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Overtly long argument about the article name[edit]

Should the title actually be Würzburg, or alternatively Wuerzburg (with "ue" to represent the umlaut)? Brendio 15:51, 15 Jan 2006 (EST)

No, I think the title should be Wurzburg because the u is the English spelling while the ü is German. Many people simply drop the umlaut to transliterate the name. Wuerzburg is an alternative English spelling. Google suggests both are about as popular, with between about half and one million articles each in English containing only one of the 3 words. -- Huttite 17:26, 15 Jan 2006 (EST)
On the official website for Würzburg (, it is listed with the umlaut in the English version of the page. Spelling it with the umlaut would keep it in line with other pages on Wikitravel, such as Füssen and Tübingen. Nuremberg (Nürnberg) and Munich (München) I would count as exceptions in that these have well-known English names, and the change is more than just the umlaut in the English version. This usage is also in line with my printed guidebook. Brendio 18:14, 15 Jan 2006 (EST)
According to Wikitravel:Why Wikitravel doesn't use official names and the Wikitravel:Article naming conventions, articles should be called by their most common English name. Also Wikitravel:Foreign words recommends using both alternatives. In Wursburg's case there are 3 about equally popular spellings. Also Wikipedia spells it without a ü. In the case of Füssen and Tübingen, you may also want to compare their spellings with Fussen and Tubingen to see if redirects exist or a discussion like this has been held. Just because those names are spelled with a ü does not mean the spelling is the most common name; it probably just means that nobody has considered what the most appropriate name should be.
The English language has 26 letters; ü is not one of them. I maintain that ü indicates a German language spelling because ü is not used in English, but it is in German. Indeed I hold this same view with all diacritics on all place names.
I can accept someone writing ü in order to be culturally sensitive, or politically correct, but to me this indicates a German word being used in English. However, an English speaker who is not familiar with German will probably type Wurzburg rather than Würzburg because it is a lot easier to do, rather than loading up another language extension for their keyboard. In following this convention I consider such a traveller comes first when writing an article, so ask: what would they probably do if they had a choice? Once they find the article, generally where they expect it, I would expect to see the alternative spelling combinations. That way a traveller is reassured that they have the right place and know same place is spelled in different ways.
For Wurzburg, I find a google search turns up about half to one million uses of the word in English articles, depending on the query used. Würzburg and Wuerzburg appear to be seen as synonymns by google and also turn up around a million English articles, though Würzburg turns up several million articles in all languages. Given the possibility that Würzburg is used in articles that say they are in English, but are actually in German, I am inclined to say Wurzburg is the most common English name. I would consider Wuerzburg as a poor second as many would be confused and think Wuerzburg was a different place to Würzburg because of the extra e. Also, considering this information, I think leaving the article as Wurzburg is the best option, unless there is an authorative English Language reference that indicates otherwise. -- Huttite 19:16, 15 Jan 2006 (EST)
At the risk of opening a can of Worms, can I ask for clarification if a distinction is made between titles and usage within an article? Considering the traveller comes first policy, I could understand that a person with no knowledge of German would most likely type in Wurzburg rather than Würzburg or Wuerzburg when searching for the first time. However, once they are in Germany, they will be buying their train ticket to Würzburg, not Wurzburg. Should the version with the umlaut then be used within the article itself? In any case, redirects are cheap, and should be included whatever the final outcome (currently not the case from Tubingen or Fussen).
A couple of friendly points of contention: You said that "Wikipedia spells it without a ü" Wikipedia actually has a redirect from Wurzburg to Würzburg, and maintains the spelling "Würzburg" throughout. I agree with you that "The English language has 26 letters; ü is not one of them." However, the policy at Wikitravel:Article naming conventions allows the use of Latin characters, "with or without accents or diacritics."
And a query to open the can further. What is to be done with the etset (ß)? Obviously it should not be used in article names, but what about within an article? I would vote against it's consistent use throughout an article, just once at the beginning, following by the "ss" version. Brendio 19:43, 15 Jan 2006 (EST)
For technical reasons I think article names (that is the URL's) should be spelt without diacritics and use only the English A-Z. If you look at the URL's that get produced by Würzburg, for example, they appear nothing like Würzburg or even Wurzburg. In a Google search this could immediately downrank the page because the actual term appearing in the URL is a significant factor for page ranking. Google highlights these terms, for example. For this reason I would suggest that Wurzburg is a much better article name. There should, of course, be redirects from all other spelling alternatives to this name, but the article should sit here.
Also, I have previously encountered a false rendering of of a name containing a ß, which leads me to suspect that URL's with diacritics and foreign characters in them can be misinterpreted, as they are non-standard, and not always rendered the same way. Also if someone has a characterset missing they may not even be able to recognise what character is being used, as missing or unrecognised chacters appear as a little box in my browser.
I am far more flexible over, what is said in the Article. I do not really mind which spelling version(s) gets used, provided the major alternative spellings are defined at least once at the beginning. We can debate which is the best option on a case by case basis. -- Huttite 20:09, 15 Jan 2006 (EST)

The problem of formatting of the umlaut only seems to be a problem in the address bar (in Firefox at least), by which time you are already at the page and can read the various name versions in the first line of the text. Your suggestion of completely avoiding diacritics (in general) goes against the current Wikitravel:Article naming conventions, so I guess would have to be discussed there. As an aside, common practice for german web addresses is to add the e in the urls. As to lowering the page rank in Google, Wikipedia seems to cope with it okay, and at a quick glance currently comes up 7th for "Wuerzburg", 15th for "Würzburg", and not within the top 40 for "Wurzburg".
In the article, I think it should at least be consistent, which it is not at the moment and looks sloppy. Wikitravelers without easy access to the umlauts could still edit without them, and those of us with German keyboards couuld then change them for consistency.Brendio 21:07, 15 Jan 2006 (EST)

There is no english name for Würzburg. Wurzburg is incorrect. Kingjeff 22:10, 15 Jan 2006 (EST)

Well, here we should use the most common English name. I take it you are arguing that Würzburg is the most common usage of the name in English texts - on that I will agree. Thoug I still maintain it is not an English word. -- Huttite 16:44, 16 Jan 2006 (EST)

As far as I'm concern the debate has to be between using the umlet over the u or the "e". Using neither is incorrect. Kingjeff 22:21, 15 Jan 2006 (EST)

I think the version with the umlaut is both correct and in accordance with the naming policy. I hate "ue" with a vengeance, as it's the worst of both worlds. Jpatokal 22:40, 15 Jan 2006 (EST)

I totally agree. Using is the e is suppose to be used when a person can't use the umlet. Kingjeff 23:51, 15 Jan 2006 (EST)

Ok, I agree we use Würzburg as the article name. However, I disagree with you about Wurzburg. You are trying to argue that because Wurzburg is incorrect it should not used in the article. Yet I find over half a million references using a google search. Is it acceptable to say in the article that the name is (sometimes (mis)spelled as Wurzburg)? -- Huttite 16:44, 16 Jan 2006 (EST)
Isn't the redirect from Wurzburg enough? Then the person can see that it should have the umlaut, but they don't need to have that character on their keyboard to get there. Brendio 17:07, 16 Jan 2006 (EST)

Webster's has Würzburg as a main entry, although it seems to have some software issues with Unicode text. Britannica has the same spelling, with umlaut.I don't know what people's definition of "an English word" is, but "listed in English encyclopediae and dictionaries" might be a good stake in the ground. The Getty Thesaurus of Geographical Names also gives the umlaut form as the "preferred" name. --Evan 16:53, 16 Jan 2006 (EST)

The fact is there is no english translation for Würzburg. Anyone who does not use an umlet or an e is wrong. Kingjeff 10:51, 17 Jan 2006 (EST)

English usage is made by people using words wrongly and making spelling mistakes. It might be a mistake if one person makes it, but what if everyone does, or accepts it? I know of no single authority that determines what is and is not correct English usage. For example: Americans drop the letter U if it appears after O from many words. However, I consider that an incorrect spelling, but it is still acceptable English.
I consider Wurzburg to be similar. It may be incorrect to you, but for many English speakers who are unfamiliar with German, they will see Wurzburg and Würzburg as alternate spellings of the same word - in English - even if it is incorrect in German. Likewise spelling Würzburg as Wuerzburg will not be seen as alternate spellings of the same word, even though they are intended to be phonetically equivalent. Essentially ü = u to many English speakers.
Please be aware that many English speakers come with cultural baggage (call it ignorance if you want) that simply strips off all the diacritics and just substitues a similar looking letter from the English alphabet. This is because the spelling of many English words bears little or no relationship to their pronounciation, unlike many other languages. In spoken English, speakers often learn how to pronounce each unfamiliar word from hearing others say the word, or through phonetic spelling systems. In effect English has developed into two parts, a written language and a spoken language, and in the written language the diacritics are a nusance because they are too hard to type, so they are dropped for a similar looking letter, not a similar sounding combination. -- Huttite 17:03, 17 Jan 2006 (EST)
That is why for each page with a diacritic should also have a redirect from the page without, and perhaps (not sure if it is really necessary) from the e-ized spelling. But we should still be sticking to the policy of keeping the diacritics unless an "official" or common English name exits. This gets over the barrier of cultural baggage (which unlike normal baggage is good to be losted as once travels) in allowing the person to find the page, and educating them at the same time. -- Brendio 17:25, 17 Jan 2006 (EST)

I don't accept not using an umlet. Are we going to change every name that has an umlet or foreign symbols? as far as deciding what usage we're going to use, this is a travel guide not an english website. Kingjeff 22:04, 17 Jan 2006 (EST)

Well, actually, this is the English language version of the Wikitravel website and here we use the most common English name. Now, if this was the German language version you would be perfectly right with insisting it was Würzburg and nothing else. Although we have accepted Würzburg as the article name, some English language speakers (probably a lot of them) will spell the name Wurzburg. According to this google search, over half a million web pages of them! While you may not accept bad spelling of the name, apparently a lot of other people do. Please remember the traveller comes first here, not you or me - (and I took German at school for 2 years, so at least appreciate the issue with German spellings, not like a lot of other English speakers). Whether or not you or I think it is right or wrong, a lot of other people out there in cyberspace accept the mispelling as being a valid alternative. That being so, we should at least mention it in the article as a mispelling and provide a redirect.
The redirect is already there, so what exactly are you arguing for? Jpatokal 23:07, 17 Jan 2006 (EST)
Having Wurzburg as an alternative (mis)spelling mentioned once in the article. -- Huttite 01:43, 18 Jan 2006 (EST)
As to changing all the pages with foreign symbols - frankly - yes. We should select the name that has the most common English usage. The quick (and dirty) way to do this is to strip off all the diacritics then wait for an objection.
No, I'm afraid you'll have to get Wikitravel:Article naming policy changed first, because it clearly says that Latin characters with or without diacritics are OK. However, said policy has already been debated extensively, and I think it's unlikely you'll be able to get a consensus to change it back into pure 7-bit ASCII only (which is what it said before). Jpatokal 23:07, 17 Jan 2006 (EST)
While article with diacritics are OK they may not always be the most common name. The quick and dirty method is to only determine a likely English name without diacritics. Then test it using google for commonness. -- Huttite 01:43, 18 Jan 2006 (EST)
If you want to be more accurate, search google; compare the result with a search for the the same place with and without diacritics in English. Exclude the alternative spelling(s) if need be to get two independent counts. I did this for Würzburg, Wurzburg and Wuerzburg. Google counts more for Würzburg, but only 2 to 1 - not really by very much. And remember the default web language is English, which could overcount the foreign language spelling if a website is not strict about language settings - and most aren't. -- Huttite 22:56, 17 Jan 2006 (EST)


When is it? There's no much sense in citing an event in a travel guide without the dates. 04:38, 25 June 2007 (EDT)

Better train directions[edit]

Frankfurt airport seems to be the closest international airport, so those headed for Würzburg flying from outside Germany could most likely use specific train directions from the train terminal at FRA. Can anyone contribute some relevant advice there? Ijon 17:24, 28 September 2011 (EDT)