Stuttgart didn’t make it, Augsburg also fell by the wayside. And Bremen is the only state not to be included. In future, letters will be spelled from A for Aachen to Z for Zwickau.
After intensive consultation, the German Institute for Standardization (DIN) published the new spelling table in B as in Berlin. DIN 5009 for “Announcements and dictation of texts and characters” now uses city names almost throughout.
So far, first names have been used, such as C for Caesar or E for Emil. 16 men’s names faced six women’s names. Including the X for the negative name Xanthippe. The wife of the Greek philosopher Socrates is – without historical evidence – the epitome of a quarrelsome woman. This is now solved with Xanten.
From the institute’s point of view, the unequal distribution of names “did not correspond to today’s reality of life”. At the same time, it did not seem possible to present all relevant ethnic and religious groups in a gender-balanced manner.
“City names are very catchy and, unlike first names, not subject to fashion,” says the DIN team. Young people, for example, or a society that is increasingly shaped by migrants, may be more familiar with K like Cologne than with the previous K like Konrad.
So there is no going back to the old N like Nathan. The National Socialists had replaced the Jewish first name with Nordpol, which they considered to be the Aryans’ place of origin. In the future, the letter N will stand for Nuremberg.
In the course of the discussion, however, the institute announced that it would symbolically publish another plaque that goes back to the Weimar Republic and contains Jewish first names.
The impetus for the redesign of the spelling board was also a tip from the Baden-Württemberg anti-Semitism commissioner Michael Blume. During the Nazi era, all Jewish names on the plaque were replaced.
According to the institute, firefighters, secretaries, commercial and other professions who still use the spelling board for their communication now wished for something from their living environment. That includes German cities.
However, even dealing with a possible revision of the spelling table had triggered discussions. The application of the standard and the alphabet table is voluntary, it said in a statement. It is primarily intended for business and administration. International is spelled differently anyway, based on English.
The commission set up has now replaced nine city names compared to a first draft. Augsburg had to give way to Aachen in order to avoid the double sound “Au” at the beginning. A similar fate befell Stuttgart with its “St”. Now it says: S for Salzwedel.
Other large cities such as Berlin, Hamburg and Munich prevailed. The umlauts Ä, Ö, Ü have not gotten any cities. If you want to spell an Ü, for example, you can now enter “Umlaut Unna”.