Linux AltGr shortcuts for Vietnamese characters

Writing Vietnamese correctly requires diacritics that aren’t commonly used in Western languages. Miss one out and you completely change the meaning of what you’re writing. As I frequently communicate in Vietnamese it’s important to be able to input diacritics, which is a bit of problem since Western keyboards don’t include them. On my own laptop I use IBus to allow me to switch into UniKey mode, but it’s a bit fiddly to set up, and it’s not an option when I’m using a different computer. I’ve long been aware that when running Linux it’s possible to use the <AltGr> key to get access to more diacritics, for example for accents in European languages. Today I discovered that it’s also possible to use <AltGr> to access the full range of Vietnamese characters. Here are the non-Western characters:

  • đ = <AltGr> + f
  • Ð = <AltGr> + <Shift> + D
  • circumflex = <AltGr> + ' followed by character, e.g. ô
  • breve = <AltGr> + <Shift> + # followed by character, e.g. ă
  • horn = <AltGr> + <Shift> + j followed by character, e.g. ơ

And here are all the tones/dấu:

  • acute/sắc = <AltGr> + ; followed by character, e.g. ý
  • grave/huyền = <AltGr> + # followed by character, e.g. à
  • tilde/ngã = <AltGr> + ] followed by character, e.g. sẽ
  • question/hỏi = <AltGr> + j followed by character, e.g. ủa
  • dot/nặng = <AltGr> + / followed by character, e.g. ạ

It’s common for a non-Western character to have a tone on it, which requires combining one option from each list. For example, to write ừ, press <AltGr> + <Shift> + j followed by <AltGr> + # followed by u.

Bây giờ tôi viết tiếng Việt giỏi hơn!

As a side note, I also recommend https://vietnameseaccent.com/ if need to add diacritics to some Vietnamese text in a hurry, although since you’re submitting your data to someone else’s website I wouldn’t recommend using it for anything private! It’s also not always correct.

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