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gettext with non-en source language

Question raised on -l10n-esperanto recently: can gettext be used for
localising a program with a utf-8 non-English source language?  That is,
the thing in the _("...") has accents and isn't English.

I hope I expressed the question adequately.  The gettext manual seems to
stress using English everywhere, so the answer isn't clear to me.  I 
hope some people with relevant experience are reading -i18n.

Thanks for any help,
MJ Ray - see http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html
Somerset, England.  Work: http://www.ttllp.co.uk/
IRC/Jabber/SIP: on request

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