Talk:ß

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Former featured article candidate ß is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
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June 30, 2004 Featured article candidate Not promoted
November 14, 2004 Featured article candidate Not promoted
Current status: Former featured article candidate

old comments[edit]

Re the above notice, see
I have restored it at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates#ß, and asked there
Should the previous participants be notified that it has been resurrected?
--Jerzy(t) 19:28, 2004 Nov 9 (UTC)

Usage in Switzerland[edit]

"Many Swiss Germans also use it for any ss in SMS" -- this ist simply not true. I have written and received thousands of SMS. The use of "ß" is an absolute exception. I will correct this if no one objects. OL

Thanks for fixing this. I can live with the new version, although I think it's still not a 100% correct. In my opinion the (probably only) reason for Swiss Germans to use "ß" in SMS is the auto correction/auto completion function of the SMS editor in cellular phones... OL 11-11-06

Usage in Wikipedia[edit]

There is a proposal for a standard for usage of "ß" in Wikipedia articles being discussed at Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style#German_eszet. Please contribute your opinion. --Tysto 15:02, 2005 August 25 (UTC)

Are there any updates on usage for Wikipedia? Comments above are all 2005! Tom Ruen (talk) 00:47, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Various Topics[edit]

I'm sure that the ligature is of a medial "s" and a "z", not a final "s". This explains the name "Ess-tsett" (or "Ess-zett") and also the shape, since a Fraktur final "s" looks like a modern "s" while a Fraktur "z" looks like the right half of "ß". Of course this is only the origin; it is "ss" today. -- Toby 04:40 Mar 20, 2003 (UTC)

If you can find a citation for this, please add it. - Montréalais
As noted in the article, the HTML entity for ß is ß, an abbreviation of "s-z ligature". I don't know about you, but I find that suggestive. --Paul A 06:11 Mar 20, 2003 (UTC)
The origin of ß as sz is most certainly wrong, and it hurts to see this claim in the leading sentence. The origin is ſs but the ligature made the s look like a z as many people have already stated. In modern German writing the letter ſ does not exist any more, and few Germans are aware that there was a distinction between ſ and s for a long time. Because of this, the myth will only get worse, and the name "Eszett" which is derived from what the letter looks like, does not help the situation. BTW. I have never seen the second example of the "contemporary handwriting" in my life. It has also never been taught in School which you can see when you browse the German wikipedia http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ausgangsschrift http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schreibschrift and I must guess that it was invented by the author.

--84.75.180.70 (talk) 12:52, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

The German article on this letter states that different forms of the letter have different origins: some from ſʒ (sz), some from ſs (ss). The next question: which forms are currently used today? — Eru·tuon 13:47, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
The fourth letter I learned in school 1964 closely resembled the ß on the picture taken in Erfurt: "Grüß Gott, Kasperl". And on a much older globe the Pacific Ocean is described as GROSZER (ODER STILLER) OZEAN in capital letters. I'm not saying that you are wrong, but you'll have a hard time to prove your point. Unrelated, apparently my favourite font cannot handle the whatever-it-is in IPA Esst?set, is the Unicode point between T and S required, or at least correct? –89.204.153.205 (talk) 14:09, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Even though it goes my way, I wouldn't trust the HTML names. I mean, they came up with ë for ë! Anyway, I'm going to see what The World's Writing Systems says. -- Toby 06:20 Mar 20, 2003 (UTC)

And what's wrong with that? lysdexia 09:54, 22 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The problem with ë being the HTML notation for ë is that the "uml" is short for "umlaut", a word for a specific vowel transformation that occurs in German starting from A, O, and U, but not from E and I. Ë and Ï occur in other languages for purposes that have nothing to do with the umlaut transformation, but the handy (but sloppy) convention of using, e.g., "O with an umlaut" as a name for the character used to represent the sound that O transforms into as a result of umlaut has led to the even sloppier practice of calling any two-dots-on-top diacritical mark an umlaut. Ë is never really an E with an umlaut, but it can be an E with diaresis.
So the ë notation is a recent exploitation of a common misconception, and it's all to plausible that ß is as well. Tho it seems clear ß is some kind of ligature, citing the notation ß as evidence of that, or as evidence of what the component letters of the ligature are or were, is unsound reasoning. --Jerzy(t) 19:28, 2004 Nov 9 (UTC)

This may be wrong, but in school we were taught to pronounce the letter (not the sound) as Ringel-S. If this practice is indeed correct (a native speaker or linguist should verify that), maybe a note on this page and a redirect would be in order. -- Kimiko 22:13 Apr 15, 2003 (UTC)

The name Ringel-S was used in Dutch schools, but not in Germany. -- dnjansen 17:56 14 Jun 2003 (UTC)
I object - Ringel-S (curly s) was used in German (Bavarian) schools around 80 years ago.

i am native speaker and i can say, that the way the letter "ß" is spelling (sz) is in use but wrong for the history of this letter. the ß was originally "ss" but written was it ſs (ligatur-s in html = ſ).

more ligatures: ff: ff (ff), fi: fi (fi), fl: fl (fl), ffi: ffi (ffi), ffl: ffl (ffl), ſt: ſt (ſt) und st: st (st)
(maybe the browsers can't show them all)

the ligatur-s was very special and it is a survivor (my English isn't very good, so i have to find the best words i know to write what i want to write) of the german Druckschrift (press font?) Fraktur and the old german Schreibschrift (writing font?) Sütterlin.

Fraktur ("gotische Schrift"):

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraktur
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraktur_(Schrift)

http://www.fraktur.com
http://www.fraktur.de
http://www.joern.de/tipsn98.htm
(there is a scanned document from the third
Reich. You can read there, that the nazis have
forbidden to use the font "Fraktur" in 1941,
because in their eyes it was a "jewish font")
--> http://www.joern.de/borm.gif
http://www.ligaturix.de/fraktur.htm
http://www.typolexikon.de/f/fraktur.html

Sütterlin:

http://www.peter-doerling.de/Lese/Sutterlin.htm
http://www.peter-doerling.de/Englisch/Sutterlin.htm
http://www.phil.uni-sb.de/projekte/suetterlin/
http://www.fontworld.net/_de/suetterlin.html

greetings, fux (31.05.03)

I am a native speaker as well, and fux is correct in that the letter is universally called "sz" (ess-tsett) in German, but this is incorrect as far as the origin of the letter is concerned, which indeed derives from "ſs". See long s; also, some of the information about Fraktur is already present on the Fraktur page. I have added a coupla notes to Ess-tsett to make the naming a bit more clear. -- djmutex 12:46 31 May 2003 (UTC)
man lernt nie aus. :o) ["we never stop learning"] --fux

ss vs. sz[edit]

The german ligature ß can look quite different in different font-faces.

Some suggest an origin in ſs, some in ſz. In fact, in the Middle Ages orthography was not stable, but soon this ligature got fixed...

Note, that in a lot of Fraktur fonts you will recognise ſz, also in the old german "Kurrentschrift", while most modern print fonts (though not all) derive the ß from ſs, as does modern handwriting.

Of course capitalisation is merely SS, though in the 70ies SZ was proposed (sz being a seldom letter combination in german, it could have made it easier uncapitalising words correctly).

Here (in Austria), ß is pronounced as "scharfes S", which translates to "sharp-S".

The form of ß can be derived from both ſs and ſz with equal legitimation: it is up to the creator of the font, which one he uses, while it is to note, that when using ſz, he has to use a z resembling old handwritings or Fraktur: with a loop under the base-line.

The today's most common font: Times New Roman derives ß indeed from ſs.

If you do not object, I will include the legitimate origin from ſz to the article as well.

Szabi Sept 2, 2003

You are right that both ß forms are used today, although really modern typefaces (not older than 10 years) tend to prefer the "round" (ſs) variant.
The actual origin was indeed a ſs ligature. In old Textur fonts ("Gothic") both letters were moved together so closely that the left half of the "s" overlapped with the stem of the "ſ". The result was that the visible part of the "s" looked like a Textur "z". This visual ambiguousness was the origin of the misinterpretation as "sz". (Reference: "Schriften erkennen" by Daniel Sauthoff, Gilmar Wendt, Hans Peter Willberg.)
Over the centuries the awareness of this origin has been lost. So it's legitimate to say that today it's an ſs or an ſz ligature, depending on the typeface.
BTW, the Times New Roman surely uses the ſz variant, at least in its upshape form. – Torsten Bronger 07:39, 17 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Tschichold[edit]

Is the Tschichold thesis undisputedly wrong? If so, it doesn't need to be treated at such length. If not, it cannot be "pointed out" that it's wrong. Markalexander100 02:58, 28 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Switzerland[edit]

Switzerland had abolished the use of "ß" in the 1930s already and uses "ss" in all cases. Still, most Swiss publishing houses use "ß" for books.

If they use ß in books, they can't use ss in all cases. When do they use ss? Markalexander100 03:03, 28 Jun 2004 (UTC)

(Since no-one seems to know better, I've done my best with the above two points). Markalexander100 03:20, 1 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Today, ss is always used instead of ß in schools, correspondence or newspapers, a convention that was confirmed by the German spelling reform of 1996.

This isn't true if put like this, as the German Spelling Reform, unlike Swiss practice, did NOT fully abolish ß, but simply changed (and restricted) its usage. According to current German orthographic regulations, both ss and ß do indicate a voiceless s, ß following to long vowels and ss following short ones. 84.132.88.49 20:48, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

§25 E₂ of the new spelling explicitly sanctions the Swiss use of ss in all cases, while the old spelling didn't mention it at all. ― j. 'mach' wust | 07:37, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
I have a feeling this is just a misunderstanding. The formulation does not say that the ß->ss transliteration is correct in Germany (even though it is "sanctioned by the German spelling reform"). It is correct in Swiss orthography, which has been sanctioned in the reform. I have tried to modifiy the text a bit to make this more clear; I do understand why this can be misunderstood. Arbor 08:24, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
I don't like the wording "Swiss exception". This sounds to me as if there were special Swiss rules or a special Swiss orthography. German orthography does not mean orthography of Germany but orthography of the German language irrespective of any nationality. Therefore, the German orthography is as well the orthography of Switzerland as of Germany (and Austria etc.).
I'm not so sure whether this use was only sanctioned by the new spelling. The German article only states that the hypenation of an ss that replaces an ß was sanctioned by the spelling reform (Stra-ßeStras-se and not Stra-sse), which makes assume that the replacement in Switzerland was official part of the German spelling before. ― j. 'mach' wust | 12:37, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Good point about "exception". Also, I don't know a good answer to your second paragraph. Maybe the whole thing has to be changed. Arbor 13:14, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
We need to look up whether the Swiss use of ss in all cases was already “dudenized” before the reform. However, I have no old Duden at hand. ― j. 'mach' wust | 17:35, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Duden SS vs SZ[edit]

The article mention that Duden at some point recommended differing uses of SS and SZ to resolve ambiguity but the example seems to be meaningful only to German speakers. Can we have a better explanation of when to use which and also some information on whether this recommendation was actually adopted: when, how popular, still? — Hippietrail 14:53, 25 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The two words "in Massen" and "in Maßen" would both be capitalized as "IN MASSEN", but they are opposites. All-caps text is rarely used, and the Swiss never had a problem with the ambiguity anyway. I've only ever seen the "SZ" spelling in a military context, but YMMV.

But I still don't get it - does one show that the previous vowel is short, and the other long? If so, which? Or is it that "SS" is the capitalization of "ss" and "SZ" is the capitalization of "ß"? — Hippietrail 08:57, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

In the example, SZ is used to represent the ß. Markalexander100 09:05, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
"in Massen": in (great) masses, capitalisation "IN MASSEN". "in Maßen": in (small, appropriate) amounts, capitalisation "IN MASZEN" if you want to be sure. However, it indeed is more of a theoretical discussion, and I would label the "SZ" capitalisation as "hyper correct".
According to the current orthography, it isn't hypercorrect, but wrong. J. 'mach' wust 13:01, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
hypercorrection is a special kind of wrong :) Joestynes 09:53, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Parallel between W & ß; Does ß sound like ss?[edit]

An editor removed

(cf. the letter W, which represents a ligature, too: "double u").

summarizing that decision by

W represents a sound which is different from uu or vv. ß does not (is always ss).

The reasoning may reflect a widespread belief of at least native speakers of English (and perhaps those of all "phonetically"-written languages) that their language is far more phonetic than is the true case. For instance the concept "voiced", which describes the difference between the phonemes of F and V, is not a commonplace one, supporting people in thinking that TH is a single phoneme despite thinking using it unvoiced and that using it voiced. I once listened, slack-jawed, as a native speaker of Arabic insisted that there is a difference of meaning and spelling but not of pronunciation, between "shoe" and "chew" (pronounced schuh and tschuh, in case any German-speakers are struggling here). So i await the opinion of a phonologist (or perhaps a classical singer, tho their expertise may be mostly about vowels): is "sharp ess" just a metaphor, or does the difference in the preceding vowel induce a difference in the sound of the vowel. (I am proud that i can hear the difference between the K sounds in key and king; still i don't think my lack of certainty about there being a difference the S sounds in mice and miss proves those S sounds are identical.) --Jerzy(t) 19:28, 2004 Nov 9 (UTC)

As I understand it, the letter s in German can have two pronunciations - sometimes as [s] (voiceless) and sometimes as [z] (voiced) - similarly in English the word "house" has the [s] pronunciation, but the word "houses" has the [z] pronounciation (twice!). The ß (and ss) in German is always voiceless, and is identical in its pronunciation to the voiceless pronunciation of the letter s. (sorry if this answer is a bit late for the original questioner) rossb 13:07, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
The distinction between the two German s-sounds doesn't need to be a distinction in voice. In southern German, the "voiced" /z/ is as voiceless as "voiceless" /s/, but still distinct. Therefore, the distinction is often described as a fortis-lenis distinction, that is, weak s vs. strong or sharp s. I believe this is why the name sharp s is used. There's no distinction, however, between the sound spelled with ss and the sound spelled with ß, both represent the fortis /s/. J. 'mach' wust 14:04, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
There might be another reason for the designation scharfes s. The original Germanic *s (or at least its Old High German continuation, also spelled <s>) was a voiceless alveolar retracted sibilant, often described as sounding like something "in between [s] and [ʃ]" for those unfamiliar with the sound – you could describe it as stumpfes s because it does not have such a high-pitched, loud or "sharp" hiss as the regular [s] familiar from German, English, French or Italian. The Old High German continuation of Germanic *t, in contrast, was exactly that familiar [s] (spelled <zz> or <z> in OHG) or the affricate [ts] (spelled <z> or <tz> in OHG), and the sound later spelled <ß> – i. e., a hissing sibilant which can never become voiced (except as a result of occasional overgeneralisation in speakers of Upper German dialects) – in most cases derives from Germanic *t (but also from Germanic *ss sometimes). However, from what I know, the stumpfes s merged with the scharfes s already in the 13th century, which would seem to make it unlikely that the modern name has any connection with it. Therefore, the "sharpness" of the <ß> seems to refer to its – former and in some form still present – length (as it is derived from OHG <zz> or <ss>), which is also connected to (or even the direct cause of) its inability to become voiced (or to occur at the beginning of a word). --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:19, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

scharfes S[edit]

'increasingly more common' than Eszett? I doubt (and removed) that. scharfes S feels vaguely southern (and slightly irritating) to mee. 217.184.47.108

scharfes s is definitely more common in Germany. Even in school we got to know it as scharfes s --84.161.214.42 17:45, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

This is regionally different. I tend to think that Eszett is the high german name for the letter, whereas scharfes s, Ringel-s and Dreierle-s (used around Stuttgart) are common southern variations. I might well be wrong about this. scharfes s sounds like a primary school teaching invention (similar to curly-k in english). 195.128.251.17 22:52, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

What's a "curly-k"? (Btw, at my school it was called "Eszett", but never written in that form) RedNifre 00:17, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Instead of High German you should use Standard German (vs. southern dialects of High German). Today Northern German may often refer to the variant of High German spoken in Northern Germany, but it isn't unlikely Low German could be intended. --92.229.171.152 (talk) 22:51, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
The Austrian, Swiss and Southern German varieties of Standard German are no less Standard German (and no less "correct") than the Northern German variety of Standard German, despite widespread Northern German elitism. German is a pluricentric language just like English. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:59, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
That's wrong! I live in Germany and before I went to school, I had learned from my parents who aren't native speakers that the strange letter is called Eszett. However, when I learned the alphabet at school, I was taught scharfes s. None of my classmates would ever call it Eszett, meaning that it's about to become rare. Many haven't even heard about Eszett as they all grew up with scharfes s.--95.116.236.169 (talk) 02:23, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
There is a clear line separating northern Germany and southern/Germany with Austria: http://www.philhist.uni-augsburg.de/de/lehrstuehle/germanistik/sprachwissenschaft/ada/runde_7/f05d/index.html. Both versions are equally correct and neither is better. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 79.227.159.66 (talk) 16:09, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

"225"[edit]

I got the information on how to type ß on microsoft computers from http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/00df/index.htm. J. 'mach' wust 03:07, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Error?[edit]

Tschichold's claim is based on a picture drawn by himself that shows how ſ and s melt together in blackletter, and on a reference to the ſs-ligature in antiqua. A historical specimen of the former has never been found, and the latter is true, but pointless.

I could be mistaken, but it sounds like the "former" and "latter" are mixed up.

"Former" is intended to refer to ſ and s melt together in blackletter and "latter" to ſs-ligature in antiqua. Anything wrong? -- j. 'mach' wust ˈtʰɔ̝ːk͡x 13:05, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

How would be written words like Faszination or Puszta in Fraktur typefaces?[edit]

Since (nowadays) "ß" is generally considered a ligature of "s" and "z" (or, maybe better, of "ſ" and "z"), how would one write German loanwords such as Faszination or Puszta in Fraktur typefaces (still sometimes used)? "ſz"? "sz"? "ß"? It's worth noting that in traditional Fraktur both "ss" and "sz" ligature were (probably) all transcribed with a "ß": e.g. Straße, daß (now dass), Pußta and so on. 84.222.53.45 18:22, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The Duden does not mention Hungarian sz, but it says that Polish sz is always transcribed ſz and provides the example Lukaſzewſki (the Polish ending ſki being another example). I guess that the Hungarian sz is analogous to this one. In the Latin word Faszination, however, I believe the normal rules are applied, that s at the end of a syllable is transcribed with the short (or 'round') s, since this is not a sz digraph, but just an accidental joining of the two letters. So I'd say the transcriptions would be Puſzta, but Faszination. -- j. 'mach' wust ˈtʰɔ̝ːk͡x 14:43, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Hmm... interesting. But how would this "ſz" look like? similar to a "ß" in Fraktur? or different?84.222.53.45 18:22, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Even in the Österreichisches Wörterbuch (37th edition, 1990, publisher: ÖBV) (which is printed in an antiqua font and not fraktur) the primary entry ist Pußta:
Pußta die [pụß-], -/Pußten, Puszta: Grassteppe in Ugarn, auch im Burgenland
[…]
Puszta die; → Pußta
Therefore I'd say, that Hungarian <sz> is written in fraktur definitely with <ß>, if even in antiqua it's the more common way of writing it.
On the other hand, Faszination is definitely written with a round <s>+<z> in Fraktur, as the s is in a syllabic-final position (Fas-zi-na-ti-on).
-- Szabi 14:07, 3 August 2005 (UTC)
Faſzination has no round s in the Duden of 1947 (which is in Antiqua, but still marks any round s). My old lexicon (1941, Fraktur) has faſzinieren without ligature, but Pußta with ligature. Some examples with dis-: Diskuſſion (round s, no ſſ-ligature), Disput (round s), Disraeli (round s, unlike Iſrael!), Diſſertation (ſſ-ligature), Diſſident (no ſſ-ligature), Diſſonanz (no ſſ-ligature), Diſtanz (ſt-ligature), Diſziplin (no ligature). Round/long s/ſ are used the same way in Duden (except Disraeli, which is not in Duden). --84.150.147.24 05:16, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
The difference between the two may become clear when one looks on the Syllables: Fas|zi|na|tion vs. Pusz|ta. The latter may be considered as "one sharp s", so the ligature is more appropiate.
Personally, I would pronounce Puszta with a short "u", so the ß would also be "against the feeling". But this may be a recent or northern-Germany pronounciation, not sure if the "u" is a long one in the south. Grüße, 85.178.232.232
My feeling is the spelling of 1995, so no problems with that, especially since Pussta would be nonsense. (I'm 21 years old btw.) In Fraktur you may use a ligature wherever you find an ſſ or an ſt, as far as I know (the other cases being sufficiantly dealth with by the round s). Polish sz ("sch") is spelt ſz without ligature everywhere but in the beginning of the word. Faſzination, and words of the kind (including Diſziplin), are spelt without ligature. Aſſimilations do not take the rule that at the end of the stem is a round s, because that s is no end of the stem but a result of an assimilation, so you have Aſſonanz, etc. In the cases with Dis- I would personally prefer a round s because it is in fact the end of the stem, but maybe Disſonanz and the like have been quite influenced by Aſſonanz and the like. The Duden (1995, antiqua, but with general rules for Fraktur writing) gives no rule here if I remember correctly, only insists that tranſzendieren be written this way, because not only trans- but also -szendieren have an s of which one is consumed. With Disraeli as well as Israel, I would say that s before a strange consonant is round (including even, as the Duden says, brüsk and the like, which is quite often) but I would probably put -iſmus as it is used so often (I think the Duden does not deal with it). Maybe a similar thinking leads to putting Iſrael. Hungarian s ("sch") I would probably use in the round form to signify its different pronunciation. --84.154.104.228 (talk) 10:56, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Umlauts and ß[edit]

In the 1980s, when umlauts were a bigger problem on computers than they are today, German computer magazines would often comment in tests of printers or word processing software that "German Umlauts are missing", or "German Umlauts are present", or "German Umlauts are encoded according to ISO-646" etc. This was always understood to include the "ß". I have restored the paragraph noting the umlaut association. -- 84.58.196.132 09:48, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Question about article name[edit]

Shouldn't a Wikipedia article written for English readers be titled by a name pronouncable in English? (I suspect there's discussion on this point elsewhere.) I ask this academically (without agenda) and am curious to hear points of view. For example, $ + & have English word-titles rather than symbol-titles.

  • I consider three factors relevant:
  1. We can, and have, rdr'd quite a few spelled-out names for it, which serve most of the purposes of a spelled out title
  2. There doesn't seem to be an accepted spelled-out name for it in English, with all the rdrs appearing to me to be transliterations of the German pronunciation.
  3. The single character is pretty well recognized by native speakers of English as a German letter, which is more than IMO can be said for the spelled out versions.

But if someone can verify an English name that is verifiable as well established, i could see supporting a change.
--Jerzyt 08:50, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

For general discussion, see Wikipedia:Use English. Septentrionalis 23:39, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
  • I have a specific point of view as a designer and college instructor. From my experience, (1) among American typographers the character is invariably called an eszett and (2) most American college students do not recognize the character by name (until taught). I realize my point of view is specific so I offer this for discussion, not necessarily argument for change. Note that Slashed O also has an article titled with a symbol.
    • The aberration (among Latin letters that neither are among the English 26 nor differ from one of them by a tiny mark) is not Ø. (BTW, in Ø, no name is given, despite the rdr "Slashed O" that the anon designer exploits, and a description is specifically quoting saying the letter is
    neither a diphthong, a ligature, nor a variant of the letter "O"
    ). Within WP, the aberration is thorn (letter), since, along with ß and Ð/ð as discussed, the remaining cases use the letter as title: Œ/œ (named "ethel" but not pronounced like the woman's name) and Æ/æ (named "ash").
    --Jerzyt 05:43, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
See Talk:Æ. This is an ongoing, and I believe unstable, set of placements, which appears to be largely driven by Icelandic nationalism. Septentrionalis 03:23, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
(Ð is actually titled Eth.) I cannot think of a better name for ß than ß either, and suggest it stays where it is. Especially, I cannot imagine many lay anglophones preferring a hyperlink of the form ... the German letter eszett... over a link of the form ... the German letter ß... . The former is more opaque than the latter. Arbor 09:04, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
_ _ I'm not sure i was right at the time i said it, nor that there was a time at which i observed (rather than just thot i observed) that it was then true. And i have no appetite for the archaeology needed to ascertain the history, which includes two revisions apparently deleted in order to effect changes among titles including the single letter and Eth.
_ _ As to its significance to this discussion, the theory inherant in the current Ð text is that that title has to belong to a Dab, so IMO Ð is far from a clear case on the side of either approach.
--Jerzyt 03:09, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

As a side note, I think it may be the case that the articles & and $ may not be placed at those names due to technical limitations. Both & and $ are used in URLs to represent either some kind of variable ($) or an action (&, eg. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:%C3%9F&action=edit&section=13). --Oldak Quill 18:10, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

ß on non-German Windows keyboards[edit]

"Often, the letter is input using a modifier and the s key, but not on Microsoft Windows computers. "

If the "United States International" keyboard input locale is used on Windows computers, the "ß" is input using ctrl+alt+S.

If you do much international correspondence, this is a very useful keyboard map, although it does take some getting used to; for example typing quote followed by "a" produces "ä"; in some cases, diacritical modifier characters must be followed by a space to be displayed by themselves. But using the International keyboard map, it's simple to produce, say, an Icelandic thorn "þ" as ctrl+alt+t.

71.210.15.112 01:26, 30 May 2006 (UTC)tubastuff@inbox.com (Chuck)

Microsoft hasn't fixed that yet? I had that problem with Windows 98, which I kept for a long time before getting a Mac. To get around all the hassle with the double quotes, single quotes, and other such problems, I installed 2 keyboards that I could switch between, since Windows 98 allowed more than one English keyboard but not more than one US English keyboard. I found the Australian keyboard to be exactly the same as the US keyboard, so I used that for English, reserving the US International for German.
The Mac has a separate key for umlauts and quotes (and all of the other accent marks), and I'm much happier with that.
I've heard that Windows XP lets you build your own keyboard map now.Bostoner (talk) 02:11, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

You can also fin "ß" on Hungarian standard keyboards, Alt Gr+Á, it is even marked, funny though a more common letter of the German alphabet "ä" is not marked, but it is Alt Gr+A and Alt Gr+E.

When to use[edit]

This article talks about the previous rules for use of the "ß" but does not say when it is apropriate to use as a substitution for "ss" under current German grammar. I do not know enough about it but can somebody please add a section? --Lophoole 01:19, 4 February 2007 (UTC)Lophoole

In modern writing, "ß" and "ẞ" are basically single letters and should never be used as a substitute for "ss" or "SS". (The opposite ("ss" for "ß" and "SS" for "ẞ") is okay, if ß and ẞ are not available.)
When writing medieval style, ß is strictly a ligature of long s and regular s. The medieval rules are like this (don't trust me, I'm not an expert on medieval writing style):
- ss becomes two long s if in the middle of a word (Like "Wasser" -> "Waſſer"
- ss becomes ß if at the end of a word/sylable (Like "Fluss" -> "Fluß" or "Fussball" -> "Fußball")
- s becomes long s if NOT at the end of a sylable (Like "so ist das" -> "ſo iſt das")
In the last example, ſt maybe should be a ligature RedNifre 00:00, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Modern Writing sample image would be helpful[edit]

It would be nice if someone could upload a picture of how this character is written. The old script is nice, but I need to address a package today and would like to make the character correctly. I will probably go with "ss" because I can't be sure from this article how it is commonly written today.

Thank you!

Here you go; just added the image. Using "ss" in addressing for those who don't know the letter is definitely a correct procedure. Next time please sign your talk. Szabi 12:28, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
Who wrote that last one? It looks like a "B" even to me as a German. Before I heard about the problem for non-native speakers it didn't even occur to me that "B" and "ß" could be confused but now this handwritten one really looks like a capital B. --Mudd1 16:41, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
PS: I don't mean to grump, I'm just curious because it really never happened to me.
I wrote all three; I personally use the first version, but saw all the other versions as well, as written by other Austrians and Germans; if you click the image, you can read in the detail description on MediaWiki, that the first is very common, the second too, though (here, in Austria at least) rather old-fashioned, while the third is rather uncommon. That's it, uncommon, but extant. I think though, that the problem non-Germans mean by ß looking like B mostly concerns printed or screen text.Szabi 11:09, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Long and Short Vowels[edit]

Perhaps it might help some understand the difference better, if someone pointed out that in German (and usually in English too), a double consonant indicates that the previous vowel is short. Thus, "ss" is like "ß" except that it is considered to be a double consonant, whereas "ß" is treated as a single consonant.Bostoner (talk) 02:11, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

In short, for current orthography:

  • Z has to do for ts in German, so German lacks a letter for the English z sound.
Normally, this is not a problem, because s is pronounced z whenever it comes before a vowel.
(Not where I come from, we don't have any z sound, but that's another story.)
  • But in some places, there is an s sound before a vowel nevertheless. Then it is written:
1. as a double s (ss), as in English (e.g. misses),
2. as an ß.
ß is needed because a double s shortens the preceding vowel. E.g. Busse (buses, short u).
If you have a long vowel, then an s sound, and then another vowel, you will need an ß. E.g. große (great ones, long o).
  • Moreover: If a plural is written with ß, then the singular is also written with ß, to make spelling easier. E.g. groß (great).
The same in verbs, unless the vowel becomes short. E.g. beißen (to bite), therefore es beißt (it bites) and beiß mich (bite me), but es biss (it bit) because the i is short.
  • s and ss at the end of a word don't make a difference in pronunciation. E.g. Bus (bus) and Kuss (kiss) rhyme.
Curryfranke (talk) 17:36, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

List of articles with ß[edit]

A non-comprehensive list. There must be dozens of others

Proper names are not subject to orthography in German. David Marjanović 18:21, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
Right, otherwise the town Neuss would have become Neuß with the spelling reform. Hence the paragraph on a spelling change in Rußland and Preßburg is wrong. --132.195.106.57 (talk) 11:26, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
no, the spelling Neuss did not follow spelling rules before the reform, so the reform could not have changed it. The reformed spelling Russland (probably Pressburg, too) is correct anyhow, which is a rare exception to the rule that the rule doesn't affect geographic spellings. The most probable reason is that Russland, Pressburg, and Elsass too, are exonyms. --androl (talk) 16:19, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
 Andreas  (T) 19:38, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Dubious[edit]

If ß was excluded from typewriters while, e.g., ç was included, this suggests that the importance of ß was already in decline, that it was already considered less important than ç, etc.. Moreover, the idea that a keyboard manufacturer can "run out" of keys is iffy to say the least. They can make as many keys as they want; it's a matter of priority. —Jemmytc 19:10, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

No one has replied to this in 6 mo., and it's OR to boot, so I deleted the paragraph. --Atemperman (talk) 19:40, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

S#[edit]

I came to this article from a link about a programming language called S#. Perhaps the redirect ought to be a disambiguation instead? (Redirected from S Sharp) Forkazoo 06:48, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Glaringly obvious[edit]

When I look at ß, I simply see a ligature of the long, medial s and the short, final s. The long s has its bottom cut off in order to save space on the page. There is no letter z.Lestrade (talk) 20:03, 7 February 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

The form of the letter you see depends very much on the font. It would help if you reffered to a specific image, not only ß in general. And you might not be aware that the letter z also comes in different shapes.--plauz (talk) 14:26, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Image[edit]

Szlig.png
This image is interesting though, showing two types of ß-formations. I think we should add it to the article, somewhere early on. Thoughts? -- Sverdrup (talk) 23:53, 18 March 2008 (UTC)]]

Sorry, I don't get this picture. Neither here nor in de:ß. The image description fails to mention which fonts were used. All this image tells me: Look Ma! With GIMP I can take two letters and make a third!. There are much better ways to illustrate the sz-ligature theory. For example take this historical example of German handwriting:

Deutsche Kurrentschrift.jpg

Look at the letters s and z and compare them with the second character from the right in the last row, aka ß.

Sz-ligatur-deutsche-kurrent.png

Take pencil and paper. Write a few medial s and t and st-ligatures (last character in last row). Write a few medial s in a row, than a few z, than a few sz, than the ß. You should be able to quickly understand how the shape of the letter ß evolved from s and z. Compare it to this beautiful piece of Italian handwriting, by tracing the shape of this ss-ligature with pencil on paper:

PressoAlla.JPG

Now you should have a pretty good feeling why the sz-ligature in such a pointy script like German Kurrent and the ss-ligature in a beautifully round Italian script end up having (almost) the same smooth B-like shape. --plauz (talk) 18:05, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Very instructive, thanks. I've found another example (Portuguese, 1721) for the ligature ß used to mean ſs in an Antiqua typeface: here on the title page (scanned page 5) at the very bottom, in italics: Com todas as licenças neceßarias. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:39, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm not a wikipedia pro or anything but it says "Comment on content, not on the contributor: Keep the discussions focused upon the topic of the talk page, rather than on the personalities of the editors contributing to the talk page." and I disagree, I find the original diagram very instructive the script image is almost illegible . It doens't demonstrate typographically how the eszett form came ot be,92.106.40.22 (talk) 20:25, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Merge Capital ß into ß?[edit]

Merge Capital ß into ß? No! ß is a regular letter (at least in German) and should be treated as such. Capital ß is a strange beast that barely exists beyond some typographers' sketch books. It is definitely not a regular letter. So I suggest to keep these articles apart. --plauz (talk) 14:21, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Capital ß could be added as a small subsection to the current article. If it's rarely used, then I see no reason why it should have its own article. FilipeS (talk) 19:58, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
After my experiences with the German version of Capital-ß (de:Versal-ß), I'd be surprised if it stayed just a small subsection. ;-) Both topics, ß and Capital-ß seem to attract a very vocal and activist community. ß by itself is complicated and controversial enough. But Capital-ß is even worse. Then there's the issue of Capital ß not being an official letter of the German alphabet. So most people who look up ß should have only a marginal interest in Capital ß. However, those who are interested in Capital ß want to know more than you could fit in a small subsection of the ß article. If you keep those article apart, everybody's happy. :-)
PS: I agree, that this should not be done unilaterally. But the merge request has been up for 5 months without any response so far. Heck, I even had to start this discussion thread! Personally, I don't mind, if you merge the articles… --plauz (talk) 21:26, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Very well, since there is no consensus to merge, I'm withdrawing the proposal. FilipeS (talk) 17:14, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

There IS a capital ß and i allready saw it in a lokal advert. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.16.184.59 (talk) 21:25, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Too cute by half.[edit]

Though I appreciate the point, the following does not strike me as particularly "Encyclopedic" in approach: Any such substitution looks extremely unprofessional, comparable to substituting lower case Greek letter "ω" (omega) with loωer case "w" in English text. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 210.172.229.198 (talk) 04:34, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

Pronunciation[edit]

I'm still a little confused on pronunciation of ß. Is it like a [ts] kind of sound, or is it more like [t] and [ʒ]? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.163.29.41 (talk) 07:00, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

It is always pronounced as a voiceless s [s] as in sea. -- PyroPi (talk) 02:32, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
-'kay, thanks. :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.163.16.35 (talk) 04:22, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Is it still in use?[edit]

I heard recently that this symbol isn't in use anymore, that the germans had abolished it. Is this correct? Manadude2 (talk) 21:15, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

No. --Komischn (talk) 16:42, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Schutzstaffel[edit]

Has the capital form SS of ß anything to do with the abbreviation SS for Schutzstaffel? --Contributions/88.78.13.22 (talk) 20:45, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

No, as you say "SS" is the abbreviation for SchutzStaffel, while the ß stems from the merge of two different letters for "s". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 141.20.106.220 (talk) 11:51, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Capital ß[edit]

Perhaps we should add the fact that the ß has to be replaced with "SS" if you use all-caps after the current spelling rules. --Flo27 (talk) 20:37, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

The Ripuarian thing was nonsense[edit]

I corrected the Ripuarian thing, because that was anything *but* standard spelling. The sample sentences, in the *actual* "usual" spelling of Ripuarian would be:

  • Wat es dat?
  • Aanjestosse
  • Et Nöüste vun dr Ripoarische Wikipedia

If you want sources, the spelling of "es" as opposed to eßß is seen here here and others - search for "Das kölsche Grundgesetz" (the Colognian constitution) for other examples. The non-existence of aanjestüßße can be seen by searching for the term, the "et" instead of Ett, the vun instead of fun and the dr instead of de can be seen in the aforementioned Colognian constitution again. Wikipedia has no official spelling, but since the German Wikipedia didn't call itself Wikipädie either, I see no reason to change the name. The phrase "vun de Ripoarisch Wikipedia" would be grammatically incorrect, it is saying "from" [N/A] "the" [f.+nom.] "Ripuarian" [n./nom.] "Wikipedia" [f.+nom.], whereas correct would be f.+dat. (vun dr), f+dat. (Ripoarische), f.+nom. (Wikipedia).

Redundant 'voiceless' [s][edit]

I'm going to remove all references to 'voiceless s, [s]' or 'voiceless [s]' and replace them with only '[s]'. The 'voiceless' part of the description is redundant and, I suspect, slightly confusing for people unfamiliar with the IPA or typical phonemic descriptions. Standard practice in describing phonemes is to enclose the IPA symbol in one bracket, such as [s], and here, as everywhere, the [s] symbol represents the voiceless alveolar fricative -- it can mean nothing else (this minimally contrasts with [z] the voiced alveolar fricative). It's kind of like saying, "In the state of the state of New Jersey..."; it's redundant and makes the reader question whether the writer understands the political deliminations of state boundaries in the United States, or the correct usage of English. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nazarre (talkcontribs) 12:38, 19 May 2011 (UTC)


--195.14.221.184 (talk) 08:05, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Why is the URL "ß" and the topic header "SS"?[edit]

"SS" is not a German letter. It would be impossible for me to find this article if I had not followed a link here. It took me a long time to figure out what was going on....184.155.120.157 (talk) 22:49, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

What exactly do you mean with 'topic header'? Richard 07:37, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
The article title? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.155.120.157 (talk) 00:56, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
The article title is ß, and the full URL https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ß (with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9F as an alternative). I still don't understand what you mean. Both use the same glyph. Richard 08:47, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

How do you say "ß"[edit]

I'm trying to read the article aloud and have no idea how to say "ß" other than "funny-looking-German-B" even though I know it stands for ss. Could someone add the pronounced name of this symbol to the first paragraph? It would be nice if the article started like the ¶ article. (Yes, I'm being hypocritical by using a symbol many people don't know how to say, but I hope some people get an idea of how frustrating it is. And by the way, that's a pilcrow.) DBlomgren (talk) 20:06, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

The names and their pronunciations are already in the first paragraph. The only thing one could possibly add to what is already there would be English pronunciation approximations of the German pronunciations given. I lack time tonight, but I may add them soon if I remember. Quercus solaris (talk) 03:05, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
Just say 'eszett' and you're done. Richard 09:33, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

Thank you. I've clarified how to say eszett from the beginning. Knowing how to pronounce it in German is nice but since this is the English language article, I've changed it to the English pronunciation based on OED. Hope this is clear to all. DBlomgren (talk) 03:49, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

Use in English[edit]

ß was also used in many earlier English writings, at least from Early New English - for example in at least one printing of the Douay-Rheims bible from 1630. ß was probably used in other languages too. 72.160.212.93 (talk) 12:18, 15 December 2014 (UTC)