Summary: de-DE-1996 is better than de-1996-DE
Sat, 27 Apr 2002 00:15:36 +0900
Dear language specialists,
Rather than continuing too much on the current threads, I have
tried to sum up the arguments for my (and others') position
that de-DE-1996 is better than de-1996-DE (not necessary in a
- In various fields of discourse (e.g. food, legal), the differences
between DE/AT/CH break mutual intellegibility. There is no such thing
for the difference between 1996 and 1901.
- The difference between DE/AT/CH is relevant in speech and writing
(don't confuse this difference with dialects); the difference
between 1996 and 1901 is only relevant in writing.
- People (and in some cases systems, see Torsten's Mozilla example)
are already used to see the country identifier in second place.
Indeed, the specification says that a two-letter code in second
place is a country code. It is knowledge that we can and should
- At least between DE/AT on the one hand and CH on the other hand,
there are clear orthographic differences (the absence of the sharp s
in the CH variant) in both 1901 and 1996 orthographies.
[And no, the sharp s hasn't been abolished in DE-1996 and AT-1996,
only reduced in usage.] So even a model that puts orthography before
vocabulary doesn't give a clear preference for putting the years first.
- HTTP content negotiation. This is designed so that it is easy to
match a request for de-CH with a document labeled as de-CH-foo,
but not easy to match a request for de-CH with a document
labeled de-foo-CH. While I guess that both content negotiation
on DE/AT/CH and on 1996/1901 will be relatively rare, I think the
case for negotiation on DE/AT/CH is significantly stronger than the
case for negotiation on 1996/1901.
- At this time of change, the difference between the orthographies
receives considerable attention. In a few years, as a few years
ago, this difference will be mostly forgotten. The country-specific
differences won't disappear very soon, and won't get forgotten.
- There has been a claim that all authors write with the intent
of either using 1901 or 1996 orthography. That's probably true
for people publishing and for schoolchildren. Otherwise, people
don't consiously write to a specific orthography the same way
they don't write conciously to a specific vocabulary.