Producing non-English letters on English keyboard.

2nd November 2008, 12:31
These thoughts were prompted by a member lamenting the fact that he did not know how to produce the Norwegian letter Ø so as to spell the name of the Sørlandet correctly in the Sailing ship category in the Gallery section.
I actually have come to regret that I ever used any non-English letters in a title, inasmuch as that makes it difficult to search and retrieve these postings for people with an English keyboard. I therefore would suggest rather that, as regards titles at least, the standard rewriting was used for non-English letters. Which are to the best of my knowledge thus: for the Norwegian and Danish Ø and the Swedish and German Ö, - OE, for the Norwegian and Swedish Å, - AA, for the Norwegian and Danish Æ, and the Swedish and German Ä, - AE, for the German Ü, - UE. (Please correct me if I’m wrong.)
It can be remarked that, partly by necessity, this sort of rewriting has come to be used even in countries were these letters belong to the language. An example is German crossword–puzzles. (The French have seriously considered dropping their accents to make their language more accessible.)
On the other side, beneath the title, one might find it enjoyable to demonstrate a slight command of other languages than English in one’s posting, or less indicative of vanity: enjoy producing something less than ordinary with ones keyboard (==D). And for this I have found a useful site, at least for those with a separate set of numbers on the right side of their keyboard. Regards, Stein.

2nd November 2008, 13:46
I have never found any problems in accessing any character, including Chinese of various description, Norwegian, Indian of various descriptions, Russian or Greek, etc ... They are all available in Windows, off Insert Symbol. I like to offer a hand of respect to other nations in using the original spelling as far as is possible. Our own English language is becoming debased in attitudes to spellings as used today, I know the same problems exist in modern Poland and Russia, where young people have no idea as to how to spell in their own language. Am I alone in the pleasure that I get out of using language and spelling correctly? I also have a number of fonts, including ancient Coptic and Heiroglyphs for those odd (very odd) occasions.

2nd November 2008, 18:39

I entirely agree with you about the problems with searching, but it seems to me that it would be a sad loss to the world if non-English languages start to ditch their accented characters which have served them well and are a part of many cultures.


You are not alone - but I think part of a shrinking minority. Some people find spelling much harder than others; this has always been the case. We should not hold that against them as we all have strengths and weaknesses.

Sadly, spelling is no longer a priority in schools - the focus seems to be originality and style rather than accuracy. Based on my experiences with schools whilst my own two children were growing up, some teachers are little better at spelling than the kids they teach.

From a different perspective, how much writing does the average person actually need to do these days? You can largely get by with being able to sign your name and send abbreviated text messages unless you need to write as part of your job.

However, what many people fail to realise is that poor spelling (or at least poor use of a spell-checker) can most certainly limit your career opportunities. I have often sat on recruitment panels where any CVs with spelling mistakes go straight into the bin. The logic being that if a person can't even be bothered to get the information about themselves correct when applying for a job, they are not likely to apply high standards if you take them on.

2nd November 2008, 19:48
Another way in Windows:-

Programs > accessories > system tools > character map.

(Hope I've spelt it correctly.)

2nd November 2008, 23:19
Thanks Brian and I would add that a solid reason to keep original spelling and using correct characters is the search engine - many is the time that I have searched for a ship or something else and the only answer has been to actually find the correct spelling and to find the name of whatever (say 'ship') in that language and to actually use the proper spelling and proper characters. The world is going to have an invented illogical language with no fixed constants; the world will be plunged into more chaos than exists as it is ... like, yeah, I mean, ya know ... and the worst 'I could of' - what exactly is the verb 'of'? 'I of got one of those, man'. Nation shall speak unto nation, and no one knows just what is being said anymore. I have written to governments all over the world, and they appreciate the fact of a smattering of understanding and an acknowledgement of their culture - including of their own language. Call me prejudiced but I see no reason for employing anyone who cannot be bothered to learn their own language - what chance in structures or thermal calculations, let alone in mathematics? It is not that I look down on those who cannot, it is upon those that will not make the effort.
I have known people in very high places who have sent letters to me that would grace the copy books of an eight year old. I have come out and told them what I think, and that I expect better of such a firm or person. Language is wonderful, it separates us from our companions on this Earth in the Animal World ... or does it??
[Stand by for Incoming]

3rd November 2008, 01:05
I wholeheartedly agree, Treeve. The term "I could of" really winds me up as well.

3rd November 2008, 06:27
Monket and Treeve: I'm aware of the Windows character map, I just find it very impractical, particularly with several strange letters to be typed. (At least as I know it on Windows XP, which is as Monket describes the procedure, with "choose" - "copy" and then bring your page forward in addition - for every letter.) For my own use I have printed out the page linked to above and can now type out those letters, and a few signs that my keyboard doesn't have, with number codes - this I find a much simpler procedure than using the character map. The small "Ø" in "Sørlandet is": "Num Lock" on the right side keypad, "Alt" on the left side of the keyboard and with "Alt" pushed in typing 0248 on the right hand side numbers keypad, the "ø" appering when Alt is released.

I'm all for a common language within a country, I wish we had one in Norway. Here we have an invented language called "New Norwegian" that is by law spoken on state television and radio half the program time, and every official document must be printed in that languages in addition to one set in "Book Language." (An enormous waste of money.) One result of which is that everyone feels free to use their own dialect, and also to write it - even when this is comprehensible only within one isolated little valley. It has been suggested by many that this totalitarian attitude by the politicians produces more anarchy than order, and that the Norwegian language therefore will soon be replaced by English. This year there's been new decrees from those at the top, banning the writing of dissertations etc at the universities in English. The need for those laws is proof enough that forcing an artificial language on a people is a hopeless idea. The madness had one of it's high points when it was ruled from the top that all stamps should have the invented "New Norwegian" name for Norway on it. A national newspaper searched the country to find out if any one person ever in history had used this name - none had.
You're lucky in Britain to have reasonably democratic politicians, and a live natural language with an ongoing effort to keep a common standard of pronunciation and spelling. Regards, Stein.

3rd November 2008, 11:10
Thanks Stein, there will always be governmental interference in what they see as chaos. I am a full supporter of the vernacular, the dialect and other local languages (I will call them); they give a strong identity to the area and their people. A true sense of community. I am not even referring to what used to be called BBC English - this nation is a melting pot and a crossroads of the world, and I love the way in which our language has incorporated much of other cultures as they pass through or stay. There was one student that I had been given the doubtful chance to educate (a firm Brit, it has to be said, of 16 years old) - I was beginning to have problems in the fact that he could not deal with normal technical words in our multi-disciplined office. Eventually, I discovered that he had no idea that our/his own alphabet was in a specific order, and therefore he could never look up a word in a dictionary, let alone check it out in a reference book of any kind; indexes were unreadable to him. I had to teach this young man the alphabet.
I am sorry to read that Norway is beginning to lose touch with its wonderful colour and richness in its language. It is a prime example of how not to deal with language. It is important to retain our identity, in this 'global village' - it is all very well for the pressure of amalgamation and integration to be the 'buzzwords' but at the cost of national and personal identity, a firm no.
Keep those accents and characters ... save our languages, everywhere. Best Wishes, Raymond