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§5.10. Accented letters

Inform 7 is infused by the English language, so it's a challenge using it to write a work of IF in any other language. (With that said, extensions do exist which have made considerable progress on this problem: nil desperandum.) But even a book in English contains occasional quotations or words borrowed from other tongues, so we are going to need more than plain A to Z.

The world has a bewildering range of letters, accents, diacritics, markers and signs. Inform tries to support the widest range possible, but the works of IF produced by Inform are programs which then have to be run on a (virtual) computer whose abilities are more constrained: few players will have an Ethiopian font installed, after all. So a degree of caution is called for.

(a) Definitely safe to use. Inform's highest level of support is for the letters found on a typical English typewriter keyboard, including both the $ and £ signs (but not the Yen or Euro symbols ¥ and €), and in addition the following:

ä, á, à, ã, å, â and Ä, Á, À, Ã, Å, Â
ë, é, è, ê and Ë, É, È, Ê
ï, í, ì, î and Ï, Í, Ì, Î
ö, ó, ò, õ, ø, ô and Ö, Ó, Ò, Õ, Ø, Ô
ü, ú, ù, û and Ü, Ú, Ù, Û
ÿ, ý and Ý (but not Ÿ)
ñ and Ñ
ç and Ç
æ and Æ (but not œ or Œ)
¡, ¿

These characters can be typed directly into the Source panel, and can be used outside quotation marks: we can call a room the Église, for instance.

(b) Characters which can safely be used, but will be simplified. As it reads in the text, Inform silently converts all kinds of dash (en-rules, em-rules, etc.) to simple hyphens; converts the multiplication symbol to a lower case "x"; converts all kinds of space other than tabs (em-spaces, non-breaking spaces, etc.) to simple spaces, and all kinds of quotation marks to "straight" (non-smart) marks.

(c) Characters which can be used provided they are in quoted text (other than boxed quotations), and which will probably but not certainly be visible to the player. All other Latin letter-forms, including the œ ligature, East European forms such as ő, ş and ž, and Portuguese forms such as ũ; the Greek and Cyrillic alphabets, with their associated variants and accents; and the principal currency symbols, such as € and ¥. Such characters are not legal in unquoted text: so we could write

The Churchyard is a room. The printed name of the Churchyard is "Łodz Churchyard".

but not

Łodz Churchyard is a room.

Moreover, the player is not allowed to type these characters in commands during play: or rather, they will not be recognised if he does. They are for printing only.

(d) Characters which might work in quoted text, or might not. The Arabic and Hebrew alphabets are fairly likely to be available; miscellaneous symbols are sometimes legible to the player, sometimes not. Other alphabets are chancier still. (If a work of IF depends on these being visible, it may be necessary to instruct players to use specific interpreters, or to provide a way for the player to test that all will be well.)

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