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Computing With Accents and Foreign Scripts

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Irish and Old Irish

See Also: Other Celtic Languages | Germanic Languages

Almost all applications support Modern Irish accents. Guidelines for typing and using accents are given below.

  1. About the Language
  2. Modern Irish Recommended Browsers and Fonts
  3. Old Irish Dotted Letters and Amperagus
  4. Accent Codes
    1. Windows Alt Codes
    2. Windows International Keyboard
    3. Macintosh Accent Codes
  5. Irish or International Keyboards (New Page)
  6. HTML Accent Codes
    1. Language Code: ga (Irish), sga (Old Irish/Sean Gaeilge), mga (Middle Irish)
  7. Ogham Script Information New Page
  8. Links

About Irish

About Irish

Irish is a Goedelic Celtic language spoken in several areas of Ireland and is closely related to Scottish Gaelic and more distantly related to Welsh, Breton and Cornish. In fact, many words in Irish and Scottish Gaelic are identical, but spelled with differently angled accents.

Note on Term "Gaelic"

Historically, the name "Gaelic" refers to the Celtic languages spoken in Ireland and Highland Scotland. Some sources refer to Irish as "Gaelic", but some speakers find that term objectionable in modern contexts. The term Irish or Modern Irish is the least controversial term to use, although the native language name Gaeilge can able be used.

Irish Links

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Modern Irish Recommended Browsers and Fonts

Recommended Browsers

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.

Unicode Fonts

Modern versions of many fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, Tahoman Times CE (Mac OS X) or Palatino (Mac OS X) are Unicode fonts and contain the letters needed for this language. it is recommended you transistion to the newer Unicode fonts whenever possible.

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Old Irish Dotted Letters, Amperagus and Insular Character Forms

Dotted Letters

Old Irish spelling uses a series of dotted letters for lenited consonants instead of modern letter+h (e.g. ṡ, ḟ for sh,fh). The most commonly used dotted letters in Old Irish grammars and primers is and, although the use of other dotted letters is also attested in some older Irish language signs. The letters ṡ,ḟ,ḃ,ḋ,ġ,ṗ,ṫ,ċ,ṁ can always be substituted with sh,fh,bd,dh,gh,ph,th,ch,mh (and ṙ,ṅ can be replaced with r,n).

Fonts for Dotted Letters

Modern versions of many fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, Palatino, Cambria and others include dotted letters. However many decorative fonts may be missing these characters

Note: Information on generating dotted letters in different platforms and tools is included below under each platform and tool where available.

Ameragus and Insular Characters

A commonly seen Old Irish abbreviation is the amperagus, to represent the word "and". In form it resembles the number 7, but does have its own code point in Unicode ( or "7" - U+204A). Finally, the insular letter forms for d,g or Ꝺ,ᵹ and others are encoded in Unicode as well.

Fonts for Ameragus and Insular Character Forms

Although these characters are in the Unicode standard, they are not present in many fonts. The list below includes fonts which do have these characters.

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Windows Alt Codes

In Windows, combinations of the ALT key plus a numeric code can be used to type a non-English character (accented letter or punctuation symbol) in any Windows application. More detailed instructions about typing accents with ALT keys are available.  Additional options for entering accents in Windows are also listed in the Accents section of this Web site.

Alt Codes for typing Modern Irish characters:

Capital Vowels
Vwl ALT Code
Á ALT+0193
É ALT+0201
Í ALT+0205
Ó ALT+0211
Ú ALT+0218
Lower Vowels
Vwl ALT Code
á ALT+0225
é ALT+0233
í ALT+0237
ó ALT+0243
ú ALT+0250
Sym ALT Code
£ ALT+0163

Old Irish Dotted Letters Microsoft Numeric ALT Codes

If you are using a recent version of Microsoft Word (2003+), you can use the  following ALT key plus a numeric code can be used to type a Latin character (accented letter or punctuation symbol) in any Windows application.

Notes on the Codes

Some recommended fonts include Arial Unicode MS (Win), TITUS Cyberbit, Junicode and Gentium

Old Irish Dotted Letters
Word ALT Codes
Let ALT Code + Description
s-dot (dot above)
ġ ALT+289
ċ ALT+267

Amperagus and Insular Letter Forms

Below are codes for manuscript abbreviations amperagus (⁊) and insular letter forms, but you probably will need to download a comprehensive font to view them.

Note: Not all letters have a separate "Insular" counterpart.

ALT Codes for Insular Letters
Sym ALT Code + Description
Amperagus /Tironian ET
Cap Insular D
Lower Insular D
  ᷘ  ALT+7640
Combining Lower Insular D
Cap Insular F
Lower Insular F
Lower Insular G
Cap Insular G
Cap Turned Insular G
Lower Turned Insular G
Cap Insular R
Lower Insular R
Cap Insular S
Lower Insular S
Cap Insular T
Lower Insular T

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Windows International Keyboard Codes

In order to use these codes you must activate the international keyboard. Instructions are listed in the Keyboards section of this Web site.

International Keyboard Codes
Character Code
Acute Accent

('+V) - Type apostrophe (singe quote), then the vowel.

£ Control+RightAlt+4


Note: There is no method to input Old Irish dotted letters in the International Keyboard. It is recommended that the Character Map be used instead.

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Macintosh Accent Codes

Here are the basic codes for Modern Irish accents in Irish.

Mac Option Codes
Character Option Code
Acute Accent

Type Option+E, then the vowel. For instance, to type á hold down Option+E, then type lowercase A. To type Á, hold down Option+E, then type capital A.



Shift+Option+2 (may not work for older System 9 fonts)

Dot Above

First activate Extended Keyboard Accent Codes
Type Option+W, then the letter (will not work for all fonts)

Old Irish And Sign (Trionian Et) and Insular

To use the option codes below, you must activate and switch to the Unicode Hex Input Keyboard. Note that not all letters have a separate "Insular" counterpart.

Note: This character may not be visiable on a Windows machine unless a user installs a special font such as the ones listed above.

Option Codes for Insular Letters
Sym Option Code + Description
Amperagus /Tironian ET
Cap Insular D
Lower Insular D
  ᷘ  Option+1DD8
Combining Lower Insular D
Cap Insular F
Lower Insular F
Lower Insular G
Cap Insular G
Cap Turned Insular G
Lower Turned Insular G
Cap Insular R
Lower Insular R
Cap Insular S
Lower Insular S
Cap Insular T
Lower Insular T

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HTML Accent Codes

Irish Encoding and Language Tags

These are the codes which allow browsers and screen readers to process data as the appropriate language. All letters in codes are lower case.

See Using Encoding and Language Codes for more information on the meaning and implementation of these codes.

HTML Entity Codes

Use these codes to input accented letters in HTML. For instance, if you want to type fáilte you would type fáilte.

The numbers in parentheses are the numeric codes assigned in Unicode encoding. For instance, because á is number 225, fáilteor can also be used to input fáilte. These numbers are also used with the Windows Alt codes listed above.

Note on Old Irish Dotted Letters

The most commonly used dotted letters in Old Irish grammars and primers is and, although the use of other dotted letters is also attested in some older Irish language signs. The letters ṡ,ḟ,ḃ,ḋ,ġ,ṗ,ṫ,ċ,ṁ can always be substituted with sh,fh,bd,dh,gh,ph,th,ch,mh (and ṙ,ṅ can be replaced with r,n).

HTML Entity Codes for Modern Irish Accented Vowels and Characters:

Capital Vowels
Vwl Code+Desc
Á Á (193)
É É (201)
Í Í (205)
Ó Ó (211)
Ú Ú (218)
Lower Vowels
Vwl Code+Desc
á á (225)
é é (233)
í í(237)
ó ó (243)
ú ú (250)
Sym Code+Desc
£ £ (163)

HTML Entity Codes for Old Irish characters

Dotted Letters
Let Code + Desc
ṡ s-dot (dot above)
ḟ f-dot
ḃ b-dot
ḋ d-dot
ġ ġ g-dot
ṗ p-dot
ṫ t-dot
ċ ċ c-dot
ṁ m-dot
ṙ r-dot
ṅ n-dot
⁊ Amperagus
Insular Letters
Sym Code+Desc
Amperagus /Tironian ET
Cap Insular D
Lower Insular D
  ᷘ  ᷘ
Combining Lower Insular D
Cap Insular F
Lower Insular F
Lower Insular G
Cap Insular G
Cap Turned Insular G
Lower Turned Insular G
Cap Insular R
Lower Insular R
Cap Insular S
Lower Insular S
Cap Insular T
Lower Insular T

Using Encoding and Language Codes

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=??? ">

Declare Unicode

<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" />

No Encoding Declared

If no encoding is declared, then the browser uses the default setting, which in the U.S. is typically Latin-1. Some display errors may occur.

Language Tags

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.

Note: Unicode is especially recommended if you plan to include Old Irish dotted letters.

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Irish Links


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Last Modified: Tuesday, 04-Jun-2013 12:39:58 EDT