Re: Uppercase variant of U+00DF LATIN SMALL LETTER SHARP S ( "German sharp s", "▀" )

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Wed Feb 16 2005 - 16:50:31 CST

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    At 07:55 AM 2/16/2005, Karl Pentzlin wrote:
    >If a "▀" occurs as such in capitalized text, this can be interpreted
    >in two ways:
    >a.) "▀" is a case-invariant letter, like Cyrillic U+04C0.
    >b.) There is a capital letter "▀", for which the glyph of
    > the lowercase "▀" may be used.
    >Andreas St÷tzner's proposal at
    >shows evidence that a capital sharp s is in fact used in some "good
    >typography", but that in "every day use" the (hitherto) lower case
    >letter is used as upper case also.
    >To handle "▀" in capitalized text correctly, there may be another way
    >than encoding a new character "LATIN CAPITAL LETTER SHARP S":
    >1.) Change the properties of U+00DF "▀" to "caseless" like U+04C0.
    >2.) Add a note to the description of U+00FD in the standard that the
    > "SMALL" in the name is historical.
    >3.) Define a standardized variant sequence U+00DF U+FE00 "LATIN SMALL
    > LETTER SHARP S capital form".
    >This would reflect the fact that a single case independent glyph
    >is used for "▀" in almost all cases, expect where "good" typography
    >is important. Moreover, existing texts which use U+00DF for "▀" in
    >capitalized context would not be broken.

    Changing the case mapping for U+00DF "▀" is not possible - particularly
    since the transformation U+00DF "▀" -> "SS" is in fact officially correct -
    despite the fact that Andreas and Karl can point to many instances where it
    is not used or not desired.

    Adding a new character, like the one that Andreas proposed, to the standard
    in the face of well established case mapping from sharp-s to SS would
    result in major inconsistencies.

    We can all agree that the usage for the shape represented by the proposed
    character was quite well-attested, but it was decided that due to legacy
    issues the only way this can currently be handled is on the font or glyph

    Karl's suggestion to add a standardized variant would create a standard
    (and ignorable) way to request the glyph variant, if available. It would
    solve the representation issue for the graphical form, but would still
    leave words in which it appears with a 'lower case' letter. If people feel
    that supporting this glyph variant is important, and that the use of mixed
    case words is acceptable (given the legacy constraints we have), then
    perhaps re-raising the proposal in terms of a variation sequence might make


    PS: as for item 2 in Karl's list, usages do evolve. I wonder what Unicode
    will do if faced with a situation in which the *majority* use of the
    character has become caseless (something that's clearly not the case today).

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