Q: German language script

Akshaya de Groot akshaya at worldonline.nl
Thu Feb 20 15:11:25 EST 1997

Dear Ganesan

This answer is a quote from Alexander Lawson, Anatomy of a typeface,
published by David R. Godine, Boston (USA) in 1990
(a book about typographical history)
p. 24-25

" Even in Germany, where Fraktur (=Gothic script) was for so long the
national type, the black letter (=another name for Gothic script) has
had a curious history. During the middle years of the nineteenth
century, a great period of European nationalism, the use of Fraktur was
inevitably strengthened - sufficiently, in fact, to offset the
modernizing influence of the Industrial Revolution, particularly through
the dominance of German technical and scientific literature. With the
growth of international advertising in the early years of the present
century, the use of roman type in Germany increased, but even as late as
1930 almost sixty procent of the new books being published were still
composed in the German black letter (also called Deutsche Schriften),
and almost every newspaper stayed with the Fraktur.
      When Adolf Hitler came to power, his National Socialist Party
decreed that the Fraktur be considered the only appropriate letter form
for the German language. This resulted in a wider use of Fraktur in the
twentieth century than in earlier times. In 1940, however, is was
officially determined that Fraktur interfered with the German plan of
world domination, since outside Germany the roman forms prevailed. Thus,
the Nazis then issued a proclamation that roman would henceforth be the
german standard type, the explanation given being that Fraktur was a
'Schwabacher-Jewish type'.
     In postwar-Germany roman has become the standard type, although
with some difficulty

Good luck! Akshaya de Groot (The Netherlands)

Ganesan wrote:
>         A quick question?
>         *****************
> Please tell me When was the German writing changed from
> Gothic to Roman scripts?
> N. Ganesan

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list