ss instead of ß?

[deactivated user]

    Hello. I was used to typing "ss" instead of "ß" in the writing excersises just because it is easier and I have just noticed that when I do so, there is a warning that goes "pay attention to the ß character". I don't know if there was a similar topic before, I checked but couldn't find, so if there is I'm sorry! But I thought ss and ß were interchangeable. Is that not so? Why is it so important to stick with ß?

    November 14, 2015

    12 Comments


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pseudocreobotra

    As others said... They are not interchangeable. You can usually even tell which should be used on the length of the vowel (long vowel like the a in Straße -> ß, short vowel like the u in Fluss -> ss) - one on the few actually useful changes in the spelling reform.

    But ss is the usual "transliteration" used if German is written on a keyboard without ß or in capital letters, similar to ae/oe/ue instead of ä/ö/ü when using an English keyboard. It's usually understandable but yes, some words can become ambiguous and it's not really correct spelling... Just a handy work-around ;)

    November 15, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nate1016

    Just curious, if they are not interchangeable, how is the English translation of Fußall, "Fussball", if he is on an English device, wouldn't it be interchangeable in that sense?

    November 15, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pseudocreobotra

    Sorry, I don't really understand your point, could you maybe phrase it a little differently?

    It's always "Fußball", even if you can't type the ß and use ss instead (well, unless you are from Switzerland or Liechtenstein, their spelling is different). It's just a work-around that is generally understood but if you'd use it in school for example, it's be marked as wrong. It's similar to Spanish (where the accents just mark stress contrary to the German umlauts that are different letters with a different pronunciation) - leaving out the accents usually won't make your text unreadable but it's not correct either. There is also some ambiguity if you don't use the proper spelling - in German "in Massen" and "in Maßen" actually are opposites!

    November 15, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nate1016

    I was just wondering about the anglicized form of the word. In English, we would spell that with the double s, however, as you stated in German, it would be the ,"ß". So given that he only had access to an English keyboard for the activity which would obviously not have the original German letter, I thought that would be a valid substitution. However, as I am just beginning to learn German, I must rely on your expertise. Sorry if my question was vague!

    November 15, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pseudocreobotra

    Wouldn't it be either football or soccer in English? Anyway, if you import German words into English, the spelling often gets altered a bit... But that's the English spelling then, not how it's spelled in German.

    November 15, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nate1016

    It's just teaching you the proper German spelling, I normally download keyboards of every language I learn just so it automatically switches once I am typing.

    November 14, 2015

    [deactivated user]

      Okay, I just didn't know that "ß" was the proper one, thought they were equally acceptable. Thank you :)

      November 14, 2015

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alexinIreland

      Actually, ß is the "proper" one in Germany, Austria, Belgium, etc. but not in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. In those countries, they do use ss instead of ß. Since Duolingo teaches Hochdeutsch (standardised German), ß is used and it is debatable whether ss should be accepted or not. However, when typing in ALL CAPS, SS is generally used (even in Germany and Austria), because the capital ß (ẞ) is not really commonly available (even though it became mandatory in official documentation in 2010), and ss is also used in web addresses. There is a full video on the ß here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMo4gJIlDeU.

      It important to stick with ß in some cases because there can be a big difference in meaning between words that are spelt identically, save for ß/ss (but obviously, it isn't that important, seeing as Switzerland and Liechtenstein manage to use ss all the time without too much chaos :P) An example used in the video is the difference between in Maßen (in moderation) and in Massen (in large amounts, en masse). Note: both of these would be spelt Massen in Switzerland and Liechtenstein :)

      November 14, 2015

      [deactivated user]

        This was very helpful, thank you! :)

        November 14, 2015

        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gisberth

        The point is, that in traditional German writing all vovals are long, except these at the end of a word, shortness is indicated by two or more following consonants. That's the reason why sometimes doubble consonants are needed. In this respect writing is more consistent since the last reformation. Now all vovels before ß (one consonant) are long whereas those before ss are short. But language changes, the writing of Hochdeutsch was dominated by the higher(Hoch) laying countries, which are in the south, whereas the north which was speaking Niederdeutsch has no written form (except you think of Dutch as a form of written Niederdeutsch). Now the center of the language has shifted to Berlin which originally belongs to the Niederdeutsch causing standard pronounciation to change and generating more and more misfitts to writing. So whereas in the south "das" is long and "dass" is short, most of the people speak both of them short, thus causing a lot of writing errors.

        November 15, 2015

        [deactivated user]

          Thank you for your explanation! It was also very helpful.

          November 15, 2015

          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rul0r

          Well as others said for a word like Massen, Maßen its important. But how words are officially written right changed a lot and aside a few dedicated persons no one knows what is exactly the right spelling anymore. If you don't do it for school where wrong spelling might cost you points it isn't important. Examples of words where it doesn't matter are: daß-dass, Fluß-Fluss, muss-muß, Kuß-Kuss, Faß-Fass, Russland-Rußland

          November 16, 2015
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