Uppercase germandbls is coming to Unicode

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Adam Twardoch's picture
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Uppercase germandbls is coming to Unicode
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Andreas Stötzner and the German DIN committee submitted a proposal to the ISO 10646 working group that uppercase ß (germandbls, [[eszett]], sharp s) should be added to Unicode/ISO 10646.

U+1E9E is the envisioned codepoint.

The proposal can be viewed at:
http://std.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/wg2/docs/N3227.pdf

It is important to note that according to the proposal, even after adding this character to Unicode, the standard uppercase mapping for "ß" will remain "SS". This encoding effort is not about changing existing application or even spelling rules -- it is simply an effort to encode a character to be used in an "alternate" spelling which some people use (and currently have problems with properly encoding the text). It is an observed fact that "uppercase ß" exists, even if the official rules don't envision it.

I believe it is an interesting effort, and it would be reasonable to discuss what the best possible shape for the new character would be.

Some links in German:

http://www.signographie.de/cms/signa_9.htm (published by Andreas Stötzner, I recommend reviewing all the PDFs published there.)

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Versal-Eszett

Some German type designers posted some of their design proposals for an uppercase ß at:
http://www.typeforum.de/modules.php?op=modload&name=XForum&file=viewthre...

I find many of these design proposals structurally flawed -- they don’t look like uppercase letters. They look like lowercase letters enlarged to match uppercase. The graphical structure of the Roman uppercase is very different from lowercase. If one were to invent a new uppercase letter, it would have to stylistically match the Roman uppercase. If Unicode really decides to encode uppercase ß, type designers should imagine what the uppercase ß would have looked from the very beginning, rather than trying to work out of the existing lowercase ß form.

Note that the history of "ß" is somewhat surprising. The letter developed in a two-wise way: as a ligation of long s and round ("normal") s, and as a ligation of long s and z. The German language adopted unified spelling rules only in 1901. Before that, both in the middle ages and in the humanist period, German spelling differed much. For example, "Thor" and "Tor" were equal variants of spelling the word meaning "gate".

Sharp s was denoted by different writers differently (as ſs or ſz, which looked like ſʒ). The graphical shape of the ß ligature developed independently in these two ways.

This dichotomy still shows itself in a small minority practice of uppercasing ß as "SZ" rather than "SS". Incidentally, this practice is understandable for most German readers (though not actively practiced), i.e. "GROSZSTADT" or "MASZGEBLICH" is understandable as the uppercasing of Großstadt or maßgeblich.

See http://www.flickr.com/photos/adamt/490566363/ for an example.

One interesting issue is that in the 1996 spelling reform the status of ß as a single letter has been finally confirmed. In the previous spelling, the general rule was that short vowels are denoted by following them by doubled consonant letters while long vowels are followed by single consonant letters. So writing "met" always indicates a long "e:" while "mett" indicates a short "e".

In case of "s"/"ß", it was confusing. Following a vowel with a single "s" always denoted a long vowel, following a vowel with a doubled "ss" indicated a short vowel, but following a vowel with "ß" did not give clue whether the vowel was short or long. So "Ruß" was actually pronounced "ru:s" as if the "ß" stood for a single consonant letter, but "Nuß" was pronounced "nus" as if the "ß" stood for a doubled consonant letter.

The 1996 spelling removed this uncertainty by changing the spelling of all "ß" into "ss" when the preceding vowel was to be pronounced short. Today’s spelling of "Nuss" or "dass" underlines that the vowels are to be pronounced short.

The uppercasing of "ß" as "SS" but also as "SZ" defeats this clear rule. If I uppercase the word "Rußpartikel" into "RUSSPARTIKEL" or even "RUSZPARTIKEL", suddenly the natural way of pronouncing the "U" changes from short to long, so the reader is confused. The confusion is even bigger now, after the reform, because the special "undefined" treatment of "ß" no longer exists, so readers are used to "ß" being always treated as a single consonant letter, not as a ligature of a doubled consonant.

To remain logical, consistent and reader-friendly, "ß" needs (at some point) to assume a single graphemic shape in the uppercase.

I strongly feel that uppercasing "ß" as "SS" is now -- especially under the new rules -- a temporary anachronism. "ß" is a single CHARACTER (as per orthographic perception). It has functionally liberated itself from its historical background (which was a ligature of ſs or ſz).

Today, "ß" is no more a ligature of "ſs" than "ä" is a ligature of "ae". The transition process from "ae" to "ä" has been completed about 200 years ago, and the transition process between "ſs" to "ß" is happening now. Encoding the uppercase "ä" as "A ZWJ E" (or something like that) would make as little sense as encoding the uppercase "ß" as "S ZWJ S".

I believe that "SS" is an anachronic, still-in-use but slowly-to-vanish poor man’s solution to write the uppercase "ß". I believe that it should be an exciting task for type designers now to come up with a new form. In my opinion, this issue is definitely not one that is completely solved. We’re in the middle of a slow transition period for "ß". The 1996 reform started it and showed the direction.

I myself once had the idea that Scedilla (U+015E, Ş) would be most appropriate for denoting uppercase ß.

After all, Ş is historically an S with a subscribed z (that at this time looked like ʒ). Since ß is a ligature of either ſs or of ſʒ, uppercasing it as Sʒ, or, effectively, Ş, would historically make sense.

Using this notation, "Gauß" or "Roßberg" would be uppercased to "GAUŞ" or "ROŞBERG".

Similarly, the umlaut in "ä" or "ö" is historically a superscripted "e", so historically "ä" and "æ" are two different ligations of "ae", and "ö" and "œ" are two different ligations of "oe".

Since German readers are currently used to uppercasing ß as SS, i.e. they write "GAUSS" or "ROSSBERG", I even thought of a compromise: the SS remains doubled but for added distinctiveness, a subscribed z (i.e. a cedilla) is added after the first S. In other words, "Gauß" or "Roßberg" should be uppercased as "GAUŞS" or "ROŞSBERG".

Historically, this would make sense. The cedilla would here have a similar function to the trema in Spanish or French: "GAUŞS" would make clear that it comes from "Gauß" while "GAUSS" would make clear that it comes from "Gauss".

"ROŞSBERG" does not look very awkward to a German reader. The addition of a diacritic does not dramatically change the reading pattern but still adds a distinctive mark that is, indeed, needed. If I were to design a glyph that should go into U+1E9E, it would probably look like ŞS, or perhaps just SS, depending on the style of the typeface.

An alternative approach is to look at the existing uppercase-to-lowercase relations within the Latin alphabet and try to derive a shape for the uppercase ß which maintains the same relations.

In most of the middle ages and the period up until the 19th century, the long s ("ſ") and "f" were closely related, "f" being simply a "ſ" with a stroke going through. The same, very primitive graphic relation exists between the prototypic shapes of the Greek letters gamma (Γ) and digamma (Ϝ). Since the minuscule "f" always has been a "ſ" with a middle stroke, then the capital "F" might also be considered an uppercase "ſ" with a stroke going through. Of course an uppercase long s never existed, but this relation may be helpful when constructing the uppercase ß.

Because I think that *if* the Latin alphabet ever used or needed another capital S, the preferred shape could be that of a gamma (Γ). This is a simple, effective shape that maintains a stylistic relation to the lowercase long s that is typical of other uppercase-to-lowercase relations.

If we look at the relations between Aa Ee Ff Mm Pp, we will notice that sharp, edgy connections in the uppercase are related to more smooth, round connections in the lowercase. If "F" developed into "f" in a cursive hand, then it is very easy to imagine that a cursive rendition of the "Γ" shape might, indeed, look very much like "ſ".

This is an important observation when thinking about the shape of an uppercase "ß": I assert that the shape of uppercase "ß" must be "edgier" than the lowercase. In short, I think that the left part of uppercase ß should be "Γ".

What about the right part? Here, I would call to exploit the double origin of "ß", which developed paralelly as a ligature of "ſs" as well as of "ſz" (where the "z" historically used the "ʒ" shape, so "ſʒ").

These days, the lowercase "ß" is typically derived from the ligated form of "ſs". For visual dissimilation purposes -- to strongly set apart the lowercase and the (new) uppercase "ß" I would derive the uppercase "ß" from a ligation of the hypothetical uppercase "ſ" (i.e. "Γ") and the shape of "the other" origin of "ß", i.e. of the historical "Z" shape.

In short, I believe that the best graphical rendition of an uppercase "ß" would be be a well-designed ligature that incorporates these shapes: "ΓƷ"

I have made a small simulation using Garamond Premier (please excuse my poor drawing abilities):


http://www.twardoch.com/tmp/germandbls_garamond.png

The first line shows what the historical origin of ß looks like, i.e. long s followed by a round s. The second line shows the current shape of ß as we know it. The third line shows what a hypothetical uppercase long S might look like ("Γ"), which is just a mental exercise. The fourth line is my proposal for the uppercase ß shape.

Andreas Stötzner has proposed an elaborate document that tries to explore all possible combinations of drawing an uppercase ß:

http://www.signographie.de/cms/upload/pdf/Signa9_Kombinatorik_SZ_3.0.pdf

My proposal corresponds to the scheme A1-B2-C1, which I has the most "uppercase" appearance of all those presented there.

On a related matter, at the exhibition "Neue Baukunst. Berlin um 1800", which is on display at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin until May 28, I have discovered a fantastic calligraphic lowercase "ß" shape, in which the "long s" part connects to the BOTTOM and not to the top of the following "short s". Please take a look:


http://www.flickr.com/photos/adamt/490547406/

This got my imagination going.

Regards,
Adam

Mark Simonson's picture
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I remember reading something online about this a while back and thinking it was as pointless as proposing uppercase forms of fi, fl, and ff. But maybe not. I don't read, write, or speak German, but I like your solution best of all the ones I've seen so far.

Andreas Stötzner's picture
Joined: 12 Mar 2007 - 10:21am
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» the history of “ß” is somewhat surprising. The letter developed in a two-wise way: as a ligation of long s and round (“normal”) s, and as a ligation of long s and z.« (A.Tw.)

NO! No, no, no.
We need to distinguish the ORIGIN OF THE CHARACTER from the LETTERSHAPES.
This has been mixed up by everybody for far too long.

The origin of the ß *as a character* is: a long s with *some* curl or swash or stroke attached, in order to mark it being not an 'ordinary [long] s'. That attachment became randomly written like the ezh- (or 3-) shape by time (the same we find with other Latin letters for abbr., e.g. q).
Therefor the letter became named “eszett”, the common mind thus just describing what he sees, regardless of the fact that the letter (the character) was NOT derived from long-s and z functionally or phonetically or in the sense of a typographic ligature. Note that up today “Eszett” is also named “Dreierles-Es” or “Scharfes Es” which indicates the very idea of ß as a character of its own.
The earliest sample of a “ß” in an upright roman-style printed German text (1667) is definitely no long-s_s nor a longs_z (ezh-shape). It’s something else.

The “ß is a s_s-ligature” theory was induced by the italic long-s_s ligature later becoming (ab-)used to represent the German ß. Today the glyphs we use in Roman and Italic for ß are actually two different letters (or glyphs) by origin.

A tricky history, admittedly.

But thanks Adam, for your elaborate explanations. Sorting out what the capital ß might look like this should be the level to work on it.

By the way, you’ll find it notable that we (searching for Signa 9) actually testified two medieval examples for the capital long S, one of them Gamma-shaped.

Adam Twardoch's picture
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Mark,

it is not like uppercase forms for fi or fl. The lack of "uppercase ß" means that it is uppercased to "SS", but "ss" is also uppercased to "SS". So "SS" is an ambiguous representation of two different lowercase combinations. This is particularly important in personal names: "Peter Weiß" and "Peter Weiss" are two distinct names and one may not be substituted by the other. But in uppercase, it's only "PETER WEISS" which is ambiguous because it does not exactly tell you what name it actually stands for.

It is a bit like the French practice of removing accents over vowels when uppercasing. This practice was introduced when typewriters came into use simply because typewriters did not have separate uppercase accented letters. These days, it's a bad ambiguous anachronic practice which is no longer necessary but still practiced by many French people who are used to the typewriter customs and actually think you HAVE TO remove the accents when uppercasing.

This also reminds me of another practice, i.e. replacing long dashes by single or (perhaps) double hyphens.

As I have explained, the method of uppercasing "ß" as "SS" is in my eyes an anachronism. It is still the majority practice according to official German spelling rules, but I think this is largely a technological limitation. If well-designed uppercase ß exists in fonts, and there is a Unicode codepoint for it, *and* (at some point) it is mapped to the German keyboard layout in Windows and Mac OS X, some people will *happily* start using it.

"Popular use" of "ß" in the middle of all-uppercase text suggests that there is an authentic need for that character. I believe we're still years ahead of widespread adoption, but I think type designers should do their best now to come up with appropriate forms, or at least once the character has been officially encoded.

Besides, isn't it fun to invent a new letter?

Adam

Jason Pagura's picture
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Oh boy, another letter to add to Agamemnon, but I like it! You'll see it in my next revision.

Craig Eliason's picture
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So why not just give the majuscule character the same shape as the minuscule?

Because it's fun to invent new letters!

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Mark, that doesn't sound anything like you! :-)

Jason, that's a major long-shot, but
certainly the presence of a cap eszet
makes it much more likely! The thing
is, a lowercase eszet would probably get
spliced in first.

hhp

David Berlow's picture
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Adam: "...there is no way to mistake it for a “B”..."

LOL...there is no way to mistake it for an 'S' for that matter.

Why not make an "uppercase" long and short 's' look more like an FG ligature, or a PQ ligature, or a pie chart! ;)

Cheers!

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Hrant,

If German didn’t use caps so much, the problem of the cap eszet looking too much like a “B” would be secondary. But that’s what we have to work with.

I don't understand what you mean. Can you explain that?

David Berlow's picture
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"Now, who is to say whether the upper case long s [...] looks like its lowercase counterpart or not...[?]"
Its alphabet, its users.

" — whether Mr Berlow qualified for judging by not submitting his own Eszett to the jury or not —"
Jury? Don't judges judge anymore?

"That feels like reverse science fiction."
I think that's called "history."

Thanks to all the German-speaking readers, writers and letterdrawers for their comments.

I think this is one of those topics where time will tell, if more specific logic doesn't catch up with idle hands first.

Cheers!

A. Szabolcs Sz.'s picture
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Cagri, could you please me point to those two medieval examples of capital long S?

Teşekkürler:
Szabolcs

John Savard's picture
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Since the character ſ is an alternate form of the lowercaſe S, one could claim that it has no business in an uppercase character at all. And so perhaps the uppercase ß (for use by people who wish to use this character, which traditionally has no uppercase form, and so words that contained ß and which could alternately be spelled with ss, for which ß is, as pointed out, a ſs ligature - and, therefore, in printing, the word Große becomes GROSSE when in all caps, and current Unicode mappings reproduce this - although since no Unicode code point was previously defined for "uppercase ß", this means information is lost, which can cause problems when changing back to lowercase, it's not as if an uppercase ß codepoint just prints as two S glyphs) ought to be derived from SS - just print the two uppercase S's close together and overlapping.

As long as they're normal curved S shapes from the font in question, and not in any way... runic... a certain disturbing comparison ought not to arise as an issue.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Not really, because the character should decompose to ß in plain text.

A problem with "uni1E9E.sc" would occur if:

1. The original plain text is U&lc, with ß.
2. This is capitalized in a layout program with an "all caps" command.
3. Double-S (the capitalization of ß) is manually replaced by uni1E9E.
4. The text is changed to "All Small Caps", and output to pdf.

Now, a search will not recognize words which are composed of lower case characters, with uni1E9E mixed in.

At least, that's my present understanding of the protocol.

Mark Simonson's picture
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:-)

Nick Shinn's picture
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Karsten, the modern "S" serif is a bit big for internal use.
And also a couple of "Dresdner" versions after Andreas.

Florian Hardwig's picture
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Ralf, you have to provide the full quote to do justice to the Duden. ;-)

It’s merely a marginal note to the general ‘ß → SS’ rule and reads:
In Dokumenten kann bei Namen aus Gründen der Eindeutigkeit auch bei Großbuchstaben das ß verwendet werden

For the sake of unambiguousness, the ß may also be used for names, when set in capital letters, within documents.
[emphasis on the various qualificatory remarks by me]

John Savard's picture
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Here is what I am thinking of:

It looks like the uppercase of the things the lowercase eszet is made from, rather than like an eszet turned into an ahistorical character that sort of looks like a capital letter. Of course, as I'm neither German nor a professional type designer, I can't claim to be qualified to make a suggestion to be taken seriously... but, then, this is such an unusual notion that perhaps anyone can play.

Chris Lozos's picture
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It looks very dark and calls too much attention to itself. It also reminds me of the Section

Nick Job's picture
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Nick S

When I said 'hastiest', maybe I should have said 'most eager' and maybe being eager is a good qualification to set the pace. Maybe I was hasty, sorry.

> I don’t believe this is a problem non-German designers can’t solve...

You're absolutely right, anyone from anywhere can solve a problem (to say otherwise would be bordering on racism), but in this case isn't it a bit like telling a French, Spanish, Catalan person etc, what their cedillas should look like, when they were the ones who invented it/them? That just makes me nervous.

There remains a conflict in my mind because the reality is that no-one can really tell me what my Eszett should look like in my own font. It's no-one else's business (not even Germans) and in that sense we all have to be able to solve the problem for every font that we design.

However, I'm still intrigued because the 'problem' seems to have only come to light in recent times (hasn't it?) That makes me think Germans were not that bothered about solving it (not as bothered about it as the majority of us on this thread who aren't German) and for us to tell them that they have a problem makes me very nervous.

Finally, on a creative note, no-one can have a genuine problem with this new character being B-ish? (P and R are all relatively B-ish but voice completely different sounds) as long as the two characters cannot be mistaken in context (that is where Ralf and friends have indispensable advice). In the end usage and context may well design this character for us.

Was ever a character conceived in this 'mass committee' way before?

Nina Stössinger's picture
Joined: 19 Jun 2006 - 3:01pm
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Excellent idea, Ralf. I took the liberty of trying out a few variants:

I didn't change your FontStruction but clone it to my own space (version with my added variants is here).

I agree with your post over on typografie.info that a descender on the right hand side (as in my third variant) probably doesn't make sense from a logical point of view; still, it does help to differentiate so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Nick Job's picture
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> A great specific example here is the ampersand. It comes from “e” + “t”. Whoop-di-doo.

Hrant, I don't agree with you because the E/e and t were not forced to look like (what we now call) a conventional ampersand unnaturally from the beginning, but over a matter of centuries. Could we not at least try to start in roughly the place it feels like it 'ought' to start, i.e. with a capital eszett and a cap S. What you are trying to do is make a vast and many-centuried leap of honing and tweaking in a single day. Once again, I greatly admire your ambitious enterprise but on this occasion it is, for me at least, very dissatisfying and misses out the most important part of the development, which is the establishment of what the embryonic form 'ought' to look like.

Here's one I did earlier, like it?

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Craig, now that's what I'm talkin' about!

I love the second one too. If it were narrower and the cusps less... cuspy* I think it would be a very strong option. As for the fourth one, it would make a great symbol for the sex industry. :-)

* Maybe have a full vertical serif there; in a Scotch, a ball.

I was also imagining a Section-inspired cap eszet to possibly be made of two parts. Picture the top two 2/3-rds of an "S" and the bottom 2/3-rds of an "S", offset with some gap between them (tweaked to not lean). This does seem like a long-shot however, since no other cap is made of two parts...

hhp

TG's picture
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Figure out how to program it correctly then, I guess.

Setting German text could never be done automatically. In blackletter you need to care about ch, ck and so on and in modern texts you still have to break automatic ligatures (fi/fl/ffl/ffi and so on) across the parts of compound words.

Karsten Luecke's picture
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True. Now I remember why I omit serifs inside ...

Nick Job's picture
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Any takers?

AtoZ's picture
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Followers of this thread may be interested in an article on the history of ß that appeared a year ago on the Typefoundry blog: [[http://typefoundry.blogspot.com/2008/01/esszett-or.html|Esszet or ß]]. Interestingly, there is a reference to this Typophile thread in the Sources section of the article -- is this an example of circular reasoning? (Smile.)
 
         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
         When going from A to Z,
         I often end up At Oz.

Jos Buivenga's picture
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If you do want to use the ß in a caps environment you should bear in mind that most ß's are of ascenders height and do not have the same stem width as regular caps.

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This uppercase eszett is an encoded character, so it is not advisable to make it the target of glyph substitution via any layout feature.

There are some precedents, for ordinals, basic fractions, and the fi and fl ligatures.
What could go wrong if:

feature dlig {
sub S S by uni1E9E;
} dlig;

Although the cap ß is supposed to be a fully-fledged upper case letter, it isn't treated as such by the casing rules.
Isn't it reasonable to assume that typographers will think of it as a ligature?

Karsten Luecke's picture
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P.D.H., yes, in both cases wich I mentioned it should be “sub uni1E9E by uni1E9E.sc;”, with "uni1E9E" before the smallcap suffix. I must be sleeping today.

Karsten Luecke's picture
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Nope. This is anything+J.

(The bottom bowl of the lowercase eszett is too wide. I think you can move it toward the left stem -- there is no reason why the internal distance is wider than that between eszett and e, or e and n.)

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A section mark looks like it should fit the role of a cap double-S, but it doesn't look very German (seems more French to me). But, not being German myself, who am I to say?

Anyway, here are some section marks I have designed:

I've made sections based on stacked "s"s, or a stretched S with a ring inserted, but strangely the most S like one resulted from stacked "c"s.

(All of these are on the same line of text set at 72pt. This doesn't look quite right.)

Chris Lozos's picture
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At least we have the double lambda :-)

A. Szabolcs Sz.'s picture
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Nick, from a German point of view, that's

pretty much not identifyable as a capital version of ß... Honestly, the most I was reading was "GRORSEN" with a funky (enlarged monoline serifless minuscule) r kerned badly with the following S.

Nick Job's picture
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Yeah, figured as much.

Miguel Sousa's picture
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It's officially in Unicode v5.1.

Unicode 5.1.0 adds 1,624 newly encoded characters. These additions include characters required for Malayalam and Myanmar and important individual characters such as Latin capital sharp s for German. Version 5.1 extends support for languages in Africa, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Vietnam, with the addition of the Cham, Lepcha, Ol Chiki, Rejang, Saurashtra, Sundanese, and Vai scripts. Scholarly support includes important editorial punctuation marks, as well as the Carian, Lycian, and Lydian scripts, and the Phaistos disc symbols. Other new symbol sets include dominoes, Mahjong, dictionary punctuation marks, and math additions.
http://www.unicode.org/press/pr-5.1.html

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It is just a rough sketch on my part, though. I see that at least one person here did already suggest something based on the capital S but in a different way (elongated middle bar, top and bottom curves including a pointed cusp to suggest two 'S's). The middle stroke of the two 'S's could always be made lighter.

But you are right that something with two parallel strokes separated by a small space "calls too much attention to itself", as it looks more like a logo than a letter, even if the "too dark" part is easily solved.

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I know this is going to sound very ethnocentric of me, but we have a saying in America: 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' i don't see the proposed uppercase eszett as an improvement over the double S, which seems Germans have not really had a problem with. Sure, give it it's own Unicode point, but fill it with what is already in common currency. just my 1p.

Nick Job's picture
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Sz., please can you tell us what the shape of the uppercase eszett is that you can most easily read as an uppercase eszett. (Thanks for calling part of my design 'funky' even though it was totally useless!)

Mark Simonson's picture
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The other problem is that, as far as anyone who cares about this is concerned, the train has long ago left the station.

Craig Eliason's picture
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Joined: 19 Mar 2004 - 1:44pm
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Picture the top two 2/3-rds of an “S” and the bottom 2/3-rds of an “S”, offset with some gap between them (tweaked to not lean). This does seem like a long-shot however, since no other cap is made of two parts...

I had sketches along those lines, but actually connecting the strokes with a vertical or diagonal minor stroke - but they all wound up looking too hurricany.

paul d hunt's picture
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Joined: 5 May 2005 - 8:44pm
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Although the cap ß is supposed to be a fully-fledged upper case letter, it isn’t treated as such by the casing rules.

but it's not (not really). at least not according to the DUDEN, as explained by Florian above.

There are some precedents, for ordinals, basic fractions, and the fi and fl ligatures.

if you look at the behaviour for Arno Pro, you will see that none of these substitutions fall into Adobe's current "best practices" and have effectively been deprecated.

Adam Twardoch's picture
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Joined: 3 Dec 2002 - 7:36pm
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David,

There is no need to mistake it for an "S" just like there is no need to mistake a "ß" for an "s". ẞ should look like an uppercase form of ß. That's it.

TG's picture
TG
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Joined: 8 May 2003 - 2:39pm
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After all, we distinguish many letters by relatively small differences.

Which ones?
There are letters like E/F or P/R which share large parts, but they still have a significant difference in there general skeleton, and this difference is maintained and clearly visible in any size or any kind of type style. But all of Marks designs use the skeleton of the B with a "strange thing" going on at the bottom. I read nothing but Bs even if I try to see a cap Eszett.
Tim's designs are not the ones I would favour, but they clearly solve the problem. I am not tempted at all to read GROBES.

Matthew Stephen Stuckwisch's picture
Joined: 7 Feb 2007 - 10:21am
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Was ever a character conceived in this ’mass committee’ way before?

Not just a character but an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_Hangul|entire alphabet.]]

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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Paul, you could present the case for FFI to Unicode, using René Chalet's work in the 1960s as an important precedent.

Florian Hardwig's picture
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Joined: 18 Feb 2007 - 6:41am
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Are there any words in ANY languages that begin with “ss”? Would these languages benefit from a spelling reform

Don’t know of ‘Ss’, but Hungarian has a lot of words starting with ‘Sz’. According to an entry in the Decode Unicode Wiki, some Hungarians like to replace ‘sz’ with ‘ß’ in text messages – because so they can save a character. To me, that doesn’t sound very plausible, in times of T9 dictionaries.
Same is said about the Swiss: SMS efficiency made them raise the ‘ß’ from the dead. Again, I’d say this mainly has to do with the built-in dictionaries: When typing ‘Grus…’, the dictionary proposes ‘Gruß’ [greeting] – which is gladly accepted.
Just leetspeak.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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2058?

hhp

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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There must have been some amount of pressure from German speakerts to get it vto happen. What is the logic they used? Surely, there must be some reason behind it.

ChrisL

Nina Stössinger's picture
Joined: 19 Jun 2006 - 3:01pm
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Actually in Switzerland, among young people, the ß is even widely replaced for ss in text messages where it doesn't make sense at all from a grammatical / orthographical perspective; I assume it has less to do with T9 than with, like you said, saving a character. Stuff like "wißen" for "wissen" (to know), which has never been written like this; makes me cringe, but it does appear to be a new use for the character.

Nina Stössinger's picture
Joined: 19 Jun 2006 - 3:01pm
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Add to that: There still aren't any words in German that begin with either ß or ss. Which is, the way I understand it, part of the reason why the ß did not previously exist as a capital letter.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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Woe betide any "monocase" character that thinks it can escape the Unicode agenda of bicameralization!
Are there any left?

There are several features of German typography that it would be more appropriate to include in a digital font, such as caps with lowered umlauts, and ch and ck digraphs.