RE: The glyph of the CAPITAL SHARP S

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Thu May 10 2007 - 12:18:11 CDT

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: The glyph of the CAPITAL SHARP S"

    Michael Everson wrote:
    > Please see the original DIN proposal at
    > Asmus Freytag also wrote a long essay about this
    > which is also worth consideration.

    Hmm... All is said in this DIN proposal, including the historical
    references. The capital sharp S (Vertal-Esszett) has just been forgottenfor
    some time, but must be reintroduced because we need it.

    All letterforms suggested are shown in the samples at end of the document,
    including the <arch+capital S> glyph for easier identification.

    I note that DIN prefers the <arch+capital Ezh> glyph, which is the
    historical form, but used within fonts with less recent styles.

    Manual handwriting seems to prefer the <arch+capital yogh> glyph because
    it's easier and faster to draw but this is where the confusion with
    lowercase ess-tzett comes.

    But clearly, DIN has not made any suggestion with something else than an
    arch for the left part of the glyph (so the capital gamma suggestion is
    completely out, just a pure invention without any historical justification)

    The <arch+Ezh> and <arch+Yogh> suggestions seem to be used in old styles up
    to end of WW2, and <arch+S> are created after it, and seems to be favoured
    by the modern reforms of the German language, for consistency with the
    interpretation as a double S in sorting (i.e. esstsett sorts with double S
    with a secondary or third difference only: before ST and not after it at the
    primary level), and not as SZ (as the letter forms generally suggestes in
    lowercase: this just demonstrate that this a distinct letter, not a
    ligature, because the semantic is different).

    The only argument against <arch+S> is that the exposed examples are using a
    slightly reduced height for the S part, which makes user think it may be
    lowercase. I just wanted to show in my proposal that it was possible to make
    a glyph where the height of the capital S was preserved in the ligatured

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