I am embarrassed to say what the problem with the computer was. One day, a month or two after the June 29, 2014 post (&é”’(§è!çà)-), I glanced up at the bar at the top of my screen and saw an icon I wasn’t familiar with. I clicked on it, to see what it was, and it said that it was the French flag and that my keyboard was set to French standard.
I’ve never even seen a French keyboard. I had no idea they were laid out differently from American keyboards. I’d kinda assumed that all keyboards that use Roman letters would have the same layout, (unless you go to a completely different system, such as Dvorak), with the addition of special characters used in the other languages.
But no, apparently French keyboards are very similar to American keyboards, but not in all details.
Why was my keyboard set to French? I have no idea.
I’ve always wanted to learn to speak French, and did learn a bit in school, but I’m nowhere close to fluent. But it seems that when I set up my computer, and came to the option for what languages it can use, I listed French & Italian, and a few others that I’d like to learn someday. I might have been thinking that when I start learning these languages, it will be handy to already have the computer able to handle them. Or maybe I was thinking that if I tell it that French is one of “my languages” then I’ll have access to all those accent marks, should I ever need one. I really had no idea why it wanted to know what languages I might use, and I saw no change after I’d checked off all those boxes.
Now I know what the boxes were for. Once I set it back to the American flag, my computer was instantly cured, and my keyboard went back to working as it should. It just looked up at me and asked, “How do you spell ‘moron’ in French?”