Dichtung and DichtungAlt


Ditung [Ää Öö Üü]
Ditung Bold
Ditung Black

DitungAlt [Ää Öö Üü]
DitungAlt Bold
DitungAlt Black

Zip file of the TTFs.

Zip file of the webfonts.

PDF of the font table.

The associated Fraktur-specific keyboard layouts: US QWERTY & German QWERTZ.
(with listing of ligatures & associated keystrokes)


As demonstrated in the page heading, the difference between the two font sets is how the umlaut is rendered. In the “Alt” version, the older form of the umlaut is used, one which is simply a small letter ‘e’ placed over the vowel. Otherwise, the fonts are identical.

The name of the font family comes from one of the topic words within the title of one of Goethe’s works: Aus meinem Leben: Ditung und Wahrheit (pub. -, ) [From my Life: Poetry and Truth]. Examples of complete works using theSchluszszene.Faustse typefaces are available among my free documents, in Thomas Mann’s Tonio Kröger and Der Tod in Venedig, and in German words given within etymological entries within the vocabulary of the Anglo-Saxon text of Bēowulf.

Of the five or more available copies of Dichtung und Wahrheit published using Fraktur (from the 19th century), I’ve not found one of them that had an Antiqua-like (or “Old English” font) version of the ‘k’ glyph—they all have variants of the older, stem-top version. This older version of the ‘k’ is the style created for these fonts. I have also redesigned the esszet Eſszet ß’ character slightly, so that it’s closer to the rest of the font in style than it had been in the originals.

For most of its history as a modern language German has been written in a separate script, called Fraktur (pronounced like English “frock”+”tour” [accented on the second]). In German itself, it is known alternatively as die alte Srithe old script.

This script was also used on occasion for other languages throughout Protestant, northern Europe until the start of the twentieth century, specifically among some Scandinavian and Baltic nations. In the German Hill Country of Texas, it was used in newspapers and notices, for all German text; it was also used within them for the STexaner.Deutsch.icon.weborbian language texts of these Slavic-speaking Germans who had also migrated into that area with the Germans.

Although Fraktur fonts are often still given a strong connection with Nazi propaganda among unlettered society, the entire class of fonts was actually banned by the Nazis as being “Jewish script” (which, of course, it wasn’t). This erroneous connection with the Nazi regime was one reason Fraktur fell out of favor [accompanied by some not-so-subtle pushing from the Allied Powers, based on that same error], and has meant that Fraktur has become less and less commonly used, and easily comprehended, among native German speakers.

Therefore, because it was banned by the Third Reich, use of Fraktur is in fact an anti-Nazi activity.

Fraktur is also known, at times, by its general font-weight class, Black letter, which details its origin in the ink-heavy character-styles used in the handwritten books of the European Middle Ages. [The font styles that came out of Italy starting in the Renaissance—the basis for almost all Western, “Roman” fonts now—were reserved within German texts for words of Latin- or Romance-origin appearing there. That class of font face was labeled Antiqua in German-speaking areas.]

However, because I learned German using the old script, it is one to which I became early attached, and that I still very much enjoy. While in college I spent a great deal of time reading older works of German literature, ones published before the Nazi Era and its insidious attempts to destroy the breadth and depth of German cultural heritage and productivity. Many, if not almost all, of the German books published in the United States and Britain before the Second World War appear in Fraktur. I have been able to amaze college professors of German with my facility to read die alte Sri as fast as, or faster than, most of their students could read German formatted in the currently predominant Antiqua formatting.

During undergraduate school I also spent a great deal of time reading the handwritten notes of Beethoven, and his personal correspondence with Goethe and others, so I was one of the few individuals (among those older students or professors not born before World War II) who could actually read (and write) the style called Kurrent—which is the handwritten version of Fraktur—rather than the modern Antiqua-based style of handwriting taught almost everywhere nowadays. An interesting font-version of a Kurrent font is offered by Walden Fonts.

This double set (of 3 fonts each) has the font family (or typeface) names of Dichtung and DichtungAlt.

An important thing to remember about Fraktur is NEVER to use the operating system’s automatic “leaning” capacity to create an oblique or ‘italic’ rendering of a Fraktur font. This was never, ever done with Fraktur: this is an attribute associated solely with Antiqua font faces.

Emphasis is imparted to all text formatted in Fraktur either by adding spacing—as is built into the ‘bold’ version of Dichtung and DichtungAlt—or by using a larger point size. Another option is provided by the ‘Black’ variants of these fonts supplied here.

The orthography problem.

In the final decade of the previous century some bureaucratic-apparatchik language specialists in Germany came up with a series of changes to the orthography rules that they thought would make German spelling more “logical”, historically/linguistically “accurate”, and/or “easy” for the users.

The fact is, however, that they accomplished none of those things. They created a monster system that does not in the least make German spelling more logical, easier, or in any way more true to etymological sources. In fact, they actually forced through some spelling changes that have made German even less true to etymology.

Best practice for formatting Fraktur text is to use the classical orthography rules that predominated during the 20th century—or even to return to those that were current during the 17th through 19th centuries, those rules that guided Goethe, Schiller, Heine and other giants of German literature.

It is better not to use the latest, shit-orthography in Fraktur settings, particularly in words in which the latest orthography would force the appearance of three(!) consecutive s’s, where the previous orthographies, and common sense, would have only two; it is particularly best to retain the old spelling with such common words as the conjunction daßdaß’ (which the spewers of that new orthography hold as somehow confusing, and would replace with the very ugly spelling dass). However, if you are forced to use the Scheißorthographie with Fraktur, those hideous three-s situations should be formatted in Fraktur as long-s + short-s + long-s. [Aber, iwerde nie, nie—nimmer—das  daß ohne Esze reiben!]


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