Legitimizing the ß

Pity the plight of vulnerable European letters! Really, though, one thing I love about the web in recent years is how, more and more, non-latin alphabets are rendering correctly, without fuss or extra downloads, in my browser window. May the increase continue!

In practical terms the ISO ruling now means that in future it should be easier to find the Eszett on computer keyboards and in programmes. But it remains to be seen how keyboard manufacturers will react. Other vulnerable European letters have come under threat in the internet era, such as the Scandinavian vowels æ, ø and å. However, official recognition for the Eszett should mean that it is protected, at least for the time being, and cannot be scrapped as it has been in Swiss German.

Kerstin Güthert, managing director of the Council for German Spelling Reform, said: “It’s up to the people to decide whether or not they will use it.”

Germany’s typographers, at least, are predicting its comeback and celebrating the Eszett’s new-found status.

Originally published at culture-making.com.

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