

  • Correct according to which style guru? – Colin Fine Oct 2 '15 at 22:04
  • Chapati (with a lot of spelling variants) is anglicised, appearing in all decent dictionaries. It is now an English word (though like a host of others, it derives from a different language). चपत might cause a few problems. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 3 '15 at 2:26
  • @Colin Fine - I asking if there is a standard rule - probably in publishing - about using italics for foreign words. There isn't one? – plugincontainer Oct 3 '15 at 8:35
  • Whose standard do you wish to follow? There is no authoritative standard for any aspect of the English language. Publishers have house guides. There are plenty of dictionaries, grammars, style guides that you can choose to be ruled by. – Colin Fine Oct 3 '15 at 9:09

Regarding chapatti itself, I recall that the word was not set off either in quotes or italics the first time I read it in a novel several decades ago.

Quoted passage from "Flashman in the Great Game"

This may be due to the fact that it's a British novel that deals with a former British possession, or that it's a first-person narrative by a character who is no Oxford don, but I incline toward the feeling that certain words, especially those relating to food, are not subject to the usual arm's-length treatment other words might be. We refer to tortillas, empanadas, brioche, linguini, sauerbraten and borscht all without that crutch, and we get along just fine.

Normally we reserve italics for foreign words for which we already have a ready English equivalent (frisson for "thrill"), or for which no comparable word exists in English (gemütlichkeit), or which the writer or editor decides is too recondite (kulturny)—and it is worth noting that the decision really rests on the person or organization who puts the words up for publication.

It is sometimes hard to avoid the suspicion that italicization can be overdone, or used as an affectation. And styles do vary. The New Yorker seems to italicize foreign words within an inch of their lives, while other publications take a much milder stance on the matter.

Full disclosure: I have asked a question similar to this one and came away feeling no real sense of closure on the subject.


noun: chapatti; plural noun: chapattis


But http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapati uses chapatis.

You could use any/both. Google search shows chapatis as more frequently used variat.

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