Re: French accented letters (was: Re: Monetary decimal separators)

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Fri Sep 23 2005 - 16:44:30 CDT

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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Antoine Leca" <>
    To: "Unicode Mailing List" <>
    Sent: Friday, September 23, 2005 2:25 PM
    Subject: Re: French accented letters (was: Re: Monetary decimal separators)

    > On Thursday, September 22nd, 2005 18:19Z Philippe Verdy wrote:
    >> On Tue, 20 Sep 2005, Antoine Leca wrote:
    >>> A widely different yet possible explanation is that on the 437
    >>> codepage (as on any PC screen on boot), the only French
    >>> "extended" capitals were Æ, Ü and É; the Æ digraph and Ü
    >>> are very uncommon, so it may explain also the rule.
    >> You forget other extended capital letters needed for French:
    > No. But you forgot to read what I wrote.
    > I acknowledge I forgot Ç. I apologize for that, I should have known
    > better.
    > It does not change the point, since it is also uncommon.
    >> - 'Â', 'Ê', 'Î', 'Ô', 'Û' : all of them can be composed with the
    >> standard French keyboard,
    > Just try under codepage 437 (a standard PC, using plain basic DOS;
    > _without_
    > DISPLAY.SYS and the bloated magic inserted by the latter versions of
    > MS-DOS,
    > just the KEYBFR or KEYB FR driver.)
    > Then you can come back to comment about it.

    It does not matter. France never uses that codepage 437. The good one is 850
    since very long. The keyboard driver is built to work with codepage 850,
    even if some characters don't work with codepage 437.

    >> - 'Ä', 'Ë', 'Ï', 'Ö', 'Ÿ', in addition to 'Ü' already listed by you,
    > I am not aware that Ä or Ö are used in "official" French (considering your
    > words about Ñ). And about Ÿ, well your mileage may vary a lot here, there
    > are a lot of keyboard layouts which do not allow you to type it.

    They are (note that this requires all-caps style), but like Ÿ, they are
    extremely rare, and happen in proper names (used in North-Eastern France for
    names with German or Flemish origin).

    >> - 'Ç' : can't be composed with any widely available driver,
    > Give a try to Option and the ç key. ;-)

    There's no Option key on the PC. There are:
    - an Alt key, but Alt+ç is interpreted in fact as Alt+9 function key in menu
    - an AltGr key, but AltGr+9 gives the ASCII circumflex ^
    - a Ctrl key, but Ctrl+ç is interpreted as Ctrl+^
    - Ctrl+Alt keys together must be are acting the same as AltGr, for keyboards
    that don't have an AltGr key, but only two Alt keys. This also means that
    keystrokes AltGr+Ctrl are unusable too, as they will perform the same as
    Alt+Ctrl, i.e. like AltGr alone.
    - the Fn key exists on some notebook keyboards, but is only used to allow
    extending a keyboard with less keys than the standard 102 keys (most
    notebooks don't have numeric keypad), or to drive hardware-related features
    (used with a key on the first row, including the [ç9^] one) and there's no
    standard for its allocation and it's not programmable with a portable way.

    Control keys, but Control+ç gives ins
    Sorry but standard Windows drivers don't have that key, and PC keyboards are
    much more common than Mac, and most Linux installations are on PCs as well.
    Most Unix platforms (Solaris, AiX, ...) also use PC keyboards without that

    >> but 'ç' can be composed with a simple single keystroke
    > And the point is?

    The point is that the lowercase is easily accessible, but not the uppercase

    >> - 'æ' and 'Æ' digraph ligatures are part of French, but used only for
    >> pedantic/scientific Latin words. They are not supported by standard
    >> drivers,
    >> - 'œ' and 'Œ' digraph ligatures are part of the normal and common
    >> French orthography, but not composable in any widely available
    >> driver.
    > Just press Option A (with the shift key if you want the uppercase). It is
    > even logical!
    > Again, the most obvious way works: Option and O, along with the shift key
    > if
    > you want uppercase.

    Also I was not discussing the less common Mac keyboard.

    >> Conclusion: ISO-8859-15 and Windows 1252 both have all the necessary
    >> characters for French.
    > Which have absolutely nothing to do with my original point you quoted.
    > Congratulations and many thanks for the lesson^H^H^H^H^H^Hdissertation.

    The original discussion is a topic that I created first before your reply (I
    created a separate thread a couple of weeks ago which was forgotten by
    others, and new threads have been recreated several days after and changed
    again after), regarding the lack of support of french letters on PC
    keyboards. I did not discuss about Mac keyboards...

    >> There's no reason to not map the only two missing (and very frequent)
    >> French capital letters 'É', 'Ç' on the French keyboard. Optionally a
    >> French keyboard should support 'œ'/'Œ', and could (possibly) support
    >> 'æ'/'Æ' but there's much less need.
    > I agree about Æ, but saying there is use for Ç and less need for œ is...

    I gave here priorities. My point was to include at least the first two ones
    because they are required by French orthography. The ligatures are not
    mandatory in French, just recommanded.

    > funny to say the least. LOL.

    Remove your LOL, as it is quite insulting. I was clear and serious in my
    message and not trying to be irrespectuous with anyone.

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