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

Martin Duerst
Sat, 27 Apr 2002 12:35:12 +0900

At 18:20 02/04/26 -0100, J.Wilkes wrote:

> > - 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.
>If the order was to mean something, I would not agree.
>If the part that changes less often goes before the part that changes more 
>less value, as we know it from date and time or currency,
>orthography would have to come first, and vocabulary after it.

You have agreed to the points above, in particular that different
vocabulary can lead to real understanding problems, but different
orthography doesn't. Why do you think orthography should come
before vocabulary?

>Since RFC 3066 is flawed IMHO, consistency and logic are not paramount in
>defining these tags, unfortunately.

Maybe what's flawed is language: It's not in general hierarchical
and neatly organized. But of course trying to change it would be
a very bad idea.

> > - 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.
>I don't think so, Unless you consider 95 years "a few".

Well, I maybe wasn't clear enough. Nobody currently is asking for
tags to distinguish older orthographies than 1901. That's not because
they don't exist, but because there is rarely a choice, and because
the most important application where orthography matters, spell-checking,
is done on new material.

I didn't want to say that one shouldn't respect the author,
or one should eliminate/convert all the old texts.

>Also, "Prediction is difficult--especially of the future".

Well, of course. But there are enough examples of similar
reforms to get a few ideas, I guess.

> > - 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.
>It also holds true for book authors, jurists, biblophiles, and especially 
>for poets and
>The works of Benn, Rilke, Fried, Jandl, Arp, Arno Schmidt and many more will
>simply not work anymore with the 1996 orthography. When read in a 1996
>orthography scope, they get skewed and distorted; and their beauty vandalised.
>The average person maybe does not choose consciously which orthography to 
>applying a sketchy mixture instead.

Even if they don't apply a sketchy mixture, they may not explicitly
choose the orthography. They may just write the way they always
have done, or the way they learn in school,...

>Except for at least 230,000 persons in Schleswig-Holstein and an undetermined
>number for the other parts of germany.

Can you explain where you got the 230,000 persons from?

>The claim that "all authors" chose a specific orthography may not be true, 
>but it is
>neither a small minority which does, nor are they unimportant or less 
>influential. On
>the contrary, those whose words matter most, chose the orthography 

They may very well choose the orthography consciously. But they may
not exactly follow one or the other form. In particular poets may
easily write something differently to make a point.

Regards,   Martin.