Monday, January 12, 2009

Lubricating the Guardhouse

Filling out a visa application earlier today I had to look for the uppercase version of the German eszet character (looks like lowercase beta) -- apparently the correct thing to do is to substitute ss, so straBe -> strasse -- and found this snippet on Wikipedia:

In Fraktur typeface and similar scripts a long s (ſ ) is used except for syllable endings (cf. Greek sigma) and sometimes this has been historically used in antiqua fonts as well, but in general it went out of use in the early 1940s along with Fraktur typeface. An example where this convention would help disambiguation is “Wachstube”, which was either written “Wachſtube” = “Wach-Stube” (mil. guard-house) or “Wachstube” = “Wachs-Tube” (tube of wax).

Somehow I don't feel like these are truly separate ideas.

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