Re: Pan-Sahelian keyboard project (French layout)

From: Don Osborn (
Date: Tue Feb 10 2004 - 18:02:05 EST

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    Philippe, I have taken the liberty of adding this to the collection of
    diverse African language keyboard projects at .

    One of the things I've been interested to promote is getting a clearer idea
    of what the character needs are where and for what uses (via the A12n page &
    A12n-collaboration). It does appear that the Unicode repertoire currently
    covers most language needs. Manageable keyboard layouts may necessitate
    limiting range of coverage to several countries (and the languages within
    them) or a subregion. The Sahel, in my opinion, offers a relatively simpler
    subset of issues to start addressing (tone markings in the tonal languages
    of the region are generally not needed in most circumstances).

    The issues of combinations for diacritics and tones present some
    complications for some languages, but here too it is best to analyze the
    issues looking at specific languages. For instance some languages of
    southern Nigeria, notably Igbo and Yoruba, with dot-under characters and
    greater importance of marking tone, pose some complications (some of these
    have been explored on the Igbo and Yoruba boards - and , respectively).

    These are just some too quick comments (I'm running up against various

    Don Osborn

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Philippe Verdy" <>
    To: "Unicode Mailing List" <>
    Sent: Tuesday, February 10, 2004 7:27 PM
    Subject: Pan-Sahelian keyboard project (French layout)

    > Here you'll find a tentative French-based Pan-Sahelian keyboard layout.
    > - in Excel format:
    > - as a PDF snapshot:
    > The layout uses AltGr and AltGr+Shift maps for non-African characters and
    > supports most of the European languages, with which Pan-Sahelian languages
    > used. The layout is fully compatible with an existing French keyboard
    > (yes it has the Euro, and all French AltGr keys), to minimize the cost of
    > building such keyboards, which could be distributed as a low-cost plate of
    > plastic stickers to put on an existing French keyboard.
    > It uses an "Afr" deadkey which can be entered prior to the African
    > entered without the AltGr key. Some keyboards support a "Fn" key which
    could be
    > used as a modifier (working like a second AltGr key).
    > Two snapshots are displayed:
    > - one simplified to just display the important characters in the AltGr and
    > maps. When a character has both a lowercase and uppercase version, only
    > lowercase is displayed centered vertically. This enhances the
    > readability/usability of the keyboard (exactly like on classic keyboards
    > lowercase unaccented letters are showing only the uppercase version
    > vertically on the top).
    > - the second snapshot shows the complete assignments. Unused positions are
    > with a dark grey background.
    > Some African keys are shown on a redish background (in the Excel version)
    > characters which must be composed in Unicode, and are still approximative
    > possibly candidates for addition in the Unicode standard. These keys cause
    > problems for now, as it is not clear how these letters will be encoded in
    > Unicode: as a combining sequence? The most problematic characters are
    > African letters with hooks.
    > I'd like suggestions about these missing characters (sometimes only the
    > lowercase letter is assigned not the uppercase one)...

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