Czech (Czech Republic) and Slovak (Slovakia) are two closely related Slavic languages with similar spelling systems.
Although Central European languages like Czech, Slovak, Romanian, Polish and Hungarian are written in the Roman alphabet, these languages include characters not commonly found in Western European languages like Spanish and French. These are encoded as Unicode, Latin-2 (ISO-8859-2) or "Central European" and require special font and keyboard support separate from Western European languages.
In order to integrate foreign scripts into your computer, you must set up "keyboard" utilities in your operating system. Keyboards will allow you to switch between typing English and other languages in word processors and Web tools. This process will also make sure the correct fonts are installed are availble for Windows or Macintosh.
As of Spring 2005, the international word processor Global Writer is available in the Student Computing Labs. This allows users to easily switch keyboards, including phonetic keyboards which mimic a QWERTY keyboard.
CLC Student Computing Labs: To open Global Writer, go to the Start » Internatinal Language Support » Unitype Global Writer.
Global Writer is available from Unitype for personal purchace.
Microsoft provides keyboard utilities for Central European languages which allow you to add extra characters.
See Detailed Instructions for more detailed instructions with screen capture images.
To see where the critical keys are, go to the Microsoft Keyboard Layouts Page.
Follow the instructions for Activating Macintosh Keyboards to activate and switch Macintosh keyboards. You need to have the Central European items installed. If they are not available on your system, you should reinstall them from a System CD.
Note: Use these Central European keyboards in OS X if you are concerned about backwards compatibility with older documents.
The extended keyboard must be activated in the International System Preferences. Unlike the U.S. standard keyboard, these accent codes work for any letter, not just selected vowels.
Note on Hacheck: The keyboard also converts hacheks after L,D to Ľ and ď with an "apostophe".
Note on Circumflex: Use Option+6 instead of Option+I for circumflex acents.
|Hachek Caron||š,Š||Option+V, X|
Example 1: To input the lower case ý (y-acute) hold down the Option key, then the E key. Release both keys then type lowercase y.
Example 2: To input the capital Ý, hold down the Option key, then the E key. Release all three keys then type capital Y.
A third-party Slovak keyboard designed for the U.S. audience is available from Leslie Turek. All Slovak letters are available via option keys.
Please note which fonts are needed for each platform before viewing instructions to configure your browsers in the Preferences or Tools menu. Most browsers are recommended, but older browsers like Netscape 4.7 may need more adjustments.
All modern browsers support this script. Click link in list to view configuration instructions. In some cases, you will be asked to match a script with a font.
NOTE: The following test Web sites were selected randomly. They are in no way endorsed or critiqued by Penn State.
Test Web Site - www.osobnosti.cz (Celebrity Bios)
If you have your browser configured correctly, the Web sites above should display Czech or Slovak letters.
Manually Switch Encoding
If you see some unusual letters instead of the appropriate Central European letters, you will need to manually switch from Western encoding to one of the Central European encodings or Unicode under the View menu of your browser.
These are the codes which allow browsers and screen readers to process data as the appropriate language. All letters in codes are lower case. If you are developing a new Web page, Unicode is recommended since the page can also support characters from Western European and Cyrillic languages.
See Using Encoding and Language Codes for more information on the meaning and implementation of these codes.
One option is to use Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression or other Web editor and change the keyboard to the correct script. This will allow you to type content in directly with the appropriate script. However, it is important to verify that the correct encoding is specified in the Web page header.
Another option is to compose the basic text in an international or foreign language text editor or word processor and export the content as an HTML or text file with the appropriate encoding. This file could be opened in another HTML editor such as Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression, and edited for formatting.
For Web tools such as Blogs at Penn State, Facebook, Twitter, del.icio.us, Flicker, and others, users can typically change the keyboard and input text. In most cases, this content will be encoded as Unicode.
Computers process text by assuming a certain encoding or a system of matching electronic data with visual text characters. Whenever you develop a Web site you need to make sure the proper encoding is specified in the header tags; otherwise the browser may default to U.S. settings and not display the text properly.
To declare an encoding, insert or inspect the following meta-tag at the top of your HTML file, then replace "???" with one of the encoding codes listed above. If you are not sure, use utf-8 as the encoding.
Generic Encoding Template
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=??? ">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8 ">
The final close slash must be included after the final quote mark in the encoding header tag if you are using XHTML
Declare Unicode in XHTML
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
If no encoding is declared, then the browser uses the default setting, which in the U.S. is typically Latin-1. In that case many Unicode characters could be displayed incorrectly. Also, older browsers such as Netscape 4.7 may not be able to process the entity codes correctly without the "utf-8" declaration.
Language tags are also suggested so that search engines and screen readers parse the language of a page. These are metadata tags which indicate the language of a page, not devices to trigger translation. Visit the Language Tag page to view information on where to insert it.
Use these codes to input accented letters in HTML for short words and phrases. For instance, if you want to type čtrnáct you would type čtrnáct.
Be sure the appropriate Encodings and Language Tags are used.
NOTE: Because these are Unicode characters, the formatting may not exactly match that
of the surrounding text depending on the browser.
Note on Hacheck Caron: The hacheck mark for L,D is visually similar to an apostrophe.
Capital A umlaut
Lower A umlaut
Capital E hachek
Capital O circumflex
Lower O circumflex
Capital L acute
Capital R acute
Capital C hachek
Lower C hachek
Capital D hachek
Lower D hachek
Capital L hachek
Capital N hachek
Capital R hachek
Capital S hachek
Capital T hachek
Lower T hachek (apos)
Capital Z hachek
Many modern texts use American style quotes, but if you wish to include European style quote marks, here are the codes. Note that these codes may not work in older browsers.
|Sym||HTMl Entity Code|
|«||« (left angle)|
|»||» (right angle)||‹||‹ (left single angle)|
|›||› (right single angle)||„||„(bottom quote)||‚||‚(single bottom quote)||“||“(left curly quote)||‘||‘(left single curly quote)||”||”(right curly quote)||’||’(right single curly quote)||–||– (en dash)|
|—||— (em dash)|
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This site uses Unicode to display non-English characters. This site is best viewed in the most recent versions of your browser.
Unicode character names and hexadecimal entity codes are taken from the public Unicode Character Charts.
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Last Modified: Tuesday, 04-Jun-2013 12:39:40 EDT