Sunday, 16 December 2012

Beyond the grave

I seem to have touched an editorial nerve with writers at Muse. I just posted a small thing about not being able to add a ‘grave’ accent to the word ‘frontières’ in a dialogue box, and bam! Writers around the globe struggle to get these right. The first reply made me chuckle: ‘That's funny, I thought a grave accent was what you used to narrate Vampire stories.’ Very good. Ha, ha.

Then more frustrated people poured out of the woodwork. The most popular system was to set up a buffer filled with letters with accents and then cut-and-paste as necessary. I prefer key strokes, personally, and I’m quite au fait with cedilla, n tilde and all the French circumflexes and so forth. One book set in the mythical land of Krønagar was filled with Danish-style words using the minuscule, or ø. I found you could type it by hitting control, then forward slash, the hitting an ‘o’.

One Maltese author pitched in and made my head spin, explaining how they have one which is an ‘h’ with a dash across the bar and g, c and z with a dot on top. Apparently, you can’t do them in emails, but you can fix your keyboard to get them in text.

Many moons ago I remember typing up my thesis using two daisy wheels, which I had to swap every time I needed an accent. And these were considered better technology than the old ‘golf balls’ I used before. *!<>£/!

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