chapter  23
Spelling, pronunciation and punctuation
Pages 16

German spelling and punctuation are relatively consistent, but some rules are quite different to those for English, and this chapter gives information on a selection of such problematic points. The rulings given are those accepted as authoritative throughout the German-speaking countries.

Uniform offi cial spelling rules for all the German-speaking countries were fi rst established in 1901/02. Towards the end of the 20th century it was felt that the rulings made then had left some unnecessary inconsistencies and anomalies which needed to be eliminated. For this reason, the countries where German is an offi cial language agreed in 1994/95 on a set of reforms which began to be introduced in primary schools in 1996. For a transitional period the old and the new spellings were permitted, but from 2006 only the new spellings have been regarded as correct for offi cial purposes, in particular in schools and other state institutions.