3.437 old spelling: Fraktur, cont. (134)

Wed, 6 Sep 89 21:42:06 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 437. Wednesday, 6 Sep 1989.

(1) Date: Wed, 6 Sep 89 09:58:34 EDT (30 lines)
From: Rudolf WYTEK <Z00WYR01@AWIUNI11>
Subject: Re: 3.429 old spelling: Fraktur (29)

(2) Date: Wed, 6 Sep 89 13:27:12 EDT (19 lines)
From: Thomas Zielke <113355@DOLUNI1>
Subject: Re: 3.429 old spelling: Fraktur (29)

(3) Date: Wed, 06 Sep 89 12:31 EDT (25 lines)
From: E910003@NJECNVM
Subject: 3.429 old spelling: Fraktur (29)

(4) Date: 6 September 1989 (31 lines)
From: Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Fraktur

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 89 09:58:34 EDT
From: Rudolf WYTEK <Z00WYR01@AWIUNI11>
Subject: Re: 3.429 old spelling: Fraktur (29)

I'm from Vienna, Austria - native German speaker and reader and have the
following comments to the FRAKTUR discussion:

FRAKTUR is very seldom used nowadays, e.g. out of fun for an anniversary
card, it's really of no importance today.

A lot of older books is written in FRAKTUR and contrary to others I see
that it is easily read by our students, only very dumb pupils in school
have difficulties with it. Surely nobody writes in Fraktur. German was
written by hand in 'KURRENT' and some elder people use it until today.
'KURRENT' is taught in school as part of arts education. All students
of the humanities surely must be able to read 'KURRENT' fluently and
that is much harder compared to FRAKTUR which is used only in print.

But perhaps people in the USA have the wrong impressions about Germany
(we know it for sure that Austria's picture is also mostly wrong),
e.g. the very nice book of KATZNER, Languages of the World, prints the
German example first in FRAKTUR and afterwards the 'translation' in
Latin or Roman characters, like the Chinese or Kwakiutl example is
written first in Chinese or Kwakiutl and afterwards translated into
the USA readable form. So for German readers it's very funny indeed
to see the same text twice on one page only with different fonts.

FRAKTUR is no problem at all as long as you don't intend to use a scanner,
the older printing types were of so unstandardized kind that it's nearly
impossible to scan and translate (sensu Kurzweiletc.) older texts directly.
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------27----
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 89 13:27:12 EDT
From: Thomas Zielke <113355@DOLUNI1>
Subject: Re: 3.429 old spelling: Fraktur (29)

Well, I totally agree with M. Sperberg-McQueen... the ability to read
German fraktur types IS necessary, not only for linguists but also for
all those actually willing to deal with German etc. history *seriously*.
By the way, one really gets used to it, if one wants to, and it's not
too difficult to learn.
Let's be malicious: Do Humanists have to learn how to use a computer?
Do they have to learn how to typewrite? To write at all? To read?

Thomas Zielke
FB 3/Historisches Seminar
Universitaet Oldenburg
Postfach 2903
D-2900 Oldenburg

(3) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Wed, 06 Sep 89 12:31 EDT
From: E910003@NJECNVM
Subject: 3.429 old spelling: Fraktur (29)

subject: Fraktur in the recent past.

Michael Sperberg-McQueen is certainly correct that very little since WWII
has been put in fraktur. However, my interest is in the recent history
of psychology, which includes of lot of German. I have recently run
across the following things in fraktur that aren't likely to be in

The New Yorker Volkszeitung (1877- )
Schwegler's History of philosophy in a prewar Reklam edition.
v. Ueberweg's History of philosophie in 4 volumes reworked by Max Heinze
from the turn of the century.
the 1924 edition of Meyer Encyclopedic Lexicon

I don't particularly like fraktur, but German is a vast source and more
than an undergraduate degree seems to require it. I have a hard time
seeing why fraktur should not be required in some way in an undergraduate
German curriculum.

Ed Haupt
Montclair State College
(4) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: 6 September 1989
From: Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Fraktur

I learned German first from an old fellow who had fought in the First
World War, had duelling scars, and had us sing Lily Marlene usw. once a
week. He insisted that we learn from a textbook printed in Fraktur,
which we did with ease. We simply had no choice. We learned to love
the German language -- along with the names of the scars.

What indeed makes something difficult to learn? Computers, for example,
so befuddle some people that they seem to lose all their native wit.
Others take to them as fish to water. I also have difficulty grasping
what's so difficult about Thon. To carry the discussion back to its
original, it seems we should be noticing that an electronic edition of a
work can easily have many forms -- new spelling, old spelling, Fraktur,
Roman, original language, translation, etc. Even if technology is not
now capable of providing us with screens that are decent to read from,
even if it is absurd to talk of expensive gadgets replacing books, still
the potential for instruction and reference is enormous. This is already
being done, more and more competently every day.

The point is a good one that for practical reasons someone interested in
rooting around in older German materials simply has to read Fraktur.
And know about things like Thon. Since it's so easy to learn such things,
what's the problem?

Willard McCarty