Using the Microsoft US International Keyboard for Spanish accents
I initially downloaded the nice little program from the one hour programming site. However, I quickly discovered that whenever you run that program, you open up your system to that site. Rather than depend on a small site's ability to avoid being hacked, I have decided to take the time to set up the Microsoft English International keyboard and learn to use it.
Here is a link to the clearest instructions that I have found. I understand that their English International keyboard is available on all versions beginning with XP (then 7,8, and 10). Although Microsoft support is not known for their user-friendly language, if you carefully (and patiently) follow these instructions you can set this up properly. Once it is set up it is easy to use. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/97738 The only problem I had on Windows 10 is that their recommended language choice of English International (to match your English International Keyboard set up) does not seem to be available. My only choice was English-US for the language. However, the US International keyboard seems to be work fine on Win 10 anyway. I have written a query to Microsoft help about this issue but I have not heard back.
I am sharing this link because, as a determined but not sophisticated system user, it has taken me 4 hours+ to research and set up the best solution for my Spanish accent problem. For anyone really serious about becoming fluent in Spanish or any other language, using the proper accents in practices and in written communications is extremely important. Writing Spanish without the proper accents is perceived to be like writing English using poor grammar.
I hope this is helpful.
Would you consider reviewing the wiki page on the subject, and making edits or additions as would be helpful (or suggesting them to one of the wiki moderators, not sure how DL is handling its wiki).
I usually link people to at page when they have questions about this, so it would be great to have it be as helpful as possible.
I'd do it myself, but I use a Mac, and descriptions of the Windows process leave me cross-eyed and headachey. :)
Sure. I would be happy to do that as soon as the Microsoft tech answers my questions (likely within the week). I saw a lot of questions around this issue on this site. If I update Wikki (or the Microsoft tech is willing to do so) I am sure that one of the more savvy Spanish students will be inspired to comment and improve on the update...which will help all of us!
Yes. I agree that the Windows process makes one cross-eyed! Most of the applications that I use, however, have been designed to run on Microsoft.
Wow. I really appreciate that I can just switch back and forth on mine. I never even thought about how annoying it would be if I couldn't. Thanks for sharing this info!
You can have more than one keyboard installed on your Windows system. Switching between them is as easy as clicking the little icon on taskbar. You can continue to use standard English (US) keyboard and switch to English (International) when you need to type Spanish characters. English Int is not recommended as you will have to discover where the Spanish characters are on the keyboard by memory as your keyboard does not have visual indications. But otherwise, it is OK. Ignore the warning.
On MacOSX for occasional use you can hold down a key and get accented alternatives listed in a popup and pick from the list.
On iPhone/iPad you can install multiple keyboards as well. I have English, Spanish and Turkish on my iPhone. Switching between them is as easy as tapping the globe symbol on the keyboard.
Very good advice! As a note, the Microsoft link on my initial post above does list all of the Spanish character key strokes on the US International keyboard. Most use the apostrophe in front of vowels to place appropriate accents and the rest are easy to remember. Yes, I did discover the problem with using the US Intl keyboard for English so I have installed English US as my default keyboard. The biggest inconvenience is that the US International keyboard takes over the right-side ALT key and it also takes over a couple of other keys...one being the US English "...' (quotation mark...apostrophe) key.
Based on the advice of other students on this site, I do always open a "SpanishDict" window with a "Duolingo" window. Toggling back and forth between these two sites helps me learn. Everyone's brain is different, however.
The comments (like yours) in response to my post have been very helpful to me. I hope that our ideas will help someone else!