Summary: de-DE-1996 is better than de-1996-DE

John Cowan
Sat, 27 Apr 2002 11:10:16 -0400 (EDT)

J.Wilkes scripsit:

> Goethe and Schiller would probably not object to transcription of
> many of their works, since the content was often more important to
> them than form.

Fair enough.  I simply wanted to pick German authors who were
a) safely before 1901 and b) well-known to the international community.

> On the other hand, some of the poets I mentioned spent hours over single
> words and even punctuation; in this case, I think it is obvious that
> any change will distort what was intended.

In English too we have poets who are always studied in a modernized
orthography except in very special cases (Milton, e.g.) and those who
are studied in the orthography of their time (Skelton, e.g.).  Shakespeare
is an intermediate case: his orthography is rationalized to some degree
(as it must be, if he is to be as widely studied as we in Anglophonia
think he deserves), but some points are left alone.  Sh. of course
couldn't have cared less about orthography himself, as shown by the 30-odd
extant spellings of his own name.  (And yes, I know that Sh. was
really a second-rank 19th century German poet.)

John Cowan <>
I amar prestar aen, han mathon ne nen,
han mathon ne chae, a han noston ne 'wilith.  --Galadriel, _LOTR:FOTR_