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

From: Mark E. Shoulson (
Date: Wed Feb 16 2005 - 17:35:20 CST

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    Asmus Freytag wrote:

    > 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 level.

    You're certainly the one who knows what is and is not feasible or
    possible for Unicode, but I have to admit I found the evidence in the
    original proposal pretty damn convincing. That certainly looks like
    reasonable usage.

    Which therefore raises the more general question: what with all these
    "immutable" (stable) characteristics, what's Unicode to do in a case
    where the usage really did completely change? Or if the initial Unicode
    decision was, in fact, completely wrong/mistaken? Apparently, German
    really *does* need to be able to use as a capital letter (whether as a
    separate letter or caseless).

    I'm not trying to be contrary or to accuse; maybe the decision really
    was right all along. But hypothetically, then, what IF the UTC screwed
    up; what's to be done? I guess the only thing would be to define a new
    character/block/whatever from scratch and deprecate the old one.

    > 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 sense.

    To the extent that I follow the advantages of VSs, I guess this sounds

    > 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).

    I guess that is my question.


    Disclaimer: I am a complete NON-expert on German orthography and typography.

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