Eugy Yue
Should the letter "ß" still be used in German?

Should the letter "ß" still be used in German? 

If you must answer,  would you stand in/out  a circle of supporting no longer use "ß" because we can use "ss" instead in German? 

May 28, 2018 10:01 AM
Comments · 5

I for myself keep the ß no matter what! Noch ne Rechtschreibreform hin oder her.

I have deep childhood memories of learning how to write the s and ß.

We also spent so many hours learning when to use s and when ß.

So, no way I will drop it,  let me write the bloody and beautiful ß until the end of my life.

May 28, 2018

In Switzerland, the letter ß is not used and always replaced by ss. But in Germany and Austria it is used, and there are no tendencies to drop it.

If you replace ß by ss (e.g. because you have difficulties typing it on your keyboard), you will always be understood, but everybody will notice it as a non-standard spelling.

And note that there are some word pairs where the difference between ß and ss is vital. Example: 

- in Maßen: moderately

- in Massen: in great quantities

May 28, 2018
To follow up on Alexandre’s answer, note that “Maßen” is pronounced with a long “a” before the “ß,” while “Massen” has a short “a” before the “ss” — that is the purpose of the new spelling reform.

Likewise, “dass” has a short “a,” so the new spelling rules specify that it is no longer to be spelled “daß.”  Of course, people in their late 30s or older will probably continue with the centuries’ old tradition of always writing “ss” as “ß” in syllable-final position. (I originally wrote “late 30’s” with an apostrophe, but then remembered that the long-standing tradition of using an apostrophe to pluralize numbers was dropped a few decades ago on the grounds that it’s not a possessive. Ah, well….)

May 29, 2018
I agree with Chris. I always write daß instead of „dass“which just looks weird to me. But then I learned German in 1977-1982 and that was just normal at university back then. So, I’ve stuck with it. 
May 29, 2018

Chris and SHL: I guess you are talking about the spelling reform from 1996 which replaced some (not all) occurrences of ß by ss. Well, I am over 40, and I follow most of the changed rules, especially the "ß vs ss" rule. It makes more sense to me, and it was quite easy to get used to it. And this is also the spelling you find in most German texts written after 1996. So I write as I read.


May 29, 2018
Eugy Yue
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Cantonese), Chinese (Shanghainese), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish
Learning Language
Chinese (Shanghainese), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish