Re: Uppercase ß

Asmus Freytag (c) via Unicode unicode at
Tue May 29 18:32:19 CDT 2018

On 5/29/2018 2:46 PM, Werner LEMBERG wrote:
>>> 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.  [...]
>> Hmm, don't see anyone calling for that in this discussion.
> Well, I hear an implicit ”Great, there is now an `ẞ' character!  Let's
> use it as the uppercase version of `ß' everywhere so that this nasty
> German peculiarity is finally gone.“

The ALL-CAPS "SS" really has little to recommend it, intrinsically. It 
is de-facto a fall-back; one that competed with "SZ" as used in 
telegrams (while they still were a thing). Not being able to know how to 
hyphenate MASSE without knowing the meaning of the word is also not 
something that I consider a "benefit".

Uppercase forms for `ß' have been kicking around in fonts for a long 
time as was documented around the time that the character was encoded. 
It is possible mainly because running text in ALL CAPS is  indeed 
uncommon (and in the time of Fraktur was effectively not viable because 
the Fraktur capitals don't lend themselves to it. (If SS had ever 
occurred in Title-Case, I doubt it would have survived as long, other 
than the "Swiss solution" of making it the only form, also in lower case).

Saving an uppercase form for a non-initial letter was a godsend on 
typewriters -- adding to the factors that made the "SS" solution 
acceptable. But sign writers, type designers and typesetters did not 
find it so universally attractive - also documented exhaustively.

With changing environment (starting with influence from Anglo-Saxon use 
of type and not ending with the way the character is treated in relation 
to phonetics) I've been expecting so see usage evolving; and not 
necessarily driven by software engineers.


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