Re: Regarding the swedish locale and sorting rules

Författare: Janne (
Datum: 2003-07-14 12:06:05

On Mon, 2003-07-14 at 11:26, Christian Rose wrote:
> sön 2003-07-13 klockan 23.34 skrev Petter Reinholdtsen:
> > clock format
> > ------------
> > A user of debian have requested a change in the swedish locale in
> > glibc (sv_SE), changing time values from '13.49' to '13:49'.  Are you
> > aware of this request?  Check out <URL:>
> > for the discussion and
> > <URL:>
> > for the patch.
> In fact, both the "13.49" and "13:49" formats are common in Swedish
> writing, and used interchangeably.
> The "13.49" format is recommended by "Svenska skrivregler" (ISBN
> 9121112800, 1999), an authoritative book about rules for the writing of
> the Swedish language. It not only recommends this format, it also
> specifically recommends against using the other format (colon format),
> as the colon is not needed to distinguish time from other decimal
> numbers, as is in English, since comma is used as a decimal character in
> Sweden.
> This time format is also what you'll commonly find used in timetables
> for trains, television etc.
> The "13:49" format is an adoption of the European Standard EN 28601,
> which in its turn is an adoption of the international ISO 8601 standard.
> The Swedish counterpart of these standards is called SS-EN 28601, and as
> a consequence of the adoption of the original international standard it
> mandates the use of the colon format for time.
> So there's a direct conflict between these recommendations. My personal
> opinion, and this is probably at least a part of why the current Swedish
> glibc locale also uses the period format, is that since the locale is
> there mainly for user presentation and formatting, the main compelling
> reasons for using the colon format, data interchageability, are less
> relevant. Also, in my perception, the period format, being used in
> official time tables and the like, has more of an official value to it.

>From my experience (and I have mailed separately about it to Petter),
the colon format is becoming more common than the dot format. The main
exception is, as you say, in timetables, and in hand-written text. I
also happen to feel that if there is a conflict between a format
standard and codified language rules, we should go for the standard,
thus, in time, changing the rules.

On the whole, this is a pretty small issue, however; we could choose
either format, and 99.9% of users would never notice it either way, as
both notations are common and interchangeable.

> > correct sorting order for V v W w
> > ---------------------------------
> > 
> > What is the correct sorting order of the following lines when using
> > the sv_SE locale?
> > 
> >   V
> >   v
> >   W
> >   w
> > 
> > At the moment, it is sorted 'w v W v'.  Is this correct?  I was
> > expecting it to sort like 'w W v V' or 'v V w W', and was a bit
> > surprised to discover this.  Reading the specifications, it is a but
> > hard to know how this should be handled.
> The current glibc sorting is correct regarding this matter. It should
> indeed be sorted "w v W v". The reason behind this can also be read in
> "Svenska skrivregler". English translation follows:
>         "The letter w is normally not present in the Swedish alphabet.
>         It exists in some names in Swedish and foreign words, but is
>         accounted for as a variant of 'v'. Words and names with 'w' are
>         in Swedish ordered alphabetically among the words and names with
>         'v'. If two words or names are only to be distinguished by 'v'
>         or 'w', 'v' is placed before 'w'."
> This sorting rule is also what's commonly used in libraries and phone
> books etc.; you'll find names using "w" sorted together with those
> having "v". This is also why we had the glibc collating for the Swedish
> locale changed to accomodate for this, and I was actually expecting the
> above quote to be present as a comment next to the collating rules in
> the current Swedish locale specification, since it was added when the
> w-v sorting was changed, IIRC.
> The ITS document linked to above does actually list W as a part of the
> Swedish alphabet, and given the above I'm not sure the document is
> correct on that point.

Don't you mean "w v W V", or am I missing something?

Also, I learned that capitalized letters always sort before
uncapitalized ones. As I mentioned separately, this rule I learned in
grammar school quite a lot of years ago, so it may have changed.

As Christian says, w is indeed sorted as a variant of v in Swedish; I
have been doing it wrong my whole life, apparently. :)

> > BTW: I'm not on this list, so please copy any comments to me.

Trust the Computer. The Computer is your friend.

Tel.    +46-046 222 8588             Dr. Janne Morén (mr)
Home:   +46-046 211 4973             Dept. of Cognitive Science
Fax:    +46-046 222 9758             Kungshuset, Lund
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