German Alphabet Gets an Upgrade

German Alphabet Has Expanded to Ease a Hotly Debated Eszett Problem

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

While the German language has its oddities for American’s trying gain that bilingual status, one part of the German alphabet has managed to become a frustration for Germans themselves — the Eszett (ß). The future of the Eszett as been up in the air for quite some time as people have gravitated to the double-s replacement, but for the Eszett-lovers out there, Germany has made room in their alphabet to include a brand new form of the letter that will make composing angry all-caps messages a breeze.

The German Spelling Council met at the end of June to evaluate the current language and address inefficiencies that include putting a stop to the Germanization of foreign words, such as ‘Joga’ (Yoga) and ‘Ketschup’ (Ketchup), but the most important change to come out of the meeting is the official introduction of the capitalized Eszett. Until now, the Eszett was the only letter in the German language that did not have a capitalized version, causing problems not only for comment thread rants, but for more important uses such as names on a passport.

So what does this new 21st century letter look like? Well, a lot like the its smaller form. The lowercase ß transforms into the uppercased ẞ. It’s not quite as elegant looking as the original Eszett, with its somewhat slumped beer belly physique, but it should do the trick to solve the age-old problem until the decision comes to phase it out of the German alphabet entirely.

Sources: Süddeutsche Zeitung

Photo: Christian Dembowski [Flickr]

Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
Stephen Fuchs on EmailStephen Fuchs on LinkedinStephen Fuchs on Twitter