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Access an accented glyph directly, that is, without having to put an accent over a separate character.
This line from t1enc.def means that
\^o will cause
LaTeX to typeset lowercase ‘o’ by taking the character
directly from location 224 in the font.
See fontenc package for a list of common encodings. The
simple_object should be a single character or a single command.
The slot argument is usually a positive integer represented in
decimal (although octal or hexidecimal are possible). Normally
cmd has already been declared for this encoding, either with
\DeclareTextAccent or with a one-argument
\DeclareTextCommand. In t1enc.def, the above line follows