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Donald,

> > nope nope (imho:-)
> >
> > that's for the case where \"a is precisely *not* executing an \accent but is
> > actually a glyph in the current font
>
> But that is the only case you have to handle!  \accent combinations
> don't have the right kerning anyway, so just stick \relax before
> the \accent.

you both are right and i was wrong (for the case of accents). however you would
have to identify that \"a is a glyph first, even more, you would need to do the
right thing concerning any text character eg some are fetched from a different
encoding so all that would be very messy indeed

> The (killer) problem I see has already been alluded to: The inputenc
> characters are already active, so you have to have a single definition
> that works for both the initial expansion of the input text and as the
> math-active character, without recursion.
>
> David's usage of "ä" is probably part of the "illegal notation", but if
> I may either clarify or fix:
>
> Definition to convert from LICR to glyph:
>
> \def{\"a}{\ifmmode \relax % make sure we are in math mode to stay
>           \ifmmode \ddot a%
>           \else \string ä\fi
>           \else \string ä\fi}

sorry, perhaps i'm still dumb from my cold or else dumb anyway, but i don't
get you here. what is this supposed to tell me?

one of the problem is that pressing key ä (umlaut-a) on the keyboard maps to
\"a alright in the LICR but that is not equiv to doing

\string ä

for typesetting ---  the slot to use varies from encoding to encoding. so if i
interpret your definition above correctly then you end up with exactly
typesetting \char ä always for \"a ... or what?

frank
`