What difference does a capital letter make?

Apr 22, 2008 by Paul

Update August 2020

Interestingly there’s been some debate on Twitter recently about this. There was about an even split between whether it should be south Wales, or South Wales. It would appear that to some people using a capital S raises the profile of South Wales as a region, and hence diminishes Wales as a country. I can see the argument, but to me it still doesn’t mean that South Wales doesn’t exist as a recognisable area. Given that the whole purpose of this website is focused on South Wales as an area, then on here I’m sticking with a capital S 🙂


Original Post from 2008

As someone who comes from South Wales and has a few web-sites about South Wales it seems really strange why the BBC always refers to the area as “south Wales” – without the “s” capitalised.

For an example look at this article. This is obviously a set policy for South Wales because they do it consistently and seem to have done so for a number of years.

However, the policy doesn’t seem consistent with other areas – for example they don’t refer to the “north east” of England but the “North East“.

For me and most people who live here this is a strange thing to do – South Wales is a clear, distinct regional area. Yes we do live in the geographic south of Wales but we also live in South Wales!

The BBC itself seems confused – if you visit one of its regional pages then they use every variance of capitalisation going – mixed case – “South Wales”, lower case – “south east Wales” and even all lower case in the title – “south east” though this is obviously down to styling rather than grammar.

I guess that all of the backing I need is in the names of papers obtainable via Google Scholar. If you search for “south wales” there, then every academic paper comes back with South Wales capitalised the correct way.

Why does it bother me? Well it subjugates the region – it makes it appear that it doesn’t exist – when we all know that it does!

So the policy of this website is South Wales with a capital “S” !

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