German Orthography language codes

Torsten Bronger
Wed, 06 Feb 2002 20:37:12 +0100

I propose the language tag "de-DE-1996" for contents written in German
and using the new orthography introduced in Germany in 1996.

Since it was also introduced in its neighbour countries Austria and
Switzerland, the subtag "de-AT-1996" denotes the Austrian variant.

"trad" as the second subtag means traditional orthography:
"de-DE-trad" and "de-AT-trad".

If no second subtag is given, there is no default; if the interpreter
is aware of the variants, it may use heuristic methods to choose
between them, or assume new orthography.

Some comments:

I convert XML files to high-level LaTeX.  Therefore I have to map XML
language codes onto LaTeX identifiers.  With the above codes, I could
cover the whole of LaTeX's language capabilities.  (E.g., it loads
different hyphenation patterns for both orthographies.)

The traditional spelling is not only used in legacy documents, it's
still the official variant in Schleswig-Holstein, the northest part of
Germany.  Besides, many people stick to the old form.

Although it's highly unlikely, the use of a year subtag allows for
further reforms or revisions of the last one.  However, covering
orthographies before the digital age is way beyond language codes, so
"trad" is fully sufficient.

I can't say anything about de-CH though, because I don't know what it
means.  The reform was also enforced in Switzerland, but there is a
Helvetician variant of German in existence that uses *very* different
vocabulary anyway.

Torsten Bronger,  Aachen, Germany.