AW: AW: sharp s (Eszett)

Claus Färber GMANE at
Fri Mar 21 21:46:13 CET 2008

Georg Ochsner schrieb:
> The reason why there is (was) no uppercase sharp s is, because it
> just does never appear at the beginning of a German word, thus never
> at the beginning of a sentence...

By the time the sharp s came into existance, the German language already 
had some (foreign) words like "Szepter" (now Zepter) or "Szene".

The real reason is, of course, that it started out as a ſz/ſs ligature. 
There was no need for a Sz ligature. (I wonder whether there are 
handwritings showing ſzepter/ßepter or ſzene/ßene.)

> I don't know if it is that easy (already). At the moment Whois
> lookups over the official website of the German registry will be
> rejected as "invalid" if containing a sharp s, so Mr. Faßbinder has
> to know, that it is something else he has to look up.

Actually, it also fails if you enter "mü" ("u" + U+0308) instead 
of "mü" (U+00FC). It does not seem to handle any mapping or 
canonicalization at all.

whois on Debian GNU/Linux works:

cfaerber at wallaroo:~$ whois faß
% Copyright (c)2006 by DENIC

> And if he has the domain registered and types it into his browser 
> with sharp s, then the sharp s will turn into "ss" in the address
> field, telling him, that he is not Mr. Faßbinder any more in the
> digital world but Mr. Fassbinder...

The same happens if he travels to Switzerland or any other foreign 
country (except Austria).

BTW, he'd be Mr fassbinder (or Mr, not Mr Fassbinder.

> The German spelling reform made it easier to know, when to use sharp or
> double s, where the old rules seemed to be too complicated or not logical.

"The spelling reform abolished the sharp s, didn't it?"

The spelling reform generated so much confusion around the sharp s 
(mostly FUD spread by opponents) that it will likely have to be 
abolished. Many people already use "ss" in places where "ß" would still 
be correct just because they don't know better.

Waiting for the next spelling reform is probably easier than changing IDNA.


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