Project TUPPU
Written by

Project TUPPU

Students of the ancient Near East quickly discover that many operating systems and programs make it harder than necessary to type the accented characters which they need to represent sounds in ancient languages. Many scholars find and insert characters by hand in their favourite word processor, copy them off a website, memorize the Unicode code points corresponding to each character, or just give up and limit themselves to characters on their normal keyboard. Fortunately, some more convenient alternatives exist.

Windows 7

TODO test, upload, and link to keyboard

TODO write instructions for installing custom keyboard

It has only been tested on Windows 7.

TODO test and describe alt keys


Many flavours of Linux support the use of compose keys to type characters and diacritics not available on standard keyboards. To find or create a compose key on your keyboard, see the instructions here (oriented towards interfaces commonly used with Ubuntu). Then type the following characters one after another to create various accented characters. It is not necessary to hold any of them down while typing the others. On this page the compose key is called “compose” and the spacebar is called “space.”

Note that typing ! etc. on many keyboards will require pressing shift together with another key. I have not included that extra keystroke in these descriptions.

Characters for Marking Damaged or Missing Characters

Characters from Semitic Languages

??? (Assyriological name: Aleph, Unicode name: U+02C0 MODIFIER LETTER GLOTTAL STOP)
??? (Assyriologican name: Ayin, Unicode Name: U+02C1 MODIFIER LETTER REVERSED GLOTTAL STOP)

??? gives ḫ (Assyriological name: none, Unicode Name: U+1E2B LATIN SMALL LETTER H WITH BREVE BELOW)
Compose ! h gives ḥ (Assyriological name: Chet, Unicode name: U+1E25 LATIN SMALL LETTER H WITH DOT BELOW)
Compose < s gives š (Assyriological name: Shin, Unicode name: U+0161 LATIN SMALL LETTER S WITH CARON)
Compose ' s gives ś (Assyriological name: Sin, Unicode Name: U+015B LATIN SMALL LETTER S WITH ACUTE)
Compose ! s gives ṣ (Assyriological name: Tsade, Unicode Name: U+1E63 LATIN SMALL LETTER S WITH DOT BELOW)
Compose ! t gives ṭ (Assyriological name: Tet, Unicode Name: U+1E6D LATIN SMALL LETTER T WITH DOT BELOW)

Compose – a gives ā. This works for all vowels with macrons (U+0304 COMBINING MACRON).
Compose ^ a gives â. This works for all vowels with circumflex.
Compose > a gives â. This works for all vowels with circumflex.

Compose ‘ a gives á (the second character is an apostrophe). This works for all vowels with acute accents (U+0301 COMBINING LETTER ACUTE ACCENT)
Compose ` gives à (on a US keyboard the second character “grave” is found at the upper left corner). This works for all vowels with grave accents (U+0300 COMBINING GRAVE ACCENT).

Many of these characters can be typed using other combinations of compose keys. For simplicity, I have only given one example.

Other Languages
Compose , c gives ç (Assyriological name: None, Unicode Name: U+00E7 LATIN SMALL LETTER C WITH CEDILLA.

There does not appear to be a Compose Key shortcut for g with tilde g̃ which requires a font capable of combining two Unicode characters g U+0067 and ◌̃ U+0303.
Compose g ( gives ğ (Assyriological name: None, Unicode Name: U+011f LATIN SMALL LETTER G WITH BREVE)
Compose g U gives ğ (Assyriological name: None, Unicode Name: U+011f LATIN SMALL LETTER G WITH BREVE)

On my environment, typing g then Shift + Ctrl + u then 0303 then enter gives g̃ (g with tilde).


??? gives r̥

Compose ” a gives ä. This works for all vowels with umlaut/diaresis.
Compose s s gives ß (Ess-Zet, Scharfes S)

A second option on many *nix systems is to type Shift + Ctrl + u then a Unicode code point then enter. This will produce the Unicode character corresponding to that code point. For example, typing shift, control, u (all held down together) then 0c20 (one after another), then enter will produce ˀ aleph aka. MODIFIER LETTER GLOTTAL STOP. Memorizing code points allows any Unicode character to be typed on most operating systems, but is slow.

Further Reading (Unicode): Unicode Consortium, Combining Diacritical Marks (link)

Further Reading (Windows): George Hernandez, Shortcuts (link)

Further Reading (Linux):, Xlib Compose Keys for en_US.UTF-8 {very comprehensive but full of undefined terms},, The Gtk Compose Table {wiki page which defines its terms better than but is less complete, last updated in 2011}

paypal logo
patreon logo