Re: DIN 5007, Swiss Sorting

From: Alain LaBonté  (
Date: Sat Mar 11 2000 - 23:39:12 EST

À 12:36 2000-03-10 -0800, Tex Texin a écrit:
>I am looking into conventions for Swiss collation.
>I was pointed at DIN 5007. Is this on the web anywhere?
>Are there old and new Swiss collations, and are the
>collation conventions different depending on the language
>and/or dialect being used, since the Swiss use multiple

[Alain] DIN 5007 is for German. It is pretty similar to CAN/CSA Z243.4.1
which harmonized ordering for at least French, English, German, Italian,
Portuguese and Dutch at once. The only real difference is level-2 sorting
(Canadian standard -- based on French dictionaries sorting practice
discriminates quasi-homographs on multiple accents differences starting at
the end of words -- DIN 5007 does not do that, it starts at the beginning,
but for German dictionaries it practically does not matter [except for
words of French origin!], or at least much less than for French dictionaries).

3rd level discrimination (on case) is done the same in DIN 5007 as in the
Canadian standard. Actually we took German as a model for sorting lower
case before upper case as there is no firm practice for this in French
(except in encyclopedias which seem at first glance to do the reverse but
there are too many exceptions to deduce a rule) and we did not find firm
practice in English either while there was one in German...

Michael Everson disagrees that for English lower case should be sorted
first in case of quasi homographs (ex. : august before August), based on
what he deduces from the short version of the OED. But the full OED has no
preference, it is easy to demonstrate (same kind of exceptions as for
French encyclopedias -- German case discrimination is systematic, whence
the reason for Canadian preference, which we find compatible with French
and English).

For Switzerland, I would recommend the Canadian standard practice as it
includes German, French, Italian [and Romansch] at once, compatible
languages for sorting (unlike Spanish which would require tailoring for ñ
[and for ch and ll if traditional sorting is to be used]).

Alain LaBonté

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