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Re: questions & comments

Thierry Bouche wrote:
> » Therefore new spelling rules and resistance against the sharp s causes
> » the revival of the need of the long s
> if you were not sooo muuuch biaised, you simply could admit that the
> modern shape of the long-s is: s. And you're done.

Well, indeed yes. It is the trivial solution 0 = 0 and most fonts (as
well people) choose this branch. The essential point is however that |s
(where | stands for s-long) is to be applied *only* in the case where
usually the sz would have to be used but is not available for various
excuses. I made up the official new German spelling rules as a PDF both
in a Fraktur and Latin font version which demonstrates how it works - a
little German is required for this, however ;-)

> BTW Jörg Knappen uses library calls to Tschishold's book to justify
> his sharp s, saying that it never was an sz but always an ss,

Actually he is wrong - and there is an entire school of people who
believe this. The very simple answer is that a look into the fonts which
were used by Gutenberg shows that there is no sz character at all: it
was typeset as s-long z-final (one z variant letter, similar to yogh).
It is completely correct that fonts from the romanic area (Italy, Spain,
France &c) didn't have an sz, because the sharp s is specific German.
Therefore one used the s-long s-final ligature here with good reason in
material which is set in fonts coming from this culture. (Like e.g. the
famous Italian and French fonts.)
However typical German designs provide a special sz character made from
a s-long yogh ligature traditionally. The reason is that for Fraktur
fonts it is simply quite impossible to produce a reasonable s-long
s-final (round s) ligature for geometrical reasons - why one should
apply then other principles for designing the sz in a Latin (Antiqua)

BTW, also Tschichold is biased - but it is in any case good name, handy
for a reference....

> erroneous analysis (as yours) coming from the monastic habits of
> ligaturing the final s with itself (drawing a diagonal linking both
> ends of s).

The truth is that there are many styles, individual creations and habits
during the long long history. The real art is to see the essential
principles behind this noise.
The practical rule is that for romanic designs a s-long s-final ligature
is probably "authentic" as sz character while for Roman fonts designed
in parallel to Fraktur faces or with the application for German in mind
the sz is made up by a s-long yogh ligature, showing the German origin.
Interestingly enough, Tex/CM has *both*: in cmr the bonafide German
shape and in cmti the "Italic" shape ;-)

So Times and CM are more "Germanic" than Palatino is for some reason or
There is no dogma - it's just fashion!

> » BTW, writing sharp s in English as s-long s-final would also workaround
> » the pronounciation problem, I guess ;-)
> you gue\ss what?

The observation is that therefore the traditional writing of many
English words was then "guesse"... (it is no longer final this way)
Actually I mean Gau|s ;-)

> » Possible it would be worth a try to set up a FAQ for the case...
> in de.comp.fonts, for sure?

No, in comp.font\ss

Hilmar Schlegel

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