Teaching and Learning with Technology

Computing With Accents and Foreign Scripts

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Old English

For other related languages see: Icelandic/Old Norse | Dutch/Frisian | Germanic Languages | Celtic Languages

Thanks to Maurice Reed for his technical and testing assistance.

This Page

  1. Old English Orthography
  2. Browser and Font Recommendations
  3. Windows Accent Codes
    1. Windows International Keyboard
    2. Windows Word Numeric ALT Codes
    3. Windows Character Map (Platform Tab)
  4. Macintosh OS X Extended Keyboard Codes
  5. HTML Accent Codes and Language Codes
    1. Language Codes - ang (Old English), enm (Middle English), sco (Scots/Lallans)
  6. Runic Script Information New Page

Old English Orthography

Old English and Unicode

Old English, like most medieval languages, shows a wide range of diacritic marks and unusual characters, not all of which may be represented in Unicode. However, most of the more commonly encountered issues such as long ash, wynn can be displayed within Unicode.

Scots/Lallans

The language of Scottish poets like Robert Burns (Auld Lang Syne) is called Scots or Lallans. It is a descendant of Old English and a close relative of Modern English. Scots preserves some archaic features of Old English including some consonants "ch" /x/ and some pre vowel shift pronunciations.

Note: Modern Scots uses English spelling, but older texts may use Old English letters.

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Browser and Font Recommendations

Recommended Browsers

Click link in list to view configuration instructions. You will be asked to match a script with a font.

Note on Internet Explorer: Users who prefer Internet Explorer for Windows should set the Latin font to Arial Unicode MS. Otherwise, some characters may not be displayed properly.

Note on System 9: Because Unicode support is incomplete in System 9, it may be beneficial to upgrade to OS X if you need to work with Unicode.

Recommended Fonts

Third Party Fonts

The following fonts are commonly recommended, but may not include all manuscript abbreviations.

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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.

Note: Other characters like wynn, yogh, and the long vowels must be inserted with the Character Map utility. or Word Numeric ALT codes.

International Keyboard Codes
Character Code
æ, Æ RightAlt+Z, Shift+RightAlt+Z  (You must use the Alt key on the right)
ð,Ð RightAlt+D, Shift+RightAlt+D
þ, Þ RightAlt+T, Shift+RightAlt+T

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Windows Word Numeric ALT Codes

If you are using a recent version of Microsoft Word (2003/2007/2010), 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

Word 2003+ ALT Codes

Long Vowels Caps
Vwl ALT Code
Ā ALT+0256
Cap long A
Ē ALT+0274
Cap long E
Ī ALT+0298
Cap long I
Ō ALT+0332
Cap long O
Ū ALT+0362
Cap long U
Ȳ ALT+0562
Cap long Y
Æ ALT+0198
Cap short ash
Ǣ ALT+0482
Cap long ash
Long Vowels Lower
Vwl ALT Code
ā ALT+0257
Lower long A
ē ALT+0275
Lower long E
ī ALT+0299
Lower long I
ō ALT+0333
Lower long O
ū ALT+0363
Lower long U
ȳ ALT+0563
Lower long Y
æ ALT+0230
Lower short ash
ǣ ALT+0483
Lower long ash
Consonants
Cns ALT Code
Ð ALT+0208
Cap eth
ð ALT+0240
Lower eth
Þ ALT+0222
Cap Thorn
þ ALT+0254
Lower Thorn
Ƿ ALT+0503
Cap Wynn
ƿ ALT+0447
Lower Wynn
Ȝ ALT+0540
Cap Yogh
ȝ ALT+0541
Lower Yogh
Ċ ALT+0266
Cap C Dot
ċ ALT+0267
Lower C Dot
Ġ ALT+0288
Cap G Dot
ġ ALT+0289
Lower G Dot
 

 

Manuscript Abbreviations

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

Manuscript Conventions
  Character Code
ALT+8266
Amperagus/Tironian ET
ALT+42853
Thorn with slash

 

Acute Accent Codes

In scome cases, the acute accent may be used to mark a long vowel. These codes work in most programs, except for the codes for ǽ.

Long Vowel
Vwl ALT Code
Á ALT+0193
É ALT+0201
Í ALT+0205
Ó ALT+0211
Ú ALT+0218
Ý ALT+0221
Ǽ ALT+0508
Cap ash acute
Lower Vowels
Vwl ALT Code
á ALT+0225
é ALT+0233
í ALT+0237
ó ALT+0243
ú ALT+0250
ý ALT+0253
ǽ ALT+0509
Lower ash acute
 

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Macintosh OS X Extended Keyboard Accent Codes

Apple has provided additional keyboards which allow you to enter Old English characters via Unicode. If you are working with a Unicode aware application you can use one of several keyboards to input the characters.

For vowels, thorns, eths and superscript dots

You can switch to or the U.S. Extended keyboard and use these additional accent codes. Another option is to insert them via the Character Viewer/Palette.

Mac Extended Accent Codes
Character Name Character Code
Ash æ, Æ

Option+' (singequote) = lowercase aesc
Shift+Option+' = capital aesc

Thorn þ,Þ

Option+T = lowercase thorn
Shift+Option+T = capital thorn

Eth ð,Ð

Option+D = lowercase eth
Shift+Option+D = capital thorn

Macron (Long Vowel) ǣ

Option+A, V
For instance ǣ (long ash), would be Option+A, then Option+'

Acute (Long Vowel Alt) ǽ

Option+E, V
For instance ǽ (long ash), would be Option+E, then Option+'

Superscript Dot ċ,ġ

Option+W,C
For instance ġ (lower g dot), would be Option+W, then G
Ġ (cap g dot), would be Option+W, then Shift+G

 

Other Characters

You can switch to the Unicode Hex Input keyboard and use these Option numeric codes. Once entered, these letters can be cut and pasted as needed. Another option is to insert them via the Character Viewer/Palette.

Note: You may need to download a comprehensive font to view manuscript conventions such as abbreviations amperagus (⁊) and slashed thorn (ꝥ).

Additional Option Codes
Sym Option Code
Ƿ Option+01F7
Cap Wynn
ƿ Option+01BF
Lower Wynn
Ȝ Option+021C
Cap Yogh
ȝ Option+021D
Lower Yogh
Option+204A
Amperagus/Tironian ET
Option+A765
Thorn with slash

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HTML Accent Codes

Encoding and Language Codes

Whenever you develop a Web site you need to make sure the proper encoding is specified in the header tags. Language tags are also suggested so that search engines and screen readers parse the language of a page.

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

The HTML Entity Codes

Use these codes to input accented letters in HTML. For instance, if you want to type ġeþwǣre, you would type ġeþǣre. These numbers are also used with the Word Numeric ALT codes listed above.

NOTE: Your page should declare utf-8 encoding or else the characters may not display in older browsers. Because these are Unicode characters, the formatting may not exactly match that of the surrounding text depending on the browser.

HTML Entity Codes for Old English

Capital Vowels
Vwl Entity Code
Ā Ā
Capital Long A
Ē Ē
Capital Long E
Ī Ī
Capital Long I
Ō Ō
Capital Long O
Ū Ū
Capital Long U
Ȳ Ȳ
Cap long Y
Æ Æ(198)
Cap short ash
Ǣ Ǣ
Cap long ash
Lower Vowels
Vwl Entity Code
ā ā
Lower long A
ē ē
Lower long E
ī ī
Lower long I
ō ō
Lower long O
ū ū
Lower long U
ȳ ȳ
Lower long Y
æ æ(230)
Lower short ash
ǣ ǣ
Lower long ash
Consonants
Cns Entity Code
Ð Ð (208)
Cap eth
ð ð (240)
Lower eth
Þ Þ (222)
Cap thorn
þ þ (254)
Lower thorn
Ƿ Ƿ
Cap Wynn
ƿ ƿ
Lower Wynn
Ȝ &#540
Cap Yogh
ȝ ȝ
Lower Yogh
Ċ Ċ
Cap C Dot
ċ ċ
Lower C Dot
Ġ Ġ
Cap G Dot
ġ ġ
Lower G Dot
 

Manuscript Abbreviations

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

Manuscript Conventions
Sym Entity Code
⁊
Amperagus/Tironian ET
ꝥ
Thorn with slash

PDF and Image Files

In some cases, your best options may be to use PDF files or image files. See the Web Development Tips section for more details.

Acute Accents

In scome cases, the acute accent may be used to mark a long vowel. The appropriate codes are shown below. Note that numbers in parentheses correspond to the escape code. For instance capital A acute (Á) can be encoded as either Á or Á.

HTML Entity Codes for Acute Accents

Capital Vowels
Vwl Entity Code
Á Á (193)
É É (201)
Í Í (205)
Ó Ó (211)
Ú Ú (218)
Ý Ý (221)
Ǽ Ǽ
Capital Ash
Lower Vowel
Vwl Entity Code
á á (225)
é é (233)
í í(237)
ó ó (243)
ú ú (250)
ý ý (253)
ǽ ǽ
Lower Ash

 

 

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

<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=??? ">
...
<head>

Declare Unicode

<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8 ">
...
<head>

XHTML

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

<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
...
<head>

No Encoding Declared

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

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.

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Links

Freeware Fonts

Both Microsoft and Apple provide fonts with Old English support, but they are sans-serif fonts. These fonts include the characters and are serif fonts, which tend to be more readable for medieval languages.

Additional Information

Last Modified: Tuesday, 04-Jun-2013 12:40:02 EDT