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CLDR Ticket #10789(closed: fixed)

Opened 12 months ago

Last modified 6 months ago

German am/pm: German strings or English AM/PM?

Reported by: markus Owned by: kristi
Component: datetime Data Locale: de
Phase: dsub Review: pedberg
Weeks: 0.2 Data Xpath:



CLDR 32 Survey Tool input changed a few of the German am/pm strings from German abbreviations for "before noon" and "afternoon" to English AM/PM. This was done inconsistently, and was controversial, so for stability it was reverted in 32.0.1 (ticket:10735), and this follow-up ticket is for reconsidering the issue.

Written German uses 24-hour time.

Spoken German uses 12-hour time with multiple day periods.

CLDR does always provide am/pm strings even if they are not commonly used in the language, so that software that explicitly selects 12h am/pm time format anyway can use understandable strings.

The long-standing German am/pm strings "vorm." and "nachm." were chosen as approximations: They are understandable, but they sound odd when they are not a good match for the time (e.g., 10 at night). The later additions of narrow "vm." and "nm." strings are more obscure.

Many German speakers know English and are likely to recognize AM/PM, but they would recognize them as Englishisms in a German UI.

On one hand, we can provide native strings as much as possible, even for formatting choices that are uncommon in the language, resulting in strings that are not "right" in all uses.

On the other hand, the argument has been made that users who choose a German UI with 12-hour am/pm format are not native German speakers and are likely to be more satisfied with English AM/PM strings.

(Has this argument of choosing other-language strings for uncommon formats been used before for CLDR?)


Change History

comment:1 Changed 12 months ago by fredrik

  • Xref set to 10735

comment:2 Changed 11 months ago by mark

  • Owner changed from anybody to kristi
  • Priority changed from assess to medium
  • Status changed from new to accepted
  • Milestone changed from UNSCH to 33

comment:3 Changed 11 months ago by kristi

  • Phase changed from dsub to rc

comment:4 Changed 11 months ago by jungshik

  • Cc jungshik added

comment:5 Changed 8 months ago by kristi

  • Phase changed from rc to dsub
  • Milestone changed from 33 to 34

comment:6 Changed 8 months ago by perske@…


Being a German myself, I completely disagree with using AM/PM.
Not all people in Germany speak English, especially in the former GDR.

If you see a need to change the current aprroximations, then use better ones:

"vorm." ("vormittags") can be used about 4 hours a day, from about 8 PM to noon.
(Please let's not argue about one hour more or less.)

But all the time from midnight to noon, using "morgens" is absolutly correct and in common use,
no matter whether "1 Uhr morgens" or "11 Uhr morgens".
So if you want to change it, use "morgens" in place of "vormittags", it covers the complete period.

"nachm." ("nachmittags") also covers about 4 hours a day, from about 2 PM to about 6 PM.
Unfortunately there is no German word covering the complete time from noon to midnight.
"abends" covers a much longer time, it is in common use for all the time from about 4 PM to midnight.

So I propose "morgens" and "abends" as the best approximations I can find;
only from noon to about 4 PM (i.e. 4 out of 24 hours) they do not reflect common usage.

I would not mind if you keep the current "vorm."/"nachm.".
But only technophile people could find AM/PM acceptable.

comment:7 Changed 7 months ago by kristi

  • Milestone changed from 34 to 33.1

comment:8 Changed 7 months ago by kristi

Mark to make these German AM/PM fields as high bar for changes

comment:9 Changed 6 months ago by markus

CLDR 33.1 is coming up fast...

comment:10 Changed 6 months ago by kristi

Discussed in CLDR TC on April 18, 2018 including German native speakers from participating companies. Conclusion was to use “AM”/ “PM” for 12hr systems. Various aspects were considered including German default being 24hr system and the exposure of "AM/PM" to those users who choose to use the 12hr system in German.
This check-in reflects this TC decision.

comment:11 Changed 6 months ago by kristi

  • Status changed from accepted to closed
  • Resolution set to fixed
  • Review set to pedberg

comment:12 Changed 6 months ago by kristi

  • Status changed from closed to new

comment:13 Changed 6 months ago by kristi

  • Status changed from new to reviewing
  • Resolution fixed deleted

comment:14 Changed 6 months ago by pedberg

  • Status changed from reviewing to closed
  • Resolution set to fixed

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