Re: Apostrophe, and DIN keyboard

From: Karl Pentzlin <>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:14:09 +0200

Am Montag, 13. August 2012 um 22:00 schrieb Otto Stolz:

OS> am 2012-08-13 18:09, schrieb Andreas Prilop:
>> ... show what the braindead German DIN keyboard layout has done to
>> the apostrophe (’): Killed by the acute accent (´).

OS> DIN 2112 (from 1928) for mechanical typewriters had indeed no
OS> apostrophe key, due to lack of keys ...
OS> DIN 2137 (from 1976) is for computers:
OS> These keyboards always had both the acute, and grave, accents,
OS> and the (ASCII) apostrophe.

In fact, even in 1985, PC keyboards did not have an apostrophe
(see the last picture on the entry "German keyboard layout" in the
English Wikipedia, showing the keyboard of the IBM portable PC).
As far as I remember, I had to type the acute accent and then a space
to get the "ASCII apostrophe" U+0027 (can somebody confirm this?).

This means that especially elder Germans are used to type the acute
key to get the apostrophe. When you do this on modern keyboards, you
get U+00B4 ACUTE ACCENT, which deviates no more from the
typographically correct U+2019 RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK
than the straight ASCII apostrophe U+0027, Thus, you live with it.

It is an interesting fact that you see far more specimens of U+0060
GRAVE ACCENT used for the apostrophe. I suspect that for people who
know (or have a feeling) that the typographically correct apostrophe
starts into the down-right direction, this character appears more

When we extended the German keyboard recently in DIN 2137:2012, we
assigned the typographically correct apostrophe to the prominent
position AltGr + "1". Possibly, we will see more "correct" apostrophes
when the new keyboard is on the market. But there is the possibility
that the new forms have got established in the meantime, and a
comma-shaped apostrophe will be regarded as old-fashioned and pedantic.

- Karl
Received on Tue Aug 14 2012 - 17:17:20 CDT

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