Re: Fixing Two Unicode Asymmetries in case conversion

From: Alain LaBont\i (
Date: Mon Nov 16 1998 - 11:54:07 EST

A 06:55 98-11-16 -0800, John Cowan a écrit :
>> SHARP S is treated as equivalent to
>> a modified "s+s".
>is globally true, since only German uses this letter.

[Alain] :
This ligature (exact same shape) has traditionally been used in French up
to the very end of the XVIIIth Century, both in printed and manuscript
texts. It can be found, for example, in the original of the *Déclaration
universelle des droits de l'homme*, which sealed the French Revolution
(1789). It can also massively be found in texts written for example by
Samuel de Champlain (founder of the city of Québec in 1608), an important
figure of North American history, and in many other French texts of that

I document this in an informative annex of CAN/CSA Z243.4.1, a national
standard of Canada, with exact references (those related to North American
history are extracted from the national archives of Canada, in their

That said this character had the same properties as modern German "scharfes
s", which does not contradict John's general statement. In French there is
also, currently, an "s dur" (unconditional sharp s, a "hard s"). It is the
C CEDILLA (the C cedilla is always pronnounced "s", when otherwise, without
the diacritics, it would be pronounced "k" in front of vowels a, o and u
[only letters in front of which C CEDILLA applies in French, a normal "c"
in front of "e", "i" and "y" is pronounced "s" anyway] -- "français" is a
case in point -- in German a "non-sharp s" [normal s] is, by analogy,
pronounced "z"; the "sharp s" acts as a long "s" [in fact an unconditional

Alain LaBonté

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