What does FADA’s symbol mean?

Irish. A fada, or “long a,” as it is known in Irish, is pronounced [a] and is used in terms like slán (which means “dieu”). Since the dot above numerous letters in the Irish language has declined, it is the only diacritical mark used in Modern Irish.

The need for accent marks

The lengthy accent, or sneadh fada, is crucial for speaking Irish, as anyone learning the language is likely already aware of. A misspelled word will be mispronounced by Irish readers and its meaning may even change if it is left out when it should be there (or if it is added in the wrong place).

For instance:

Seán (shawn) is a name for a guy.

The word “séan” can be a noun or a verb that means “sign/omen” or “to deny.”

Sean is an adjective that means “old.”

It’s likely that you have never had to type accented characters if you are an English speaker and have never studied another language.

They may even have gone unnoticed until this point. Since it’s customary to omit accents from imported nouns and names in the U.S., it’s unlikely that you’ve ever encountered a Seán in San José, traveled to Mexico, or consumed a jalapeo in a coffee shop.

In fact, the majority of American registers do not permit diacritical marks, so you are out of luck if you want to call your wolfhound “Oisn,” your daughter “Caitlin” (pronounced “KATCH-leen,” not “KATE-lynn”), or your license plate “Éire.”

However, you now face a serious issue. You have no notion how to type long (also known as “acute”) accents while learning a language. You might even believe that your phone, computer, or tablet is unable to create them. Thankfully, you’re mistaken.

A lot simpler than you might think

I had no notion how to type fadas when I first started learning Irish. The fact that the suggestion I received to use my “ALT GR” key didn’t seem to apply to my keyboard didn’t help.

Ireland, you see, has a simple keyboard shortcut that allows users to create a fada by merely holding down a specific key while typing the desired vowel. The accented vowel appears magically as they release the “ALT GR” key.

Sadly, American keyboards do not have a “ALT GR” key. As a matter of fact, I spent the most of that first year copying and pasting accented vowels from a Word document (after cutting them from various forum postings and inserting them into the Word document), which, as you would expect, was rather difficult.

However, I did eventually figure out how to type fadas, and I’m going to share that knowledge with you now (perhaps saving you some frustration!).

The best way to use accented characters on almost any device

To type long vowels on the keyboard that is widely used in Ireland, the so-called UK/IRL keyboard, you must take certain additional precautions if you are not using a NASCANNA keyboard. Here’s how to accomplish it.

On a PC

Despite the lack of “option” keys on PCs, you still have choices.

Option 1: Use ALT Codes

You can type fadas using the number pad on the right of your keyboard. Simply hold down the “alt” key while inputting the numbers below after turning on the “Num Lock” key. Holding down the “alt” key releases the following:

ALT + 0225 = á

ALT + 0193 = Á

ALT + 0233 = é

ALT + 0201 = É

ALT + 0237 = í

ALT + 0205 = Í

ALT + 0243 = ó

ALT + 0211 = Ó

ALT + 0250 = ú

ALT + 0218 = Ú:

ALT codes exist for almost every diacritical mark and special symbol you would need to enter on a PC. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be astonished at how quickly you can touch-type the ALT codes for the letters you use the most. At first, this may seem like a lot of keystrokes, but if you’re anything like me, you won’t be.

Option 2: Alternative keyboard layouts

There is no question that the most effective approach to write accented characters is to use a different keyboard layout. It’s your only option if your keyboard lacks a number pad.

If you use accented characters frequently, an alternative keyboard layout will enable you to enter them with a lot fewer keystrokes than when using ALT Codes.

I must admit that I personally don’t use a different keyboard layout because I have trouble remembering where some of my most used keys, like @, have moved.

Additionally, I was already touch-typing ALT Codes when I learned about alternate keyboard layouts, so I didn’t think it was necessary to switch at that time.

If not, switching to a different keyboard layout is generally the best option. You can get instructions on how to select a different keyboard layout in Windows 10 by clicking the following link:

A fast internet search should turn up plenty of tutorials for different operating systems or other versions of Windows.

On a MAC

On a Mac, you already have a key that is quite similar to the ALT GR key: the “option” key. Simply hold down the “option key” and the “E” key to get a vowel with an acute accent. Release both keys, then input the desired vowel. For instance, to obtain “Á”:

Hold down “E” while pressing “option.”

Release the keys, then press “A.”

What you will receive is “Á”

Easy as pie! (Or “éasca péasca” in Irish!)

Here is a thorough guide on how to get any form of accented character using the “option” key:

On a Touch Screen

Obtaining accented characters is a breeze if you have a touch-screen smartphone or tablet.

A menu will show if you simply hold down the letter you want to be highlighted. Your task is completed after you slide your finger up to the one you like and tap it.

On a Phone

When you long-press the letter “a,” for instance, you can choose from a variety of accented versions, including the Irish good ould sneadh fada accent mark (/shee-na fodda/). However, it frequently compels you to type in a single language (like English).

On an iPad

Option+e buttons at the same time, followed by the vowel you want to use a fada on, are how you use the iPad keyboard. The keyboard for a MacBook has the same layout. It also works with macOS and physical keyboards these days. Alternatively, hold down the key and choose the accent you want, àáâä.

Yet another Way: Take a Look at This!

Another facility created by Kevin Scannell, this one a Firefox browser add-on. This can be used to replace any missing fada signs.

The add-on is downloaded in the typical manner.

Utilizing it is pretty simple. Simply type the text in plain language without any fada symbols, right-click the mouse, and select Athchóirigh a Téacs: Gaeilge (ga), or the English equivalent of this, as necessary. The fada signs will then be inserted. It should be noted that the complete text of the concerned window is selected.

You may add the fada signs to services like email, blogs, Wikipedia, and more by using this add-on.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}