Mark Davis ☕ mark at
Wed Dec 2 22:25:15 CET 2009

Everyone knows that "ß" is not "ss", and "ss" is not "SS", and
is not "ä", and "can't" is not "cant". The question is a bit deeper than
that. Here is the picture of the behavior:


   - allows "ß" (mapping to "ss"), "SS" (mapping to "ss"),
   (mapping to "ä"), "ss", "ä", "cant"
   - forbids "can't".


   - allows "ß" (not mapping to "ss"), "ss", "ä", "cant"
   - forbids "Ä <file://localhost/%C3%84>", "SS", and "can't"


On Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 12:52, Michael Everson <everson at> wrote:

> I'll just say it again. ß is not ss. ß is not ſs either. Þ is not
> th.
> On the other hand, Ü is ü.
> > I'm not Patrik, but what I think is interesting is that ß is
> > meaningless in Swedish.  For Swedish users, mapping ß to ss may not
> > make sense because ss isn't ß.  Same in English, I can't make a fuß
> > about something, I have to spell it fuss.
> Ha! You can spell it fuſs though in 18th-century orthography.
> But, um, please remember something.
> Swedish users are not monoglot Swedish speakers.
> American users are not monoglot English speakers.
> I'm allowed to be interested in fuß <> if I want.
> Or in iß-
> or imbiß.org <> or or for all I know
> ß <>. Am I
> not?
> > On the other hand, ß is meaningless, so I don't see that it hurts
> > English or Swedish to map it to ss.
> I don't accept that "ß is meaningless". Maybe to someone who has never
> seen it, but in this day and age? And German is still taught in
> American schools, I am sure. That's where I learnt mine. German
> certainly is taught in Irish ones.
> > Digressing:  ß is also very unique.  AFAIK it only has this one
> > behavior because it was originally kinda like a ligature (some
> > typography person's going to correct me :)
> Yes, I am. Its origin is a ligature, but the same can be said of "w".
> The letter "G" was once really "C" with a diacritic stroke.
> > So unless ß has been adopted by another language I don't think
> > there's a language where the mapping is actually wrong.  (ou == o is
> > actually wrong many places, as is dropping diacritics or doing other
> > diacritic mappings).  Eszett is unique.
> All right, everyone, get out your crystal balls....
> ß has been used historically in orthographies for Baltic and Germanic
> languages.
> > On the third hand, ß is also the "correct" spelling for some words,
> > so even though a Swiss user might expect something different, and I
> > don't see any harm in mapping it, it is clear that fußball should be
> > spelled fußball in Germany and Austria.  IMO that doesn't make it
> > harmful that fußball and fussball end up at the same place.
> The harm in mapping it is that is not paß.ie <>
> As I said before, Eisstrasse may be Eisstraße but it cannot be
> Eißtrasse or Eißtraße. Here, ss ≠ ß.
> Michael Everson *
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