AW: Mapping?

Georg Ochsner g.ochsner at
Thu Dec 3 00:42:37 CET 2009

Hello Michael,

thank you for once more putting all this right! I am constantly shaking my head because people believe to know how little the German users would need the ß and its distinction from ss. In my opinion IDNA should try to enable as many letters (!) as possible anyway, but if one is trying to assess the relevance of the ß, then shouldn't be the actual usage of it the most relevant and objective factor?

Please could someone provide numbers of the actual usage of ß, ä, ö, ü, and the other 26 letters within German online texts (not links) in Germany and Austria? Or query the Duden and have a look on how many German words can ONLY be spelled properly with ß? Or query a German Wikipedia dump and see how often the letters are used? BTW as I wrote before 1,5 Mio. Germans have a surname with ß, that's more than 1,8% of the population.

Best regards

> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
> Von: idna-update-bounces at [mailto:idna-update-
> bounces at] Im Auftrag von Michael Everson
> Gesendet: Mittwoch, 2. Dezember 2009 21:52
> An: IDNA update work
> Betreff: Re: Mapping?
> 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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