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I am a speaker of German as well as a math student and enthusiast. As one might expect, scripts and notation are very important in math, and much of the notation developed in the German-speaking world. This means, when I engage with algebra on the day to day, I get to use Fraktur! I wonder, is there anyone out there (mathematician or not) who also engages with Fraktur? If so, why?

Thanks!

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Selbst die FAZ nur noch im Titel und nicht mehr im Kommentar auf der ersten Seite. –  Carsten Schultz Nov 23 '13 at 17:24
    
But get to use only means to read it occasionally - not to write something in it? –  user unknown Nov 23 '13 at 18:19
    
A few years ago, Judith Schalanksy has elaborated on the subject in the non-textbook "Fraktur mon amour". –  user4929 Dec 16 '13 at 15:25
    
Lies Nachkommenschaft. –  c.p. Dec 16 '13 at 17:59

2 Answers 2

up vote 16 down vote accepted

There are several groups or occasions for fraktur:

  1. People who are enthusiastic about fraktur for its own sake.
  2. Enthusiast for a fitting epoch, e.g. 1920s enthusiasts.
  3. If you want something to look historically authentic, for example props for movies, theatre or roleplaying.
  4. If you want to give something an old, traditional or sometimes festive touch. Many traditional restaurants, alcohol and food producers, newspapers etc. use fraktur or another kind of blackletter in their logos (but usually only there). Diplomas or wedding invitations etc. would be another area of application.
  5. If you want something to look especially weird, you can combine fraktur with notably non-traditional elements (e.g., the color pink).
  6. If you want something to look German (especially outside of Germany). E.g., in Asterix and the Goths, fraktur is used for the text in the Goths’ speech bubbles.
  7. There are still some radical language conservativists, who claim that fraktur is better suited for the German language and may even want it to be revived.
  8. Neonazis, who want to be as German as possible in every aspect (and may not know that it was the Nazis who abolished blackletter in the first place).

Though I have worked on a blackletter digitalisation myself (due to points 1–3), I would say that the majority of blackletter enthusiasts is somewhere between not quite right in the head and fully insane.

Also, when using fraktur in a way where it’s not obviously case 2–6, you always risk that people think that you do it because of reason 8. This especially holds, if you are using the long s.

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I am not sure if point 8 is true, if it is so, then it is an irony of history, as Hitler himself killed Fraktur, see this document upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bc/… (which is itself funny, because it calls Fraktur flasely "Schwabacher Judenlettern" but in the heading "Nationalsozialistsche Arbeiterpartei ..." is set in those alledged jewish letters). –  Ingo Dec 16 '13 at 18:58
    
There is (or was?) also the "Gothic" (middle age fans) youth culture, where Fraktur seems to be held in high esteem. –  Ingo Dec 16 '13 at 19:00
    
@Ingo: Which part about part 8 do you doubt? A disproportionately high use of fraktur amongst Neonazis is something that can be verified just by any journalistic coverage about them. My statement about their motivation is admittedly only an educated guess. –  Wrzlprmft Dec 16 '13 at 19:06
    
@Ingo: Though these subcultures overlap a little, Goths and fans of the Middle Ages are not the same. Anyway, both are covered by point 2 or 4, in my opinion. –  Wrzlprmft Dec 16 '13 at 19:09
    
You are right, 2 and 4 cover the Gothics. Regarding point 8, I am not sure if it is true that Neo-Nazis are pro Fraktur, can you cite references for this (if possible, avoid direct links to Nazi sites). –  Ingo Dec 16 '13 at 19:16

Strictly speaking "Fraktur" only refers to one of several Blackletter typefaces (called "gebrochene Schriften", broken fonts, in German). They are still used for street signs in some places or the occasional logo, masthead or headline, but apart from that have no place in contemporary German typography.

Most younger people find it difficult to read (it's not taught in school) and consequently have little tolerance for it.

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