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

Tue, 30 Apr 2002 00:25:14 -0100

On 27 Apr 2002 at 12:35, Martin Duerst wrote:

> 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?

For *human* readers, the vocabulary can lead to real understanding problems. For 
*automated* readers (software), the orthography is more important. (I went into 
detail on this in a previous posting.)

Since the use of these tags is AFAICS primarily for software, which may assist 
human readers but has to pre-select first, the software/automated point of view 
seems more important to me.

> >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.
In part because it is already continously changing, without anybody trying to force 
But the RFC 3066 tag is hierarchically organised, so we try to fit language into it 
somehow. For now.

> > > - 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.

OK. Then there is at least the use of differentiating old texts from their conversions. 
There is a choice in germany, and you may or may not be right with your prediction. 
One federal state refuses the forced change, one major newspaper does as well, 
several publishing houses and may writers reject and do not implement that change, 
too. What the populace as a whole will do, time will tell.

> >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?

Germany has a federal structure; in one of its federal states, Schleswig-Holstein, 
there have been several petitions and one plebiscite about the 1996 
Before that, ~60.000 signatures in the "Volksinitiative" and 223.388 signatures in the 
"Volksbegehren" were collected; in the plebiscite itself on 1998-09-27, 56.4% voted 
directly against adopting the 1996 orthography and 29.1% indirectly. This is the 
clear majority, so the 1996 orthography was never introduced in Schleswig-Holstein, 
and maybe never will.

The absolute number may be 885 511 votes, if I looked up correctly. It's not too 
populated there.

Online resources:

Disclaimer: I do not live in Schleswig-Holstein, and did not give my vote in that 
plebiscite. (I wish I could have.)

>> 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 consciously.
> 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.

Indeed. But without the proper _reference_, _difference_ cannot be detected, or 
hardly be interpreted the way it was meant. 
[I omit a paragraph about Arno Schmidt here.]
Many living german poets reject the forced 1996 change. I suspect they will know 


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