Should we have an official spelling variant? i.e. should we declare one form of spelling "incorrect" and subject to editing?

I'm in favour of not enforcing a standard for text, but we will definitely need one for tagging.

Let's write down suggestions, and have them voted on.

Long live the ß! …is all I have to say about this. ;-) –  deceze May 25 '11 at 0:02
You can't force someone to write Spaghetti without h. This is just barbaric. –  Ingo Jan 6 '14 at 11:03

3 Answers 3

I suggest

  • accepting all spelling standards for text

  • enforcing Neue Rechtschreibung (or whatever is most current right now) for text when the word in question is important in the context of the contribution (like when looking for a translation, as suggested by @poke in the comments).

  • enforcing Neue Rechtschreibung for tags. Tags are always in High German

  • not enforcing Neue Rechtschreibung at all where the context is explicitly Swiss German or Austrian German, who have different spelling rules.

I’m fine with that, except that we should still enforce the Neue Rechtschreibung, when it makes sence. For example when there is some question about a good word for something, the replied word should use the correct spelling according to the Neue Rechtschreibung. Same with grammar rules when the question is about it. Apart from that, yes, don’t overdo the editing just for minor things. –  poke May 24 '11 at 20:18
@poke fair enough, that sounds sensible. –  Pekka 웃 May 24 '11 at 20:23
totally forbidding would be the total wrong way simply because a) there will be (and are) questions about differences or texts in the old orthography and b) we do have 3 standards (german, austrian and swiss). If a text is about a specific context I'd also suggest to let it be written in this context (e.g. question about a swiss-german problem should not be re-edited to germany-german) –  Samuel Herzog May 31 '11 at 23:24
@Samuel My suggestion is actually not forbidding anything completely. I am for enforcing German N.R. only when a word is in the focus of the question (like, "what is a good German word for xyz?") - obviously, if the question is about a Swiss or Austrian word, their respective standards would be used. Any other text in the question should not be forced into any standard. That should work for everyone –  Pekka 웃 May 31 '11 at 23:29
@Pekka I did understand that, therefore my upvote. I just wanted to emphasize it a little more. In respect to the suggestion of @thei it seems that some US people are not used to it. As I will most of the times unintentionally write in austrian-german :) Thanks for your comprehensible and plausible list. I'd just add this "native language for native problems shouldn't be edited" –  Samuel Herzog May 31 '11 at 23:34
@Samuel ah, fair enough. I've added that to the list! –  Pekka 웃 May 31 '11 at 23:35
thanks @Pekka, I guess I'll need to contentrate more on 'first pros, second cons, third debate' with my comments :D –  Samuel Herzog May 31 '11 at 23:39
Totally against enforcement of the Neue so-called "Recht"-schreibung. Amongst other reasons, it constitutes discrimination against elder people who never bothered about bureaucratic monsters. –  Ingo Jan 6 '14 at 11:08

I'd suggest:

  • Try to use neue Rechtschreibung whenever you can
  • Try to indicate when you deviate from it

  • Must use neue Rechtschreibung or clearly indicate deviation when there is relevance to the question

  • Must use neue Rechtschreibung in tags

  • May edit posts to "upgrade" them to neue Rechtschreibung

I would suggest to even using neue Rechtschreibung when answering posts about dialects or Swiss or Austrian German (except for the examples, obviously), similar to an english encyclopedia not using German when describing German words.


Swiss orthography.

(This is not a very serious suggestion, but less frivolous than it might seem. First of all, it is important to notice that there are other orthographies beside the two mentioned ones and secondly, when I spent time in a US school, the pupils learned Swiss orthography so they would not have to fuss with ß.)


Interesting! To be honest, I have no idea what Swiss ortography entails exactly. Do you have a link? –  Pekka 웃 May 24 '11 at 20:22
Mmmmm, I find this a suggestion seriously worth considering - it might be easier for non-native speakers, because it retains all the old spelling rules (right?) but gets rid of the ß. I don't know how acceptable that is among linguists and teachers though - we'll see how the voting turns out –  Pekka 웃 May 24 '11 at 20:31
@balpha ahahahaha! –  Pekka 웃 May 24 '11 at 20:31
While respecting the existence of other orthographies I think we should stick to the official German one, i.e. the Neue Rechtschreibung. I guess that most people that are learning German want to learn the official orthography and grammar that is used in Germany. –  Deve May 26 '11 at 19:53
@balpha: Der Link zur Bilddatei ist leider tot. Und: Du hast ja die Möglichkeit, diesen meinen Kommentar zusätzlich zu Deinem zu löschen. ;-) –  Speravir Nov 12 '12 at 0:02
@Speravir Googlen nach Basel Parkverbot gibt sofort –  Phira Nov 12 '12 at 8:37
There are serious reasons against using Swiss orthography. Trinken Sie Wein in Massen! –  Jan May 10 at 19:52
@Jan Ein Maß ist ein Liter, oder? –  Mr Lister May 10 at 21:21
@MrLister That's a Mass (short a), but was a Maß before the reform … but missing my point by a mile (not even the word(s) I was referencing there ;)) –  Jan May 10 at 22:00

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