Rules: Read Me!
Admin: sue943
Legal / Conditions of Use

Topic Options
#972672 - Fri Mar 15 2013 11:16 PM Diacritical marks and other non-English characters
beerslayer Offline
Learning the ropes...

Registered: Tue Apr 28 2009
Posts: 3
Loc: California USA
I'm thinking about authoring a quiz about a country. In that quiz, I'd like to ask at least a question or two about the language. The language in question uses several characters that do not exist in English - Latin characters with diacritical marks such as 'š' and 'ž'.

So far, I have found no way of including such characters in a quiz. If I try to include them in the title or description of a quiz, the site changes them to their non-marked counterparts ('š' is changed to 's', etc.). This obviously results in misspellings and does not correctly represent the language in question.

Is there any way to override this and include such characters in the title, description, question, answer, or interesting information of a quiz?


Edited by beerslayer (Fri Mar 15 2013 11:18 PM)
_________________________
If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing. - Anatole France

Top
#972677 - Sat Mar 16 2013 12:04 AM Re: Diacritical marks and other non-English characters [Re: beerslayer]
looney_tunes Offline
Multiloquent

Registered: Tue Jan 20 2009
Posts: 2815
Loc: Briar Hill Victoria Australia 
If non-standard symbols are used in a quiz, they frequently get turned into a nightmarish mess after the quiz is placed online, which is why editors often remove them. Your examples use diacritical marks that are not on the list of symbols we know work, so would have been changed to make your quiz stay intelligible after going online. Use of these symbols can end up with a string of boxes or question marks in their place, and a totally incoherent piece of writing.
_________________________
(Editor in Humanities, Literature and Books For Children)
That's all, folks!

Top
#972682 - Sat Mar 16 2013 12:25 AM Re: Diacritical marks and other non-English characters [Re: beerslayer]
beerslayer Offline
Learning the ropes...

Registered: Tue Apr 28 2009
Posts: 3
Loc: California USA
So that implies that it IS possible to use the correct characters I need for this quiz, just that some people prefer that they not be used (and have designed the quiz editor accordingly to prevent their use).

I am perfectly willing to use ampersand codes (i.e. ý and so on) or whatever other means are necessary to ensure that the correct character shows up, but I see no point in continuing this quiz if I cannot use the correct spellings of at least a few representative foreign words.
_________________________
If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing. - Anatole France

Top
#972694 - Sat Mar 16 2013 02:00 AM Re: Diacritical marks and other non-English characters [Re: beerslayer]
looney_tunes Offline
Multiloquent

Registered: Tue Jan 20 2009
Posts: 2815
Loc: Briar Hill Victoria Australia 
It is not possible to use the correct characters - you can put them in your template to start, but they go crazy. Even just using Smart Quotes can lead to problems, as they turn into question marks. This is not added to prevent their use, it is a feature of the way the templates work that has to be worked around. The non-standard characters can turn into all kinds of things, including reverting to showing the ASCII code for the symbol instead of the symbol, which looks pretty strange in the middle of a word. There are a few diacritical marks that do work - if you contact an editor in World, where quizzes on foreign languages go, they might be able to give more concrete advice about some symbols that you can use with safety and which ones should be avoided.
_________________________
(Editor in Humanities, Literature and Books For Children)
That's all, folks!

Top
#972716 - Sat Mar 16 2013 08:25 AM Re: Diacritical marks and other non-English characters [Re: beerslayer]
JanIQ Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Thu Jul 09 2009
Posts: 560
Loc: Antwerp
Belgium
It is best to avoid all diacriticals in the answers.

I've encountered multiple choice questions with diacritical marks in the correct answer, that the computer did mark as incorrect.

Diacritical marks in FITB answers are prohibited.

Is there no way to rephrase your question? For instance, if you would use the Hungarian words for the wind directions, you may choose one and ask for the English translation.
_________________________
I dreamt of spending a day riding a stallion. It was a nightmare.

Top
#972787 - Sat Mar 16 2013 10:23 PM Re: Diacritical marks and other non-English characters [Re: beerslayer]
beerslayer Offline
Learning the ropes...

Registered: Tue Apr 28 2009
Posts: 3
Loc: California USA
The problem is that I cannot write the word correctly at all. I'd like to use such characters in both the title and the description, but in all cases they are stripped out. I haven't even bothered trying to put in any questions because if I cannot even get past the title, what's the point?

I hate to say this, but this is horrible design on the part of the people who built FunTrivia. It should be extremely easy for them simply to allow the ampersand character codes (as in HTML) that would display such characters correctly and unambiguously in any modern browser on any modern OS, but it's not allowed so far as I can tell.

I would not expect a player to type such a character in a fill-in answer - I'd certainly find a different way to handle the question - but in any text that is displayed as-is on the screen (whether title, description, question, or answer), it really shouldn't be a problem.

(And it's not Hungarian, but good guess... smile )


Edited by beerslayer (Sat Mar 16 2013 10:23 PM)
_________________________
If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing. - Anatole France

Top
#972789 - Sat Mar 16 2013 11:12 PM Re: Diacritical marks and other non-English characters [Re: beerslayer]
sisterseagull Offline
Forum Adept

Registered: Tue Aug 16 2011
Posts: 187
Loc: Torquay Devon England UK      
I have used diacritical marks in a number of single questions that have been accepted. These include marks from some central european and balkan languages such as Serbian and Czech (which I believe is the language that your quiz is to be about)and the more oft used accents, graves, umlauts from the western european languages.

The only advice that I can offer you is that you write and edit your quiz in MS Word and then cut/paste into the template as I know that this does work, but please do check with the 'World' editor first. One important thing that you must remember however; Do NOT use diacritical marks in any of the answer fields, this includes both the correct and the incorrect answer fields, as these marks may interfere with the way that the quiz is scored. I've never had one, but I can imagine that an inbox full of correction notices would be a nightmare!

Can one of the editors please confirm that what I have stated above is correct?

Top
#973242 - Wed Mar 20 2013 10:07 AM Re: Diacritical marks and other non-English characters [Re: beerslayer]
Bruyere Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Sat Feb 10 2001
Posts: 18301
Loc: California
As the site has evolved, it's gone through software revamping and languages other than English have occasionally had some trouble after those changes. My own quizzes went through it. I never had accents in an FITB of course and I wrote them specifically to avoid that. It isn't easy in French! The following is not a high tech answer so please forgive me as that's not my branch of specialty but instead, an explanation of how world language quizzes evolved here.

However as to the answers in multiple choice, some of mine have accents and those would occasionally go wild because the ampersand or others were used in coding elsewhere. So a player might select the correct answer and get it wrong. It's a headache to edit all those correction notes from people who are understandably peeved about it. Work goes on in the background at all times. Sometimes a different keyboard would not do it and we even had problems with Word documents using the old style quotation marks and when you transferred them it made for fun finding the trouble. I think they were called 'smart quotation marks' or something back then. So if you pasted it in like that you'd get a mess of trouble.

We also had the problem of many people objecting to quizzes where someone without that language hadn't a clue as to what was being asked. As we're not a language site per se, and since the site began doing language quizzes there are millions of these out there, we try to get quizzes that teach someone about the language rather than being heavy duty language style quizzes. We also don't accept the simplistic type of quizzes that someone could take a dictionary and say, 'dog?' 'pero' or chien would be the right answer in French. The sampling that results is a mixture of language appreciation type quizzes that take a different approach.

So remember when you're doing a language quiz that your audience is all over the world and willing to learn about your language and culture instead of being too challenging for people who actually speak that language. You will have a few people who actually know that language including native speakers but for the most part, you need to think of the people you're writing for. I use myself as a guinea pig for people's work because I'm a student of language and culture. My own work uses a lot of translations but in a fun way and I introduce them in English instead of French. We have other writers in many languages who manage this task pretty well and I'm proud to represent World Languages here for many years now.

By the way, we have many quizzes here using non Western type and those folks have gotten round the problem in some creative way. If we had to display and accept every type of symbol and diacritical marks for those languages, we would be a language site and that's not really what we've become. I know professional sites I belong to that don't do that properly so I'm not worried about it here.

Sincerely,

Bruyere
World Languages Editor
_________________________
I was born under a wandering star.

Top
#973249 - Wed Mar 20 2013 11:38 AM Re: Diacritical marks and other non-English characters [Re: sisterseagull]
bloomsby Offline
Moderator

Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 3487
Loc: Norwich England UK            
Quote:
Can one of the editors please confirm that what I have stated above is correct?


Unfortunately, I can't confirm that as I am not a technically minded person and am not involved in any way in the technical side of the site.

In my own recent experience (over the last two years or so) I have found that German characters (ß and umlauted letters, both upper and lower case) experience no problems, even in multiple choice slots, provided that they are copied and pasted from MS Word (or elsewhere off the site). In such cases I haven't had any complaints from players saying they were incorrectly scored because of characters going numerical, etc. Before that I used ASCII (Alt + a number) and the letters created in that way sometimes went haywire.

I regret that beyond that I cannot say anything useful in answer to Sisterseagull's question.

It occurs to me that I may of course just have been lucky ... smile

Edited to correct typo.


Edited by bloomsby (Wed Mar 20 2013 02:07 PM)

Top
#973255 - Wed Mar 20 2013 12:11 PM Re: Diacritical marks and other non-English characters [Re: beerslayer]
JanIQ Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Thu Jul 09 2009
Posts: 560
Loc: Antwerp
Belgium
I'm not an editor, but I have a suggestion for German. You may replace the umlaut by adding an e (so for instance ä may also be spelled ae), and the symbol appearing as a Greek letter beta at the end of a German word may also be written sz.

Alas, this alternative spelling is only available in German. In any other non-English languages I've seen before, the correct spelling of some words needs diacritical marks.

The problem is not limited to the World category either: it may occur in any name (for instance Frédéric Chopin).


Edited by JanIQ (Wed Mar 20 2013 12:13 PM)
Edit Reason: The symbol for sz doesn't show quite right.
_________________________
I dreamt of spending a day riding a stallion. It was a nightmare.

Top
#973261 - Wed Mar 20 2013 12:36 PM Re: Diacritical marks and other non-English characters [Re: bloomsby]
gracious1 Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Tue May 01 2012
Posts: 645
Loc: New York USA
If I may also share my experience. In my Swedish quiz I was able to use letters like å and ö, just using the functionality of the Mac OS X keyboard. I did not attempt to put those letters in the title of the quiz, as I did not want to test the system, and just spelled smörgåsbord as "smorgasbord", but I could spell it the latter way in the text of the quiz without any problems.

I believe in other quizzes I have been able to use accented characters like é or à without problems as well. Again this is just using the functionality of Mac OS X; I didn't have to cut and paste from Word. Also I think ß for "sz" works, too. (Apologies if it doesn't show up for you).


Edited by gracious1 (Wed Mar 20 2013 12:38 PM)

Top

Moderator:  agony, gtho4