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  • The flip-flop-flyin' ß, under new spelling rules, should only be used after a diphthong as here.

    March 8, 2009

  • Also known as 'Scheisse', it is the vulgar term for excrement.

    For those who long to know, it is pronounced (shy-zah) with stronger emphasis on the first syllable, at least according to the few germans I've had the pleasure to hear swearing.

    March 8, 2009

  • On pronunciation: the eszet is always pronounced s, never z as a single <s> would be in *Scheise.

    On spelling: why is the eszet retained? I thought after the recent reform its sole function was to indicate a preceding long vowel; and this is unnecessary after diphthongs, which have no length distinction. But I don't know much about the reform.

    March 8, 2009

  • You might be right. Usually are ;-) I just remember that's how it was explained to me when I was in Germany. The issue came up at a backyard barbecue of all places. It did seem to generate a fair bit of discussion; maybe Germans aren't clear on it either. Besides, as I'm sure you're aware, 'official' language policies aren't always successful.

    March 8, 2009