Saturday, May 17, 2014

Accents and other Special Characters
As you have probably noticed, Spanish implements diacritical marks (accents) from time to time.  Written accents ALWAYS fall on a vowel.  The stress of the pronunciation of the word falls where the accent lies. 
Accents are occasionally located over vowels that are part of a diphthong.  If this occurs, then the diphthong pronunciation is broken up and each vocal is sounded out.  Note the following: 

·         el río (pronounced  "ree YOH")
·         el baúl (pronounced "bah OOL" )

Another character that appears regularly in Spanish is the tilde, on the letter ñ.  This letter, pronounced , is found in words such as mañana (tomorrow, morning), and año (year). 

You’ll also rarely encounter the umlaut, which is used to sound out the “ü” when it appears after a “q” or “g”.  Without the umlaut, the “u” is silent.  One word you’ll find with an umlaut is bilingüe (pronounced ).
In exclamation sentences, you’ll find the upside down exclamation point at the beginning of the sentence:

¡Hace buen tiempo!  What great weather! (Literally, It makes good weather!)

With interrogative sentences, you’ll find the upside down question mark:

¿Qué quieres?  What do you want?

Other grammar symbols are the “«” and the “»” quotation marks that take the place of the English quote marks, “ ”.
Here is a chart that shows you all of the ALT codes so you can create them on your computer:
 
Symbol
ALT Code
Á
0193
É
0201
Í
0205
Ó
0211
Ú
0218
Ñ
0209
Ü
0220
á
0225
é
0233
í
0237
ó
0243
ú
0250
ñ
0241
ü
0252
¿
0191
¡
0161
«
0171
»
0187


0128


ALT codes can be created by pressing and holding the ALT button while typing in the corresponding number pad keys, then releasing the ALT button.  Since all keyboards are different, you might have to research your own computer’s owner manual for proper functioning of the ALT codes.  

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