Uppercase ß

Werner LEMBERG via Unicode unicode at unicode.org
Tue May 29 14:15:09 CDT 2018

> Overlooked in this discussion is the fact that the revised
> orthography of 1996 introduces for the first time a systematic
> difference in pronunciation for the vowel preceding SS vs. ẞ (short
> vs. long).  As users of the old orthography age out, I would not be
> surprised if the SS fallback were to become less acceptable over
> time because it would be at odds with how the word is to be
> pronounced. I'm also confidently expecting the use of ALL CAPS to
> become (somewhat) more prevalent under the continued influence of
> English usage.

It's not that simple.

* `ß' is never used in Switzerland; it's always `ss' (and `SS').  Even
  ambiguous cases like `Masse' are always written like that.  This
  means that for Swiss users `ẞ' is even more alien than for most
  German and Austrian users.  In particular, there doesn't exist a
  `unity SS' in Swiss German at all!  For example, the word `Maße' if
  capitalized to `MASSE' is hyphenated as `MA-SSE' in Germany and
  Austria (since `SS' is treated in this case as a unity).  However,
  the word is hyphenated as `MAS-SE' in Switzerland, since `ss', as a
  replacement for `ß', is *not* treated as a unity.

* There are dialectic differences between northern and southern
  Germany (and Austria).  Example: `Geschoß' vs. `Geschoss', which
  means exactly the same – and both orthographies are allowed.  For
  such cases, `GESCHOSS' is a much better uppercase version since it
  covers both dialectic forms.

I very much dislike the approach that just for the sake of `simplistic
standardization for uppercase' the use if `ẞ' should be enforced in
German.  It's not the job of a language to fit computer usage.  It's
rather the job of computers to fit language usage.


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