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  5. What is "ß"?


What is "ß"?

I've seen it in the German forums. It looks like a fancy "B" to me.

December 23, 2015


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'ß' is a ligature combining the long s - ( ſ ) - and the short s ( s ). ſ was still commonly used in English for initial and medial s until well into the 19th century; and a double-s (since at least one of them would necessarily be initial or medial) would be written as 'ſ s', which, closer together, easily looks like 'ß'. I don't know the precise history in German (they've undergone various spelling reforms), but in 18th century English books I have, 'ſ s' is also printed as a ligature, albeit a little less stylised than the German 'ß'.

December 23, 2015


Thanks! I wanted to know that too...


Eszett - double s.


Eszett = sz I have seen it written that way in longhand. Es - s; zett - z.


The sound is ss like "gross" (in German groß - for "big", if I'm remembering right!) :D


Acutally the sound is "s" and not "ss", compare: Fuß [long u] - Fluss [short u].


Danke! (it's been a good 20+ yrs since I've taken German...obviously LOL)


It is pronounced ss and it is called Eszett, if you cannot typ it with you keyboard, then you can write ss to replace it :)


Acutally it's pronounced "s" and not "ss", compare: Fuß [long u] - Fluss [short u], but yes, it can be replaced by "ss", but only if you can't type ß. Or if you live in Switzerland, they don't use ß.


Also if you type in all caps if I am correct.


the fancy "B" to which you refer results in what sounds like an English "s". The German "s" sounds like the English "z". The German "z" produces a sound which in English would require "tz". As others have mentioned, Germans replace it with "ss" if they are using a keyboard that doesn't support it.

The same thing happens with umlauts which result in a trailing "e" if the umlauts are not available. I have these at home but not at work. I don't have the fancy "B" with either keyboard.


You don't need it on the keyboard; I don't have it on a keyboard, but I create it by holding down the alt key and pressing 225 - ß


It's a double "s". Yeah, at first I thought it was a "special" German "B". It's just a double "s". When you think about it, it looks like an S and a B :)

At least I think it is. Anyone who sees this, correct me if I'm wrong :)


So... what is it? You just said "It's not." and didn't tell me the reason.


Stick to garpike's comment. It has 10 upvotes and a lingot, so it should be quite a good answer to the question (and it is).


Biertopf, yes it is, and your answer earlier was also good and with good details. Double100's answer was also helpful.


You might get more help if you put this on a forum for German, e.g., "German from English".

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