Let’s talk accents….

August 13, 2019

… and I’m not talking Southern accents, I’m talking accents used in written text.

I am currently in the Quebec province of Canada and will be going to Quebec City in a few days. I have been expecting, and have now experienced, signage and words, names of cities and streets, etc. to be written exclusively in French. It will get “worse” for me before it gets better. I took French in high school (why, I don’t know – I have German ancestry) but can’t speak a lick of it. I probably wouldn’t have done any better with German.

I know that many of the words and names have accent characters (grave, aigu, cedilla, circonflexe and umlaut) above or below the English alphabet characters. I have been unable to incorporate those accents in my posts and asked a good friend of mine back in Durham for help. My friend is from Italy and speaks several languages so I thought he might know a “quick and dirty” way to solve my dilemma.

My friend uses a Mac and I use a PC. He bought his computer in Switzerland when he went to college and it evidently has a more “international” keyboard. He even got his hands on a PC to see if he could resolve the issue for me.

He gave me several suggestions including “Ctrl+” key sequences, buying an International keyboard, buying a plastic overlay for my current keyboard, etc. He even sent me an email with all the vowels, the letters generally requiring accents, in all the variations, for me to just cut and paste!

My friend has spent considerable time and effort helping me (and believe me, he has far more important things to do with his time) and unfortunately it all appears to be for naught.

For example, early this morning I tried to cut & paste just the letter ‘e’ with the correct accent from the list he sent me to properly write Gaspe, the town I am in. It didn’t work and I just now cut his entire section of sample letters, in all variations, from his email and here is how it “pastes”:

à è ì ò ù

á é í ó ú

â ê î ô û

ä ë ï ö ü ÿ

Ç ç Œ Å“Â

Yikes! It’s all Greek to me….

I very much appreciate his efforts but will continue to just write words and names without the appropriate accents. I know better, but we tried!


UPDATE – A few minutes after this post originally hit I tried entering two words in WordPress (the blog). I tried this because when I sent another friend an email this morning the word I wrote, through no action on my part, contained a Cedille (the squiggly thingie under the c): façade

Another word I tried: entrée

Yowza – this is making me crazy!

Gaspe (no) Perce (no) Gaspésie (that worked) Riviere (nope) Centre d’interpretation de la dime (hell no, it should have had two) Point-a-la-Garde (no) Le Parc Regionale (nope) Saint-Francois (no)

Saint-Francois-d’Assise (still no. Thought maybe on a new line would help)

Apres ski (nope) Voila (Nope – disappointed….) Viola (nope – just to see if I could trick it)

Fini (none required)


UPDATE – 8/16/19

Issue resolved!   My friend back in Durham taught me how to add accents to text in WordPress (where this blog resides).

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