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I know Duden covers orthography beyond just how to spell words. And I've just learned of Rat für deutsche Rechtschreibung.

I also know they encompass differences between the various German-using countries.

I'm interested to know if they clarify how to format references to amounts of money, including:

  • Whether the currency symbol is to the left or right of the price
  • Whether using a symbol such as $, £, means a different format to using USD, EUR, CHF
  • Which symbol to use as thousands separator
  • Which symbol to use as decimal point
  • Whether different German-using countries differ on any of these points
  • Whether the rules also cover the formatting of foreign currencies

So far the best I can find is from Wikipedia which lists in a table:

€  Language    Euro sign usage

   German      6,28 € (DE)
               €6,28 (AT)
               €6.28 (CH)
               €6.28 (FL)   
  • Is there any reason, you are particularly interested in the Duden? Since a few years, it’s just another dictionary. – Wrzlprmft Dec 9 '14 at 8:45
  • @Wrzlprmft: I thought they were the official publishers of the Rechtschreibung for the German language and went well beyond plain monolingual dictionary. If not Duden anymore then I'm interested in whatever is the language regulation body for German. – hippietrail Dec 9 '14 at 11:42
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    DIN 5008 probably has something to say on this matter, maybe DIN 1333, too, and of course an equivalent ÖNORM. – Crissov Dec 9 '14 at 17:23
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    For completeness sake: The official German spelling rules (published by the Rat für deutsche Rechtschreibung) do not address this. – Wrzlprmft Dec 9 '14 at 22:39
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While I do agree with Wrzlprmft's statement about the Duden's significance, for me, it still is a good starting point.


Whether the currency symbol is to the left or right of the price

The closest I could find to answer your question is a blog post on Neue-Rechtschreibung.net which cross-references the printed version of one of Duden's editions:

Die Währungseinheit ist im Allgemeinen nach dem Betrag zu schreiben, weil sie auch erst nach der Zahl gesprochen wird. Man schreibt also in fortlaufenden Texten, Geschäftsbriefen usw. 3,45 €; 270,00 EUR usw. In Aufstellungen und im Zahlungsverkehr kann das Währungszeichen aus Gründen der besseren Übersicht auch vorangestellt werden (€ 3,45; EUR 0,05). [Aus: Duden, Band 9, zitiert von Neue-Rechtschreibung.net]

Therefore, according to the Duden (Band 9) you would start with the figure followed by the currency unit („nach dem Betrag“) as this is how you would usually use it orally („… weil sie auch erst nach der Zahl gesprochen wird“), e.g.:

Das Buch kostet 99 Cent.

or

Der Kaffee kostet 1,80 €.

The part about the Aufstellungen deals with how you'd write figures with currency units in lists or tables. In this case, Duden recommends pre-fixing the figure with the currency unit for reasons of clarity.


Whether using a symbol such as $, £, € means a different format to using USD, EUR, CHF

To quote the aforementioned blog again:

Gleiches gilt natürlich auch für andere Währungen.

=> The same is true for currencies other than Euro.

Thinking about daily usage and what I have seen so far I'd say that: no, using the symbol means no different format that using, e.g., USD, EUR, ….

According to the German Wikipedia about „Schreibweise von Zahlen“,:

Folgt auf die Zahl ein Einheitenzeichen (cm, km, °C) oder steht vor/hinter einer Zahl ein Währungszeichen (€, EUR, $), so ist dieses Zeichen im Computersatz durch ein geschütztes Leerzeichen oder ein geschütztes schmales Leerzeichen anzubinden.

they are seen as the same („Währungszeichen (€, EUR, $)“).


Which symbol to use as thousands separator

A space.

1 234 567,78 €

To quote the aforementioned Wikipedia entry:

Der Duden übernimmt die Schreibweise von Zahlen aus den DIN-Normen, gibt also ebenfalls das Leerzeichen zur Tausendertrennung vor.

=> The Duden borrows the notation from the DIN norms DIN 1333 and DIN 5008.


Which symbol to use as decimal point

As a decimal point, you would usually use a comma, e.g.

1,32 m (1.32 metres)

2,99 €


Whether the rules also cover the formatting of foreign currencies

This has been mentioned before: They do.

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    Very thorough answer. The only thing missing is on the variation between Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland as mentioned in Wikipedia is also in Duden at all. – hippietrail Dec 9 '14 at 11:47
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    Note that in Switzerland, the thousands separator is the ', and the decimal point is the .. Of course, they also don't use the ß, while we're at it... – Tobias Kienzler Dec 9 '14 at 12:28
  • I should have mentioned that what I was writing about was how it’s handled in Germany … – PattaFeuFeu Dec 9 '14 at 13:49
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    While it is true in general that the space character is to be used as thousands separator, DIN and Duden allow dots as separator when specifying amounts of money (according to the WP page you are linking to and also other sources. Since the OP is asking specifically for rules that apply to amounts of money, I think this is worth mentioning here. – Matthias Dec 9 '14 at 21:55
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According to Duden Volume 9 Richtiges und gutes Deutsch, the currency unit is generally placed after the numerical value because the currency is also pronounced after the number. Thus, in continuous texts or in business letters, you write

3,45 €

270,00 EUR

In lists, tables, and transactions, for clarity’s sake, the currency unit may be placed first:

€ 3,45

EUR 0,05

(These rules correspond to the German standard DIN 5008 Rules for the writing and layout of word processing documents.)

According to Duden Volume 1 Die deutsche Rechtschreibung, a space is used to separate the unit from the number. A line break between number and unit should be avoided.

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