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I have a weird problem. A few keyboard combinations seem to have stopped responding. Among others Option-8 and Option-9 do not work. In fact everything from Option-3 to Option-0 do not work. Option-shift-8 etc. works fine though.

I have had the problem previously on another mac (iMac, Snow Leopard, with full size keyboard) and am now experiencing it on my MacBook Air (Lion). Last time the problem solved itself via a reinstall of OS X.

Any guesses?

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I assume you mean the key combinations traditionally used to generate extended characters like bullets, umlats, and so on. There are several places to check.

Check System Preferences : Language & Text : Input Sources to make sure you are using the correct keyboard mapping (for example, "U.S."):

enter image description here

It can be very easy to switch your keyboard layout by accident, so you may want to be sure only one layout is checked.

If that does not help, look in System Preferences : Keyboard : Keyboard Shortcuts and see if there are any shortcuts assigned to the combinations you are trying to use:

Keyboard Shortcuts

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