A mark placed over, under, or through a character as a guide to pronunciation. In languages other than English, an accent refers to a mark that indicates a specific sound, stress, or pitch to distinguish the pronunciation of words otherwise identically spelled.
Originally, the term accent meant accented characters—the combination of a character and its appropriate accent—such as the '?, pronounced as "ny" in Spanish or the '?', pronounced as an "s" in French. These accents, the tilde and the cedilla respectively, combine with the letter to form a specialized character, primarily for pronunciation. In typesetting, most accented characters do not exist as a single unit but are formed by combining letters and accents.
Some common accents are:
The accent is stored as a separate character in most cases, with zero width (no escapement value). Thus, it "floats" above or below a character position. Accents used in this manner are designed for the weight, style, and height (cap and lowercase) of a typeface. There are two methods for keying accented characters: either with an individual key that indicates the complete character or with two separate keys, one for the accent and one for the character. In the latter case, the output device selects the accent, positions it with no escapement, and then positions the character, which escapes normally.
An accent set in this way is called a centered accent, floating accent, or piece accent. When the accent is set with a character, the software computes an escapement value for the accent so that it is centered over the character. A pre-positioned accent or fixed accent is given a fixed escapement value so that it appears centered over a particular character (or characters of similar width). Thus, two separate accents of similar design would be used with characters of dissimilar escapement value.
In color, the term accent refers to a small application of an additional color to complement and add interest and vibrancy to a larger, less intense color. The greater the intensity of the added color, the smaller the amount needed to attract the desired degree of attention. Likewise, the less intense the color, the greater the amount needed.