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Re: CHAT: Ess-zett Re: CONLANG Digest - 18 Mar 2000 to 19 Mar 2000 (#2000-78)

From:Vasiliy Chernov <bc_@...>
Date:Monday, March 27, 2000, 12:06
On Thu, 23 Mar 2000 23:58:19 -0600, Eric Christopherson <raccoon@...>

>At 05:31 PM 3/22/2000 +0100, BP wrote: >>At 13:09 20.3.2000 -0600, Thomas R. Wier wrote: >> >. The German boards did, though, >> >have umlauted tiles for vowels, although I don't seem to remember any >> >tile for the ess-zett. >> >>That's because ess-zett can't be capitalized. It becomes SS in >>caps. (Actually it *should* become SZ, with sz as a permissible l-c >>stand-in. Beats me why not. German Polonophobia, maybe? ;-) > >Any idea why sz or a variation of it was ever chosen at all? It seems like >a rather odd choice to represent /s/, but then I guess Magyar uses it too.
It seems that this usage goes back to Middle High German, in which <ss> and <sz> stood for different sounds (the latter phonetically closer to the affricate <z>/<tz>). BTW, I kinda recall a book in German (not too old, late 19th century, IIRC) whose Gothic fonts distinguished between two similar ligatures - ss and sz. Roughly, the former was the substitute for ss in the end of words/components of compounds, the latter stood for voiceless [s] after long vowels (I forget the details). A similar shape for ligaturized ss was also used outside Germany, e. g. in some older Italian calligraphy manuals. Basilius