Re: Proposal for German capital letter "ß"

Marcel Schneider charupdate at
Thu Dec 10 06:05:28 CST 2015

On Thu, 10 Dec 2015 11:45:22 +0100, Frédéric Grosshans wrote:

>Le 10/12/2015 05:32, Martin J. Dürst a écrit :
>> A similar example is the use of accents on upper-case letters in 
>> French in France where 'officially', upper-case letters are written 
>> without accents.

We are welcome to look up the most official website of France:

We learn that *actually* uppercase letters are diacriticized. But the footer shows that by the time, diacritics were cut away. 
The change is on-going, from "caps always undiacriticized" to "all-caps diacriticized and titlecase caps undiacriticized" and further to "always diacriticized" as recommended in one of the 'official' options.

>Actually, the official body in charge of this (Académie Française) has 
>always recommended upper-case letters with accents , but the school 
>teachers teach the other way, 

That is old school. Actual school books teach to always diacriticize the diacriticized letters, stating that there is strictly *no* rule not to do so. But admittingly, switching from old school to new school isn't really straigtforward.

>and accents on capital letters was 
>technically challenging (in printing, writing machines and keyboard), 

Right, it was. Keyboard: This is why last year, the government placed an order for a complete computer keyboard layout at the French Standards body. Making such a keyboard layout easy to use, that's the challenge today. It's lastly been addressed (but that's not yet official).

>so many people think the official recommendation is to drop them, and that 
>is anyway complicated. But I often get question from non technical 
>people on how I type É, œ, or Œ, which shows that they are natural.

Many people dislike accents on capitals, and they really avoid them. But they grow fewer and fewer. Most people like the accents and are eager to place them. (Guess I'm a part of.) For everybody to see how to, and how important it is, here is one more fine website (in French):

Related to the thread's subject, there is a beta feedback item I sent by the time, but it was buried in a mass of other beta feedback. May I recall it here, to look whether some part could be useful?

On this page:, we find:

There is further a point I got unfortunately not sooner aware of. 
It’s about uppercasing of the German ß. Looking at the properties 
of U+00DF in ucdxml.nounihan.flat.xml, I found that uc="0053 0053"
only. In the meantime, German usage begins to shift towards 1E9E, 
as I already reported and suggested updating the NamesList and 
Code Charts annotation for this character. IMO there should be 
an applications Settings checkbox: “☑ ẞ as uppercase for ß”. 
I don’t know if it’s already implemented. However, since U+1E9E 
is now a part of most current fonts and is on keyboard thanks 
to the new German standard layouts, defining uppercase as uc="1E9E" 
might seem appropriate to avoid loosing the ß in text files. 
If the custom setting requires uppercasing U+00DF to double U+0053, 
the cf="0073 0073" value can be used to perform that.

To understand the issue, it is necessary to remember that 
the uppercase latin letter SZ has been created and encoded 
on behalf of the German Standards body DIN to ensure that 
personal data are correctly stored and rendered. As in German, 
the ß is a distinctive part of orthography and is needed in names 
(if a person’s name is Straßer or STRAẞER, writing STRASSER or 
STRASZER is false because these are other names, equally borne),
not having an uppercase ß made much trouble and lead to some 
confusion. Today, fortunately this time is past, and 
the char props may be updated. All what is needed is already 
in the UCD except the new uppercase as a value of the uc property 
for U+00DF.

Therefore I suggest that Unicode takes advice from 
the German Standards body (DIN) whether to set 
this property to its new value. 


Best regards,

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