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Thread: The Brontės' inconvenient surname

  1. #1
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    The Brontės' inconvenient surname

    I think I read it was not the Brontė sisters themselves who started putting that diaeresis symbol over the last letter of their surname. It was their father who started that affectation. I think originally his surname was something unpronounceable in Irish, before it was anglicised to Brunty. That was not classy enough for Patrick, so he changed it to Brontė. ė in a word usually means you should pronounce the letter as a separate syllable, so it's a sign that the last e is not silent. It is still breaking the rules a bit, because it usually comes after another vowel in French or French names, such as poėlle, Zoė and Noėl. What Patrick Brontė maybe did not realise, was that it would be difficult to type 'ė' on a British keyboard (and I expect on other English speaking countries' keyboards). In the past, I have either had to look up how to compose the letter, which I can never remember how to do, or had to copy and paste the letter from Word or a Windows utility. But now, I have found out how to map different letters and symbols to my keyboard, so I can type ėėėėėėėėėėėėėėėėėėėėėėėėėėėėėė as easy as that.

    Similarly, I have often found it inconvenient not having easy access to the ° symbol, as it makes typing temperatures difficult. I have often wondered why there was no ° symbol, because the ~ symbol is not very useful, and then there are those odd symbols on the key in the top left hand corner, which I didn't even know what they are. Apparently one is the French grave accent, and the other is the not sign, which I think is used in Boolean logic.

    However, I have only worked out how to map letters and symbols on my keyboard on Linux.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

  2. #2
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
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    Since I intend to move to Linux, I have begun using Libre Office and Thunderbird. It is quite a challenge to produce ° or — without resorting to Windows Special Characters through the Alt key, but I am getting there.

    For the future, I have just researched inserting special characters throughout Linux. Like so much in Linux, understanding the insertion process ([Left Ctrl] + [Shift] + [U] hex_code) was time consuming but one gets there in the end.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Apart from the way I did it, there are at least two other ways of typing the ė character. There's the way you did it:
    <Left Ctrl><Shift>ueb

    and there is
    <Shift><Right-Ctrl>"e

    The second one is probably easiest to remember.

    If you want to map the symbol on your keyboard and you are using Linux, open a terminal and then carry out these instructions:

    1) cd /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols
    2) edit the gb file (sudo nano gb)
    3) Look for the entries under xkb_symbols "basic" {
    4) Find the line: key <TLDE> { [ grave, notsign, bar, bar] };
    5) Insert the line: key <AD03 { [ e, E, ediaeresis, eacute]}; underneath
    6) Save the file and exit
    7) Reboot

    Then you can type ė by pressing the Alt Gr key at the same time as e.
    If you want to do it that way, it might be better to make a copy of the file you are going to edit in case you screw up.
    As you are an Ozzie, I do not know which keyboard file you use. For me it is gb, for you it might be something else.
    I use nano as my linux file editor, but you might not have nano installed on your machine, or you may prefer to use another editor.

    This has actually been quite useful. I post on a techie forum and in the past I have been frustrated by not being able to type in certain symbols and superscripts. I now know two simple ways of writing superscripts: <Alr Gr>+<number>, ², ³ or <Shift><Right-Ctrl>^<number> ⁵, ⁶
    However, I still have not worked out how to do subscripts.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    Those of us who have macs have a separate Ė ė to use. Its on the top right hand corner. It has all the variations and I often use it.

  5. #5
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I hate Mac users. They're so smug. Well, I bet your Mac does not have a ツ key.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    No idea. Never needed it.

  7. #7
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev67 View Post
    Apart from the way I did it, there are at least two other ways of typing the ė character...
    Fascinating. Thank you.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

  8. #8
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I am not sure I would recommend editing your symbols file. I tried it yesterday and corrupted it, which meant my PC reverted to a standard American keyboard. The problem was I thought I needed the sterling symbol, £, to write my computer password, which I needed in order to correct the file. It turned out I didn't, which is just as well; I just got the idea stuck in my head. Another thing I did was copy the ir file to the gb file instead of the ie file. The ie file is the Irish keyboard symbols, which, apart from extra Ogham characters and Irish vowels with acute accents and what-not, has a sterling symbol in the same place as a British keyboard. The ir file, on the other hand, contains Iranian keyboard characters. Luckily I was able to find the setxkbmap ie command by pressing the up arrow to change the keyboard back to Irish. This was about three o'clock in the morning
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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