German Orthography language codes

Thu, 7 Feb 2002 01:21:05 +0100

On 7 Feb 02, at 5:40, Martin Duerst wrote:

> Some comments:
> At 21:17 02/02/06 +0100, J.Wilkes wrote:
> >It may be of interest that the new orthography does not only introduce
> >differents spellings, but also ambiguities and changes in meaning to
> >some words and phrases. This may be not intended, but is factual
> >nevertheless.
> >Therefore, having a more precise tagging will help both human readers
> >and software.
> Interesting. Can you give an example?

Some examples I can come up with at the moment:

a) "der gräuliche Pullover" vs. "der greuliche Pullover"
- one is a grey sweater, the other is a horrid sweater.
In de-DE-1996, both is written the same way, making it ambigous.

b) ein Arzt kann sich "krank schreiben" oder "krankschreiben"
- a physician can get himself a repetitive stress syndrome by writing too 
much (or he is ill and writing); or he can attest unfitness to work.
Writing it both the same way makes it ambigous.

Ein Schüler ist "sitzengeblieben" oder "sitzen geblieben"
- it is a big difference to the pupil who either stayed down and had to 
repeat the whole school year, or sat and didn't stand up.

Another one of that type is, if somebody is doing his job badly ("seine 
Arbeit schlecht macht") or if he maligns the work of his co-workers ("die 
Arbeit seiner Kollegen schlechtmacht").

If we are sitting down together or are putting something together, is 
another difference. ("zusammen setzen" vs. "zusammensetzen")

Whether something arouses a cancer (crab), or is carcinogenic - thats 
either "krebs erregend" or "krebserregend".

And so on. The most striking examples are those you didn't expect, where 
you find out the ambiguity after the misunderstanding already took place.

c) if the writing is changed, it becomes more difficult.
"wieder" (again) and "wider" (against) used to be written differently.
now "calling again" and repeal/revoke are hard to differentiate. Try not to 
use that one in court...

Also, there is a third variant besides de-DE-trad and de-DE-1996. On 
1999-08-01, german magazines, newspapers and news agencies started 
using a variation of de-DE-1996 which was changed to improve legibility 
which was somewhat reduced by de-DE-1996.


Johannes Wilkes, Bonn, Germany