Serbo-Croatian grammar requires that only the first word of a multi word name of a place or an object is capitalized. For example, "Stari most" is a name of a bridge in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

If we don't translate the name to English do we capitalize both words as "Stari Most" or do we keep the native language capitalization?

  • Google it. It looks at the convention is to capitalize both words in English. May 2, 2016 at 0:05
  • 1
    Serbo-Croatian orthography. Grammar says nothing on capitalisation. English ortography says all words in a name have to be capitalised (and be in Latin alphabet). Consider this: "宮崎駿" ("miyazakihayao") becomes "Hayao Miyazaki"; why wouldn't "Stari most" become "Stari Most"?
    – Amadan
    Jul 1, 2016 at 6:06
  • Why is it not therefore "Bosnia-herzegovina"?
    – WS2
    Oct 31, 2017 at 7:11

2 Answers 2


Loan words, including proper names, inevitably succumb to the conventions of the language that borrows them. Hence the Serbo-Croat Stari most will inevitably (and quite reasonably) be rendered by most native speakers of English as Stari Most, because using the initial capital in all the important elements of a proper name is a critical marker of what is a proper name in English.

Indeed, in this example, without being capitalized, most would cause the majority of readers to do a double-take, because its spelling and capitalization will cause it to be readily confused with the English adjective most.


If we do not translate the names (and more often than not we do not or should not translate them), I believe the original spelling & capitalization is more appropriate (maybe consider the use of italics for names that consist of two or more words).

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