Accents & Installing Foreign Languages

My first Windows machine was Japanese Windows 3.1. It required quite a bit of extra software to get Japanese capability, and it was slow. Each version of Windows has provided more international support, and beginning with Windows 2000, you can sometimes get international characters to work with programs that don’t explicitly support interntional character sets.

If you just need accents, umlauts, and tildes, the easiest option for English Windows is the US International keyboard. Type an apostrophe (‘) followed by a vowel to get an acute (rising) accent: á, é, í, ó, ú. Type the grave (downward) accent (upper left on the keyboard) followed by a vowel for that accent: à, è, ì, ò, ù. The tilde (upper left, shifted) + n gives ñ. The quotation mark gives the umlaut: ä, ë, ï, ö, ü. Other characters are also supported: ý, ÿ, ç (apostrophe plus c).

What if you just want to type the apostrophe, quotation mark or tilde mark when using the US-international keyboard setup? Type a space after the diacritical mark.

How do you install the international keyboard or make any other settings in Windows? Check out Carleton College’s site for help on finding and setting language configurations in Windows 98, 200 and XP.

As an aside, I was looking at Macintoshes today and noticed that the international settings include aynu itak (Ainu). Very impressive!

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