Accented characters and ñ


English - USA
I have a question regarding accents on vowels and the letter ñ. Would a Spanish-speaking person have problems understanding a word if the accent is ommited, or if ñ is replaced with n? (I'm aware of año vs ano!)

The reason I ask is regarding subtitles on a portable DVD/DivX player I am giving to a friend as a gift. Unfortunately while it can display subtitles it cannot display any non-English characters and I've found that é, á, ñ come out as a blank space.

I have two options:
1) Change the subtitle files to replace á with a, é with e etc.
2) Hard-code the subtitles into the video files by re-encoding.

I'd prefer option 1 because it is faster and better quality, but if it would result in the subtitles not making sense I'll go with option 2.

  • Dudu678

    Senior Member
    Español (España)
    Accents over vowels are important, omitting them could lead to misunderstandings. However, you'll find many people who don't use them while chatting of informally writing an email. I'm against it, but I guess that proves it can be understood.

    Still, ñ is considered to be a different letter, not just an n with a tilde. With that you will have more problems using n.


    Senior Member
    Spanish, Spain
    Some examples:

    Cono = cone
    Coño = cunt

    Ano = anus
    Año = year

    Peña = A surname, meaning crag
    Pena = grief

    Maño = Aragonese (people from a region in Spain)
    Mano = hand

    Caña = cane
    Cana = white/grey hair

    Acunar = to rock
    Acuñar = to coin

    Barreno = borer
    Barreño = washing-up basin

    Campana = bell
    Campaña = campaign

    Una = Feminine article
    Uña = nail

    Cantina = kind of musical poem
    Cantiña = canteen

    Mona = female monkey
    Moña = bow

    Sana = he heals
    Saña = fury

    Tenido = had (from the verb "to have")
    Teñido = tinted

    Sueno = I sound
    Sueño = sleep

    A good comparison would be to replace all the W's by V's in an English DVD just because our player doesn't display W's, so we display "Valter" instead of "walter", and "Vho" instead of "Who".

    I could give you a long list where the stress mark makes a difference in meaning, but I suppose you get the idea.

    Anyway: DVD subtitles are graphics, not letters, so it doesn't matter whether you write it in Chinese or just put pictures. All will be displayed. You are not having problems with the DVD player, but with the Authoring software that you are using, which cannot handle Unicode characters. I have authored DVD's before, and I even included Chinese subtitles.

    Divx is another story, because they read the subtitles from a text file. There is nothing you can do about that, unfortunately.


    English - USA
    Thankyou. I have just discovered that my DivX player supports IDX/VOB graphics-based subtitles as well as text-based, so I can convert the text-based subtitles to graphics and all is good!

    PS: I'm not doing anything illegal/piracy. It's just that I want to watch a couple of movies with my friend whilst I'm out there, and my friend speaks very little English. Unfortunately with living in the UK, most of our DVDs only have English subtitles, so I'm having to convert my DVDs to DivX and then get Spanish subtitles from the Internet.
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