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Such a key is sometimes referred to as a dead key, as it produces no output of its own but modifies the output of the key pressed after it.In modern Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems, the keyboard layouts US International and UK International feature dead keys that allow one to type Latin letters with the acute, grave, circumflex, diæresis, tilde, and cedilla found in Western European languages (specifically, those combinations found in the ISO Latin-1 character set) directly: ¨ e gives ë, ~ o gives õ, etc.Modern computer technology was developed mostly in English-speaking countries, so data formats, keyboard layouts, etc.were developed with a bias favoring English, a language with an alphabet without diacritical marks.In the Wali language of Ghana, for example, an apostrophe indicates a change of vowel quality, but occurs at the beginning of the word, as in the dialects ’Bulengee and ’Dolimi.Because of vowel harmony, all vowels in a word are affected, so the scope of the diacritic is the entire word.
In orthography and collation, a letter modified by a diacritic may be treated either as a new, distinct letter or as a letter–diacritic combination.
Different languages use different rules to put diacritic characters in alphabetical order.
French treats letters with diacritical marks the same as the underlying letter for purposes of ordering and dictionaries.
Diacritic is primarily an adjective, though sometimes used as a noun, whereas diacritical is only ever an adjective.
Some diacritical marks, such as the acute ( ´ ) and grave ( ` ), are often called accents.
Languages that treat accented letters as variants of the underlying letter usually alphabetize words with such symbols immediately after similar unmarked words. in phone books or in author catalogues in libraries), umlauts are often treated as combinations of the vowel with a suffixed e; Austrian phone books now treat characters with umlauts as separate letters (immediately following the underlying vowel).