You might want to check out the IMEs (Input Method Editors) on Microsoft
Windows 95/NT and other OSs. These do use phonetics to home in on the
desired Han characters. They are quite useful today and promise to be
even better tomorrow. If they are unfamiliar, do investigate them
before "reinventing the wheel."
Meanwhile, there is a substantial need for "IMEs for the rest of us."
E.g., for math and other symbologies that Unicode has rendered so
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Christopher Hogan [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Sunday, August 03, 1997 12:28 PM
> To: Multiple Recipients of
> Subject: Re: Unicode end-users
> Martin J. Duerst writes:
> > There is a nice keyboard resource editor, surely easier to use than
> > on the Mac. Just drag-and-drop your letters onto the keys you want
> > I'm sure something similar exists somewhere for Windows.
> > Quail is a little bit more powerful in terms of letter combinations
> > (for examlpe to input Korean Hangul), but it doesn't go as far as
> > covering Japanese or Chinese ideographic input. At some point, you
> > need to be able to specify keyboard behaviour programmatically, and
> > that's not something for the end user.
> While I allow that specifying an IPE for ideograms is more complicated
> than specifying one for an alphabetic language, I do not think that it
> requires the full power of your standard programming languages. I
> think there are some generalities to be captured about entering
> ideographic scripts (and about alphabetic and syllabic ones), which
> could be made available as functionality in an IPE toolkit.
> I do not know very much about entering ideographic characters, but one
> way to do so that I have seen is to permit the user to type in an
> appropriate phoneticization (say pinyin or katakana/hiragana/romaji)
> and convert into ideographs at the end of words by presenting the most
> common alternate and allowing the user to select others. I do not
> know if this is the most common way of entering Chinese and Japanese
> characters, but I have used at least one product that did this for
> Japanese, and it seemed to have worked fairly well (of course my
> meagre amount of Japanese is no where near native).
> If the above is an acceptable system for entering ideographic
> characters, then perhaps a wizard built into an IPE toolkit would
> permit something like the above to be built more easily.
> The main problem I see with the above kind of solution is generating a
> mapping file from the phoneticization to the ideographs. I agree that
> this is a time-consuming task, especially for languages where such an
> animal does not already exist, certainly it is better than no input
> p.s. is it true then, that the Japanese and Chinese IPEs in MULE are
> not written using quail?
> christopher m. hogan language technologies institute
> email@example.com carnegie mellon university
> computational linguistics pittsburgh, pa
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