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To which extent can I expect German-speakers to understand Sütterlinschrift? In which of the following situations would it be fine to use it?

  • Written exam in German
  • Written exam in physics
  • Residence application and other offical forms
  • Letter to a company
  • Postcard to a friend, <30 years old
  • Postcard to a friend, >50 years old
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But you should wait for Tom Au's opinion. It is totally possible that German-Americans that immigrated in the 1920s continued to use it. –  Phira Jun 17 '11 at 14:58
Your friend >50 may just be one of the last who learned it at school. –  Takkat Jun 17 '11 at 15:21
@Tim N Learn Kurrent if you want learn a really calligaphic style. Sütterlin is kind of a simplified kurrent. –  FUZxxl Jun 17 '11 at 16:04
LOL +1 for suggesting to write exams in Sütterlin :) –  Felix Dombek Jun 18 '11 at 11:30
@thei:I have no comment on this one. –  Tom Au Aug 29 '11 at 17:40

4 Answers 4

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Actually, I would never expect anyone to understand Sütterlin, independent of the situations you describe. There are exceptions, of course, and within the older age group, you may actually find people to read it easily. My grandparents learnt Sütterlin in school, while my parents did not. Me neither, of course.

To answer your question, you should only use it if you are sure the addressed person not only understands Sütterlin, but wants to read it. This restricts the use to some personal settings and communication with linguists, basically.

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As OregonGhost wrote, Sütterlin is completely out-of use in germany, and i would expect people to be able to read Sütterlin only in special areas, for example archives or libraries (old library catalogues are partly written by hand using Sütterlin). Using Sütterlin in written exams nowadays would be a certain way to annoy the examiner severely...

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The examiner may even refuse to correct your exam because he can't read it. –  FUZxxl Jun 17 '11 at 16:05
@FUZxxl: I think he won't even consider correcting your exam unless you're very lucky. –  Hendrik Vogt Jun 17 '11 at 21:28
Sütterlin letters are sometimes used in mathematical symbols. –  Max Ried Jun 19 '11 at 21:10

None of these situations would be appropriate if your friend does not share your language interests (regardless of age).

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A late answer, I just now found the question.

Despite what the others said, we were actually told by several teachers at high school that Sütterlin is still strictly speaking accepted when handing in a test or homework (as in, the teacher has to accept it, and pretty much regardless of the subject). I’m not entirely sure if this is actually true but since several teachers told us this, I, being a smart-ass, obviously had to try this claim. It worked.

For context, I went to school in the 90s. And yes, I learned Sütterlin in elementary school but at high school I was one of the only ones who had.

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