Michael Everson everson at
Wed Dec 2 21:52:11 CET 2009

I'll just say it again. ß is not ss. ß is not ſs either. Þ is not  

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  

> 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  

> 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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