Leaving the Stone Age behind when it comes to typing foreign accents and characters
Many foreign language students, or at least those with the slightest technological inclination, would do well to learn how to change their computers' keyboard language layout in order to be able to normally type foreign characters and accents that don't exist in English. It's a little bit complicated, but you can find out exactly how to do this by googling phrases like "changing keyboard language windows" or "changing keyboard language windows mac." If you don't like the result, you can always change it back, or stay with the English layout (in Windows) by pressing "Alt+Shift." As a Spanish speaker, I am frustrated to see how many Spanish-speaking computer users do without accents and the "ñ" or are still stuck in the Alt+Number combinations of the computer Stone Age. You can choose not to be one of them.
On Apples, the alt/option key is very useful. Pressing down, say, option+n gives a floating " ˜ " that will attach to the next letter you type. A list:
option+e = ´ (acute accent)
option+ the '/~ key (to the left of "1")= ` (grave accent)
option+u= ¨ (diaeresis/umlaut)
option+i= ˆ (circumflex)
option+n= ˜ (diacritical tilde)
option+c= ç (c with cedilla)
option+a and option+o give å and ø, not relevant until Duolingo gets Swedish (soon please?)
This was also posted in the Spanish section at: http://duolingo.com/#/comment/22174
Raymond17, daMarshall Keith.I,
Thanks for the "input" ;) I had already had dual keyboard layouts (English and Spanish) but I find it more difficult switching back and forth. Keith.I's suggestion was what I specifically was looking for. Here are some links that helped me that may help others.
Duolingo special characters using the extended keyboard layout For those of us in the USA or that use a US keyboard layout, here is a Microsoft article that explains how to use the extended keyboard layout that Duolingo user "Keith.I" suggested. It includes a link/button to a Microsoft FixIt which will make the install for you. You will then be able to use the RightAlt key (aka AltGr) plus the letter to type such letters as áéíóúñ¿¡
Microsoft Support Article: How to use the United States-International keyboard layout in Windows 7, in Windows Vista, and in Windows XP http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306560
Wikipedia: AltGr key http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AltGr_key