Uppercase ß is coming? (U+1E9E)

From: Adam Twardoch (list.adam@twardoch.com)
Date: Thu May 03 2007 - 05:52:07 CST

  • Next message: Andrew West: "Re: Uppercase ß is coming? (U+1E9E)"

    Ivo Gabrowitsch reports on his blog that Andreas Stötzner successfully
    convinced the ISO 10646 working group that uppercase ß should be added
    to Unicode/ISO 10646. U+1E9E is the envisioned codepoint.

    Blog entry:
    http://www.fontwerk.com/451/kommt-jetzt-das-versal-eszett/

    More links:
    http://www.signographie.de/cms/signa_9.htm (published by Andreas Stötzner)
    http://www.typografie.info/typowiki/index.php?title=Versal-Eszett
    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=viewthread&tid=353

    I find most 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.

    I have drafted some proposals these, but these are not very successful
    either:
    http://www.typeforum.de/modules.php?op=modload&name=XForum&file=viewthread&page=2&tid=353#pid1219

    My own view, using another diacritic letter, 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", a compromise could be suggested: 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".

    I think "ROŞSBERG" looks much less awkward than some of the weird
    creations the German designers are proposing. 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.

    However, the general question is: if U+1E9E is added to Unicode, will
    the casing rules be changed so that ß (U+00DF) uppercases to U+1E9E by
    default? If so, this would break existing implementations of Unicode and
    would cause problems with existing algorithms and fonts.

    Regards,
    Adam

    -- 
    Adam Twardoch
    | Language Typography Unicode Fonts OpenType
    | twardoch.com | silesian.com | fontlab.net
    


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