Posted by: episystechpubs | July 31, 2014

Editor’s Corner: The Tilde

Good morning, my little chickadees! Last week I answered a question about the accent mark on the key in the upper left-hand corner of most keyboards (the “grave” accent). Some of you then wanted to know a little more about the other accent on that key, grave’s little buddy the tilde (~).

The tilde is used in Portuguese and Spanish to change the sound of certain letters, such as the ñ in señor (pronounced like an “ny” more than the plain old “n”). According to Wikipedia, the name tilde “comes from the Latin titulus meaning ‘title’ or ‘superscription,’ though the term tilde has evolved and now has a different meaning in linguistics. Some may refer to it as a ‘flourish’.”

If you aren’t a student of Spanish, Portuguese, or linguistics, you may have used the tilde in math. Here are some additional details on its mathematical variants, also from the Wikipedia article:

This symbol (in English) informally means "approximately," such as: "~30 minutes ago" meaning "approximately 30 minutes ago." It can mean "similar to," including "of the same order of magnitude as,” such as: "x ~ y" meaning that x and y are of the same order of magnitude. Another approximation symbol is , meaning "approximately equal to," the critical difference being the subjective level of accuracy: ≈ indicates a value which can be considered functionally equivalent for a calculation within an acceptable degree of error, whereas ~ is usually used to indicate a larger, possibly significant, degree of error. The tilde is also used to indicate equal to, or approximately equal to by placing it over the "=" symbol.

For programming and other uses of the tilde, click here: Wikipedia.

Here in the Southwest, the most common use we’d have for it is Spanish. If you want to create an Ñ or ñ from your keyboard, here are the ALT codes:

· ALT+164 is ñ

· ALT+165 is Ñ

If you’ve never used ALT codes, here are instructions (you must have a separate numeric keypad to the right of your standard keyboard):

1. Press the ALT key.

2. While holding the ALT key, enter the numbers on the numeric keypad.

3. When you are done, the symbol or letter will display wherever your cursor is.

For more ALT code accents, try here or search the Internet—it is a magical thing!

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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