Proposal: Language code "de-DE-trad"

John Cowan
Wed, 13 Feb 2002 16:51:38 -0500

Mark Crispin wrote:

 > This isn't well known in Europe, but the US government officially
 > metrified the US in 1866.  That's right, 146 years ago.

The U.S. defined the customary units in terms of metric ones: thus,
the inch is exactly 2.54 cm.  This was *nothing* like what the French
government did to metricate France during 1795-1805 -- things like
confiscating products that were being sold using the old system.

 > Entire generations of American
 > schoolchildren have been indoctrinated about how wonderful metric
 > is, but it hasn't changed the fact that the American people are
 > opposed to metrification and will not allow it to happen.

I suspect it has a lot more to do with companies not wanting to
go through the pain of retooling than any grass-roots resistance.
Wine and (larger) soda bottles have been in natural metric units
for some years now with no signs of a Jacquerie.

 > We know that when
 > we're in Canada, a 100 km/h speed limit sign means 60 MPH, a 40 km/h
 > sign means 25 MPH, etc.

Lots of us don't know that.  The education system has fallen down badly

 > Can you give me any examples?  I think that I remember hearing
 > something about ess-tset being abolished?

Certain uses of it have been abolished.  The letter itself remains.

 > Put another way; suppose I (the person who studied German for 3 years
 > 28 years ago) tried to compose text in German.  I know that I'd make
 > grammar and vocabulary choices that would mark it as "not the work of
 > a native speaker." But what mistakes would be made in terms of the new
 > orthography, assuming that I don't hyphenate?

The rule on sz is that it's now used only after a long vowel or
diphthong, and where no consonant follows (not counting consonants
from grammatical or derivational endings).  Thus dasz is now dass, but
grosz remains grosz, because the o is long.  Exception: aus does not
become ausz.

There are also different rules for closed vs. open compounds: thus
"radfahren" is now "Rad fahren", analogous to "Auto fahren".

Numerous foreign words are now Germanized: Grafologie, e.g.

Second person pronouns are no longer capitalized in letters.

There is lots of information available on the Web: google
for "Rechtschreibung".

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