# [texhax] How to write straight accents in TeX (not LaTeX!)

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Sun Sep 9 01:40:47 CEST 2007

Donald Arseneau writes:

> "Pablo Mayckon" <pmsf at alu.dc.ufc.br> writes:

>> Having been using LaTeX for more than two years, I have now
>> decided to learn TeX. I've just finished chapter 6 of the TeXbook.
>>
>> But I'm from Brazil and I need to use accents quite often. When I
>> used LaTeX, that wasn't a problem, 'cause all I needed to do was
>> to write "\usepackage[latin9]{inputenc}". But now I'm in TeX and,
>> as I expected, it doesn't know what "\usepackage" is.

> What you are "in" is the *plain* TeX format, which is extremely
> limited, using only the computer modern font at 10 pt.  eplain
> gives you more.  But you probably want to use a font already
> encoded in something like latin9.

Hi Donald,
it seems that in this case neither using eplain nor re-encoding fonts
is helpful.  Pablo is familiar with LaTeX but he said:

>> I have now decided to learn TeX.

If a LaTeX user buys and studies the TeXbook, I assume that he want
to learn how things work *in plain TeX*.

What I don't understand is that you say that only cmr10 is supported
by plain TeX.  You can use any font in plain TeX.  Things are not as
convenient as in LaTeX, eplain, or Context, but I think that it's ok
for Pablo not to use any macro packages because I assume that it's
more important for him to understand how things work, or, with other
words, as they are described in the TeXbook.

Mentioning any macro packages certainly distracts Pablo from reading
the TeXbook.

And exactly this is the reason I didn't tell him that many things are
explained more comprehensible in

@Book{Salomon:1995:AT,
author =       "David Salomon",
publisher =    pub-SV,
pages =        "xx + 490",
year =         "1995",
ISBN =         "0-387-94556-3",
ISBN-13 =      "978-0-387-94556-9",
LCCN =         "Z253.4.T47 S25 1995",
bibdate =      "Fri Sep 10 09:26:14 1999",
price =        "US\\$39.95",
acknowledgement = ack-nhfb,
}

and that

@Book{Seroul:BBT91,
author =       "Raymond Seroul and Silvio Levy",
title =        "A Beginner's Book of {\TeX}",
publisher =    pub-SV,
year =         "1991",
ISBN =         "0-387-97562-4, 3-540-97562-4",
LCCN =         "Z253.4.T47 S47 1991",
pages =        "xii + 282",
note =         "This is a translation and adaption by Silvio Levy of
\cite{Seroul:PLT89}.",
acknowledgement = ack-nhfb,
bibdate =      "Fri Jul 22 09:17:14 1994",
}

is probably one of the best books written about plain TeX at all.
Unfortunately the title is misleading.  Not only beginners enjoy this
book.

Regards,
Reinhard

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