Allow keyboard shortcuts for letters
It's slows me down to have to press the "ñ" button to type "niños", for example. Could we have functionality similar to what http://www.typeit.org/ has, so we could type "ñ" or "é" or "ß" with Ctrl+N, Ctrl+E, Ctrl+S, etc?
I'm guessing you're on a PC, but for anyone on a Mac and looking for shortcuts:
option + s = ß
option+u + a = ä
option+u + u = ü
option+u + o = ö
option+n + n = ñ
option+e + e = é
option+e + a = á
And so on. You might try similar shortcuts using Alt, on a PC? No clue if that works.
There are similar keyboard layouts on Windows (in particular I am thinking of the U.S. International layout) which makes typing umlauts and other accents simple and intuitive. Actually, it works so damned well, I'm surprised it's from Microsoft (I wonder who they "innovated" it from?). I miss it.
Unfortunately, I'm on Linux, and I type with the Dvorak keyboard layout. Although there is a "USA Dvorak International" variant available under many/most Linuxes by default, it totally and completely sucks compared to the ease of use provided by the Microsoft/Windows layout, so I just end up not using it.
One thought, (for German learners anyway) is to use "ae" to represent "ä", "oe" to represent "ö", "ue" for "ü" and "ss" for "ß". The reason I suggest these combinations in particular, is that Germans use these combinations themselves when they can't type the umlauted versions, and several online German language resource sites like LEO, dict.cc and linguee.de also expect and accept these combinations. I realize other Duolingo languages don't use these characters and there may be no generally accepted alternative letter combinations to represent the accented characters those languages do use. This is obviously not a Duolingo-wide solution. But for German learners at least, it would be sweet.
Oh my god, elae, I'm a complete idiot! You know I never even thought to actually try that. I just figured with the special character buttons prominently displayed there on the lessons, and the need for Duo to support a number of different languages, that the buttons were the only way to go. Man I'm lame. But I'm glad you pointed that out to me, because my fingers are kind of trained to do that anyway (from LEO, etc.). That's going to make life nicer.
This link will show you a small exe file that you can use: http://www.onehourprogramming.com/spanish-accents/ This is not the only link. I think it or one like it is available on spanishdict.com