You probably selected the wrong regional keyboard layout. At least with Mandrake 9.2, the graphic options are a little confusing, basically because it's got three "US Keyboard" entries that all do different things (similar to the stuff you're describing, actually). If Debian has a graphical tool that allows you to change your keyboard (might be under hardware tools or somesuch), try different "versions" of the standard US keyboard.
I don't know much about debian, but if you can't use a graphic configuration program, you can probably run xf86config (or xfree86config or xf86configurator, the damn program has 1000 names) or you can track down the X config file, which I think is somewhere in /etc/X11.
I hope that gets you moving in the right direction. I'm sortof a newbie myself.
Last edited by WheatPuppet; 02-03-2004 at 11:19 AM.