Re: Monetary decimal separators

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Sat Sep 17 2005 - 13:23:15 CDT

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    From: "Marion Gunn" <>
    > That is a very important point, especially after the resolution of the
    > technical obstacles of the past.
    > Over fifteen years ago, the argument against facilitating accents on
    > capitals in my language (Irish) on computers was that the French had
    > given up and accepted defeat on that point.
    > But they had not, in reality, and neither had we, and it seems to me
    > very strange to beg to question such facts fifteen years later, now that
    > we have, happily, achieved what we want.

    What is even more strange is that, even in absence of a standard layout to
    add support for missing accents, Microsoft has PARTLY extended the French
    keyboard in Widows drivers, by SILENTLY replacing the keys for ASCII
    backquote and ASCII tilde by deadkeys for the COMBINING GRAVE ACCENT and

    Such extension was possible and easily accepted because it did not require
    changing the key caps on existing keyboards. But the change of input method
    for TILDE was in reality not needed for French (that has no letter combined
    with tilde), and only adding support for grave accent is also not enough.

    Well in French, grace accent is only used over E and A, and the real need
    for E WITH GRAVE is in the middle of words, and never (or rarely?) on
    initials, where a capital version would be needed (I can't remember a valid
    example of a French word starting by "è", even in proper names).

    (Note that in normal French, the use of capitals is much more strictly
    regulated than in English, so that writing styles with all-capitals words
    are considered not acceptable, as well as titlecase, meaning that capitals
    in the middle of Words should be used only for special cases like acronyms
    and foreign proper names such as "McDonald", normally written in
    unabbreviated form "MacDonald")

    So the only use of those extension is for A with GRAVE which is common alone
    as the leading word of a sentence, where it must be written in capital.

    What I want to say there, is that, even in absence of an AFNOR standard, a
    de facto standard can (and has already) be developed by large software
    providers (such as Microsoft or Apple), to add the missing letters for
    French (and such extension has already been added when the Euro symbol was
    mapped on [AltGr]+[E]). Given that grave accent and tilde deadkeys were
    mapped on the first keyboard row with AltGr, it seems consistent to place
    the missing diacritics there too for the missing ACUTE ACCENT (it could be
    mapped as a dead key on [AltGr]+[1 &]), and then add a precombined CAPITAL
    LATIN LETTER C WITH CEDILLA just on the left with [Shift]+[²] where there's
    currently no standard assignment, and where various vendors place a
    "superior 3" or a "superior n").

    Only these two are needed to make the French keyboard complete for French,
    and it "requires" changing only two key cap labels on physical French
    keyboards. It is also easy to remember for users of existing keyboards.

    Note that dead keys for DIARESIS and CIRCUMFLEX ACCENT already exist on all
    French keyboards and do not require additional extensions. The ASCII
    CIRCUMFLEX is also mapped (proprietarily) as [AltGr]+[9ç] and is a duplicate
    assignment because it can more easuly be entered with the circumflex dead
    key plus space (except that autorepeated characters don't work on letters
    composed with dead keys, a defect of the keyboard driver in my opinion,
    rather than in the keyboard layout).
    -> This means that a CAPITAL LETTER C WITH CEDILLA would have been better
    placed as [AltGr]+[9c] instead of placing the ASCII CIRCUMFLEX there; but it
    would have changed the classic behavior of French keyboards.

    The arguments about costs implied by such change is also clearly not
    justified when you see the effective cost implied when 3 completely physical
    keys were added by Microsoft for Windows function keys and the menu key, and
    when even the keyboard manufacturers already add their own supplementary
    keys (such as Acer for its notebooks)... I see really no excuse why large
    software providers do not provide such basic extension to correctly support
    French, as required by all official French normative and consultative
    organisations (Délégation à la langue française, Académie Française, ...),
    even in absence of an AFNOR standard.

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