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Not getting the letter I press

Alt-R+a is xmodmapped to ä over here with the same settings that work
at a friend's XF86 machine. I run 4.2.1 from testing here and
it doesn't:

KeyRelease event, serial 19, synthetic NO, window 0x12800001,
    root 0x26, subw 0x0, time 669827654, (119,76), root:(745,326),
    state 0x2000, keycode 38 (keysym 0xe4, adiaeresis), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 1 characters:  ""

It produces the correct keysym ("adiaeresis"), but nothing is echoed
to my terminal or whatever application.

these are the options for the keyboard:

  Option      "XkbRules"  "xfree86"
  Option      "XkbModel"  "pc104"
  Option      "XkbLayout" "us"
  Option      "XkbOptions"  "ctrl:nocaps"

How can I make it produce the ä character, which is adiaeresis on my
system? Where does the error lie?

Please do not CC me! Mutt (www.mutt.org) can handle this automatically.
 .''`.     martin f. krafft <madduck@debian.org>
: :'  :    proud Debian developer, admin, and user
`. `'`
  `-  Debian - when you have better things to do than fixing a system
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