Norwegian letters, English keyboard
Å, Ø, and Æ make Norwegian special, but can be tricky to manage on a computer. Here’s a brief guide to typing those pesky special characters
Norwegian American Weekly
Writing Norwegian on a computer is easiest if it has a Norwegian keyboard, on which the three extra vowels in Norwegian, Æ, Ø, and Å are to the right in the first two alphabetic key rows. But even if you don’t have a Norwegian keyboard, you can write Norwegian on an English keyboard using special keystrokes to enter Norwegian vowels. You can also use special keystrokes to enter accented letters not on the English or Norwegian keyboards.
Special keystrokes are short sequences that let you manually generate the computer code for a character, such as a letter, number or punctuation mark not on your keyboard. Two character-encoding schemes are in use today. The oldest is the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII), first used in 1963 in teleprinter communication systems. It was based on the English alphabet, so it had limitations in communicating other languages. For example, it had no codes for the o slash, Ø, of Norwegian and Danish. Later, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) developed a code that was first used in 1976 to represent a broader ranger of characters. So today, both ASCII and ANSI codes are used for characters.
You may enter special keystrokes in two ways, depending on whether you have a Microsoft Windows computer or a Macintosh computer:
• On Windows computer, enter the ASCII or ANSI code of a letter by holding down the ALT key and keying in a code on the right-hand number pad with the Num Lock toggle on.
• On Macintosh computers encoding is automatic: hold down the Option key and then the second key (after the + sign); release both keys and then type in the final character or letter (after the word “then” in the table below).
Reference or further reading: Washington State University Language Learning Resource Center keystroke lists for Windows computers at www.forlang.wsu.edu/help/keyboards.asp and for Macintosh computers at www.forlang.wsu.edu/help/keyboards2.asp.
This article originally appeared in the March 13, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.