Re: AW: Proposal for German capital letter "ß"

Frédéric Grosshans frederic.grosshans at
Wed Dec 9 11:16:35 CST 2015

For more information on the capital sharp s (ẞ) (converting Maße to 
MAẞE), you can also look at Wikipedia (more details in the 
german version ) and 
Andreas Stötzner 2004 proposal to Unicode

Your proposal to have a character which look exactly like SS is 
problematic on many grounds, and could only have been introduced in 
Unicode as legacy character if it existed in character sets before the 
1990s. Introducing it know would cause much more problem than it solves 
(e.g. allowing spoofing, making the encoding ambiguous, violating 
stability of the casing rules, etc.). If you want to have reversible 
casing distinguishing ss↔SS and ß↔SS   using ẞ, you can (in your 
software) bend the Unicode standard in one of the following ways:
* make font where ẞ looks like SS (I’m not sure it is Unicode conformant)
* use your own casing rule and add a ZWNJ (zero width non joiner 
character) such that ss↔SS and ß↔S+ZWNJ + S. Both capital version should 
look the same. But doing so, you violate Unicode casing, and you may 
have problem when ZWNJ is also used in German typography to prevent 
wrong ligatures (see


Le 09/12/2015 16:59, Dreiheller, Albrecht a écrit :
> Just have a look at
> in the block Latin Extended Additional
> Kind regards
> *Von:*Unicode [mailto:unicode-bounces at] *Im Auftrag von 
> *Hans Meiser
> *Gesendet:* Mittwoch, 9. Dezember 2015 13:26
> *An:* unicode at
> *Betreff:* Proposal for German capital letter "ß"
> Currently there is a vast problem trying to determine the lower case 
> equivalent of a capitalized German word like "MASSE".
> This is due to the fact that an orthographic rule exists to convert 
> lower case letter "ß" to upper case letters "SS". So after converting 
> a word from lower case to upper case one cannot unequivocally 
> determine the original lower case word because the conversion is only 
> surjective.
> This issue exists because the letter "ß" originally was but a ligature 
> of the small letter "sz" (using a legacy German font) which over time 
> became a ligature of "ss".
> After the German spelling reform in 1996, "ß" then became a letter of 
> its own, and words containing the letter "ß" are no longer equivalent 
> to words containing an "ss" combination instead of the "ß". So, for 
> instance, "Maße" and "Masse" are not equal. In fact, "Maße" translates 
> to "measurements" while "Masse" translates to "weight".
> This is a particular problem in electronic data processing - like, for 
> instance, SQL data queries. Given above rule, "Maße" will become 
> "MASSE", just like "Masse" becomes "MASSE" when converting a word to 
> uppercase. But there is no way back to distinguish one from the other.
> I read that the UNICODE group is already striving for a solution to 
> this problem and that they are searching for a capital letter 
> equivalent of "ß".
> My proposal is to introduce a capital letter equivalent of "ß" that's 
> resembling two capital "S" letters: "SS".
> So the capital letter equivalent of "ß" would look like "SS" but was 
> in fact a separate code point. Converting words from lower case to 
> upper case and back will then become bijective, auto correction will 
> become easier and the (false) ANSI SQL stopgap of declaring "ß" and 
> "ss" to be equal can be dropped.
> Your feedback is appreciated.
> Axel Dahmen - Germany

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