I am using a keyboard layout in which the backtick (`) is a dead key.

This means that when I type a backtick followed by a vowel (for example `a) what Vim sees is an accented character (à). So if I set a mark with ma I can jump to the line of the mark with 'a. But jumping to the specific location of the mark with `a won't work.

I found a workaround for this: when typing a dead key I can make Vim receive a backtick by striking the backtick and then the space bar. So if I want to go to mark a I type `␣a.

Is there a way to jump to the mark without having to strike that extra space? With no side effects?

  • Can't use type 2 backticks to get a backtick? Or configure your OS to do that? That's still an extra keystoke, but better than ` + space ... Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 0:10
  • @Carpetsmoker No. Typing two backticks normally results in `` for me. But in Normal mode it seems like another thing happens: I type ``a and Vim says "E78: Unknown mark." From showcmd I think Vim understands this as `à. Also I would like to make the behaviour OS independent. map seems to do the work. Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 0:34
  • On a German Mac keyboard I have the same problem with ^, so in order to jump to the begin of a line, I have to hit ^␣, because it annoyingly is looking for the opportunity to write something like â. Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 21:23

2 Answers 2


Try making it a mapping:

" Mapping dead keys in normal mode
nmap á 'a

That way, when Vim gets the accented a, it interprets it as `+a

Using nmap allows this to happen in normal mode only; in insert mode or command mode, you'll get the accented a as you'd expect.

It is possible to apply this to other keys:

nmap à `a
nmap Á 'A
nmap À `A
nmap ç 'c
nmap Ç 'C
nmap é 'e
nmap è `e
nmap É 'E
nmap È `E
nmap í 'i
nmap ì `i
nmap Í 'I
nmap Ì `I
nmap ó 'o
nmap ò `o
nmap Ó 'O
nmap Ò `O
nmap ú 'u
nmap ù `u
nmap Ú 'U
nmap Ù `U
  • 1
    This does work. And with no side effects. I should learn to use maps. Thank you. Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 19:36
  • You're welcome. Glad I could help.
    – John O'M.
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 3:05
  • What about the ^ (soft first character of the line)? Since this is a standalone command, what can be done? Does the OS cache the dead key until another key is pressed?
    – Spidey
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 16:20
" US-intl keyboard dead key re-mappings
nmap à `a|nmap á 'a
nmap ć 'c
nmap è `e|nmap é 'e
nmap ǵ 'g
nmap ì `i|nmap í 'i
nmap ḱ 'k
nmap ĺ 'l
nmap ḿ 'm
nmap ǹ `n|nmap ń 'n
nmap ò `o|nmap ó 'o
nmap ṕ 'p
nmap ŕ 'r
nmap ś 's
nmap ù `u|nmap ú 'u
nmap ǜ `v|nmap ǘ 'v
nmap ẁ `w|nmap ẃ 'w
nmap ỳ `y|nmap ý 'y
nmap ź 'z
  • 2
    Hi, welcome here. I think you could provide some explanation to describe why your answer is useful, and how it solves the problem :)
    – Biggybi
    Commented May 16, 2020 at 17:29

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