On a French keyboard, we have accented vowels, no problem. But one is never
sure what the text will look like when it appears on someone else's screen,
so French e-mailers tend not to bother with accents. The message comes
through clearer without diacritics than if it were interspersed with
gibberish codes (html or ascii). The only ambiguity is with a final "e"
which may give a different sense to a word according to whether it bears an
accent or not. Otherwise, French accents are pretty forgettable. This may
not be the case in other languages, and I imagine, each country will have
found its own way around the problem (eg: "e" instead of umlaut, in German).
Macs seem to deal with diacritics more easily that the other kind.
in Grenoble, France.