Gazette:News:The EU's Alphabetical Diversity

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La Gazette

With its mind-boggling multi-lingual alphabetization, in the EU countries can simply go missing.

German journalists registering for the French presidency of the European Union in July had an unusual problem: they couldn't find their country.

The registration Web site, drawn up in flawless English, featured a drop-down menu listing 201 countries of origin. There was just one problem: Germany, the EU's largest member, appeared not to be there.

Only a painstaking search revealed the Teuton titan, nestled in the alphabetical list between Algeria and Andorra. The reason: although the Web site was in English, it was based on a French original -- and in French, "Germany" is "Allemagne."

It takes a special kind of organization to make even alphabetical order that complicated.

Deutsche Welle



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