Summary: Indic keyboards

Date: Fri Apr 21 2000 - 08:55:09 EDT

I received a lot of good stuff, especially through private messages. I
collect the answers here for anybody else interested in this.

Other useful information on the topic is in a recent thread on this list:
"IME of Devanagari", started by Shigeki Moro on 25 March 2000.

1) Can you point me to any online examples of keyboard layouts?

        - You should really visit the section about
keyboards has a nice tutorial on how to use it.

        - Unfortunately, there are no standard layouts that I've come
across. Maybe folks from Apple and Microsoft would have pointers to keyboard
layouts that they use.
This last one looks interesting: - go to DOE
Phonetic Layout.

        - For Windows 2000, you can visit

        - Visit and download 'Winscript' from Free
download. They offer 'Doe' and 'Phonetic' layouts for Devanagari. Any one
can learn in 10 minutes.

2) Are Indic keyboard character-oriented or glyph oriented?

        - Both exist; I believe the former are called "phonetic".

        - A majority that I've seen are character-oriented.

        - In Windows 2000, an ISCII kbd is being used. Character encoding.
For dead consonants, you need to type virama (a separate key on the kbd).

3) Are keys typed in logical order (as in ISCII/Unicode) or in visual order?

        - The standard, INSCRIPT, definitively use the phonetic order (it
is a simple layout that generates ISCII codes; no elaborated software).

        - The natural way would be logical order.

        - In Windows 2000, ISCII kbds are phonetic. The logical phonetic
order is used.

4) What is, if any, the relationship between vowel letters (word initials)
and vowel signs (matras)?

        - In Windows 2000, we use two different key strokes for dependant
and independent vowels. See keyboard layout in

5) Do Indian keyboards have any "dead keys"?

        - For Windows 2000, no. You need to type two keys in order to get a
combined character (shaped from two different glyphs).

6) How are typewriters' keyboards different from computer keyboards?

        - Typewriter keyboards layouts are glyph oriented (guess why ;-)

        - Very much ;-) In order to create a typewriter kind of kbd, you
need a mechanism similar to an IME.

(My question #6 was silly, I guess ;-)


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