Das Alphabet ist größer

The German alphabet has just expanded, ever so slightly:

Have you ever been typing in German in a blaze of BLOCK CAPITAL anger, but been stopped short by the inability to write the next letter of the word SCHEI…? Help is finally at hand.

At the end of June, the German Spelling Council decided to add a capital ß (Eszett) to the language, bringing to an end a debate that had raged on in the world of German orthography since the 19th century.

Now, instead of using SS to capitalize the Eszett, Germans should use ẞ.

In other news, there is a German Spelling Council, and this is their rationalization:

In German passports, names appear in uppercase, meaning that until now, someone with the surname Großmann has had to put up with the humiliation of being confused with a Grossmann.

So now at least those writing angry uppercase emails who get stuck at the “SCHEI” in “Scheiße” have their solution.

A hundred years from now, this little dustup will be forgotten. (Worst case: this little dustup will be forgotten because the official language of Germany will be Arabic.)


  1. McG »

    16 July 2017 · 9:32 pm

    I never knew the eszett was lowercase. It’s as tall as a capital letter.

    First time I saw it I thought it was some weird B. And I felt vindicated a few years ago when the cast of the U.S. version of “Top Gear” (not the upcoming direct spinoff of the British one) went to Germany and read street signs they thought ended in “-strab”.

  2. fillyjonk »

    17 July 2017 · 6:18 am

    It’s still gonna slow you down if you’re typing on a standard keyboard, no? Or do they make species German ones with extra keys?

  3. McG »

    17 July 2017 · 6:52 am

    On my phone I can tell the keyboard app to give me a different language, and those must be modeled on hardware keyboards manufactured for those languages.

  4. QA Hates You » Blog Archive » When Your Alphabet Increments »

    17 July 2017 · 8:14 am

    […] (Link via.) […]

  5. CGHill »

    17 July 2017 · 9:08 am

    Not sure how this is going to work out. A German PC keyboard has the lower-case ß. The upper case, not yet.

  6. Holly H »

    17 July 2017 · 10:43 am

    I think the whole German language is a victim of over-engineering.

    Gimme Esperanto, any day.

  7. McG »

    17 July 2017 · 10:55 am

    Orwell had a point; how people think affects how they speak, and vice versa.

RSS feed for comments on this post