Re: Umlaut and diaeresis

From: Karl Pentzlin (
Date: Tue Jun 22 1999 - 06:27:02 EDT

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: Marc Wilhelm Küster <>
An: Unicode List <>
Cc: Unicode List <>
Gesendet: Dienstag, 22. Juni 1999 09:41
Betreff: Re: Umlaut and diaeresis

> On the one hand, DIN 5007 (the German ordering standard) indeed
> distinguishes between umlaut and trema, handling them quite differently.
> E. g. in names, a with umlaut is mirrored to ae on level 1 whereas a with
> trema is mirrored to a (that is, a German and a French author are treated
> distinctly even if seemingly spelled alike). One awkward consequence of
> this is that one of the best accepted national ordering standards cannot
> really become a profile of ISO/IEC FCD 14651.

Maybe this is a special problem of the German standard.
I imagine that a Danish is confronted with an equivalent problem when he
he has to treat ċ (a with ring above) like aa when it is in a name of its
own language, but not when it is in a name of a completely different
Fortunately, nobody requests two different encodings of the ring above
(U+030A) for that reason.

> ...
> Most German library software (and software dedicated to fine
> have two encodings for umlaut and trema (e. g. in our product, TUSTEP, the
> former is encoded ^a, ^o, ^u and the latter as %:a, %:o, %:u ...

Do you encode the Albanian ë (which is neither an umlaut nor a trema)
as ^e or as %:e ?

> ... German
> typesetters used to have two glyphs for the diaeresis and the umlaut which
> were quite distinguishable ...

If the DIN (institution for the German standards) people consider the need
for a seperate encoding for a second glyph to be important enough,
it´s up to them to make a request to include a new diacritic
(to be represented by such a glyph) into the Unicode standard.
Apparently, they have not done it until now.

> ...
> On the other hand, the knowledge of these facts is vanishing in Germany
> itself and the overwhelming majority of people would not be able to
> distinguish nowadays between these two ...

Were they ever able, and was this ever necessary?
In German (besides quotations and names from foreign languages) the
double dot on a,o,u ever means umlaut, and on e,i it ever means diaresis.
Thus, besides special applications like library software (where tags can
be used), there seems to be no real need for two different "double dot
diacritics for the German language.

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