[Tex/LaTex] What’s the difference between ngerman and german in babel


I use the following three packages to get correct German umlauts in the generated PDF:

\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} % this is needed for umlauts
\usepackage[ngerman]{babel} % this is needed for umlauts
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}    % this is needed for correct output of umlauts in pdf

Today, I have seen this:


What's the difference between ngerman and german? I think n could probably mean new, but which one should I use? Do you have an example where it matters?

Best Answer

As has been said before, german is Alte Rechtschreibung (= "right-writing" = orthography = "right-writing"), ngerman is Neue Rechtschreibung. The part that's really relevant is hyphenation, because that's what babel influences. So here are some examples what has changed in hyphenation, taken from canoonet (I'm strongly assuming that babel implemented these changes, but I didn't check the code):

old         new
Braue-rei   Brau-e-rei
Bäk-ker     Bä-cker     ← This is imho the most important change, which can easily be spotted
Mei-ster    Meis-ter

While changes like old Schiffahrt to new Schifffahrt are correct, they're not really relevant from babel's point of view because babel doesn't correct your spelling, so that's really up to you, i.e. it depends on what you type. As always with such conventions, you should be consistent in your choice of orthography. Officially, Alte Rechtschreibung has been deprecated for a few years; before that, both were "allowed".

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