Re: Uppercase is coming? (U+1E9E)

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Fri May 04 2007 - 16:18:45 CST

  • Next message: Douglas Davidson: "Re: Uppercase is coming? (U+1E9E)"

    On 5/4/2007 1:29 PM, Kenneth Whistler wrote:
    > Marnen Laibow-Koser responded:
    >> On May 4, 2007, at 2:53 PM, John Hudson wrote:
    >>> Marnen Laibow-Koser wrote:
    >>>> No argument there. There *shouldn't* be such a thing as capital
    >>>> . But Unicode is descriptive and not prescriptive. Obviously,
    >>>> people are using this misbegotten character, so it needs to have a
    >>>> code point.
    >>> Or are they using this misbegotten glyph variant, in which case it
    >>> needs to have appropriate glyph level activation?
    >>> It seems to me to be begging the question to assume that it is a
    >>> character.
    >> It is a character, I think. To assume that it is an uppercase SS
    >> ligature is to assume that an uppercase long S exists
    > Actually, not at all. I think that is missing the point John is
    > trying to make.
    >> -- and we have
    >> absolutely *no* evidence for that at all.
    > Of course.
    >> So I think it's begging
    >> the question to assume that it is a ligature. Uppercase is
    >> attested, if grudgingly so. Uppercase long s is not attested at all!
    > First of all, take all this as stipulated:
    > 4. Lowercase is graphologically derived from the ligation
    > of long s and z. (And also has at least two distinct
    > shape traditions, one of which is known as the "3" shape.)
    Actually the ligature is of long s and s. The other derivation is
    (The upper bowl of the is formed by the connector and the top of the
    's'; a
    'z' would have a descender.) Finally, in Fraktur, any word-final 'ss'
    would have
    been rendered with long s, followed by s.

    > 5. Despite the graphological origin, in modern German,
    > the lowercase is equivalent (for some contexts) to
    > a <s, s> sequence, and not to a <long-s, z> sequence.
    Not despite, but, because of.
    > O.k., if we can stipulate all that, then we don't have to
    > argue it all, point-by-point ad naseum. (Of course, if I'm
    > wrong about any of that, argue away. ;-) )
    Needed to be corrected, but doesn't affect your argument. Now, to the
    salient point:
    > Now, given all that, what we have left is not arguing the
    > *existence* of uppercase , but rather the "Is it live, or
    > is it Memorex?" question:
    > Is uppercase handled better in text processing as a
    > *glyph*, without needing a distinct character encoding,
    > or is it handled better in text processing as a
    > distinctly encoded character (which also would have a
    > representative glyph associated with it, of course)?
    > If you take the first position, as John Hudson has been
    > arguing, then the next question would be: "What is the
    > glyph for uppercase a visual representation of?"
    > And given all the evidence in the proposal, it is pretty
    > clear that the answer is: <S, S>, i.e., a sequence of
    > two uppercase S's.
    > So that would lead to the suggestion (not stipulation, at this
    > point):
    > 6. In modern German, the uppercase is equivalent (for
    > some contexts) to an <S, S> sequence, and not to a
    > <long-s, Z> sequence or anything else.
    This, however, misses the whole point. If people wanted to write SS they
    have done so. Instead, they wanted to preserve a distinction *in
    content*, by
    first using and then (for aesthetic reasons) a more uppercase-like
    form of it.

    The sharp-s is not a presentation variant of 'ss', and the minority
    position on
    German orthography is based on precisely that point.


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