From: Philippe Verdy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Sep 17 2005 - 13:23:15 CDT
From: "Marion Gunn" <email@example.com>
> That is a very important point, especially after the resolution of the
> technical obstacles of the past.
> Over fifteen years ago, the argument against facilitating accents on
> capitals in my language (Irish) on computers was that the French had
> given up and accepted defeat on that point.
> But they had not, in reality, and neither had we, and it seems to me
> very strange to beg to question such facts fifteen years later, now that
> we have, happily, achieved what we want.
What is even more strange is that, even in absence of a standard layout to
add support for missing accents, Microsoft has PARTLY extended the French
keyboard in Widows drivers, by SILENTLY replacing the keys for ASCII
backquote and ASCII tilde by deadkeys for the COMBINING GRAVE ACCENT and
Such extension was possible and easily accepted because it did not require
changing the key caps on existing keyboards. But the change of input method
for TILDE was in reality not needed for French (that has no letter combined
with tilde), and only adding support for grave accent is also not enough.
Well in French, grace accent is only used over E and A, and the real need
for E WITH GRAVE is in the middle of words, and never (or rarely?) on
initials, where a capital version would be needed (I can't remember a valid
example of a French word starting by "è", even in proper names).
(Note that in normal French, the use of capitals is much more strictly
regulated than in English, so that writing styles with all-capitals words
are considered not acceptable, as well as titlecase, meaning that capitals
in the middle of Words should be used only for special cases like acronyms
and foreign proper names such as "McDonald", normally written in
unabbreviated form "MacDonald")
So the only use of those extension is for A with GRAVE which is common alone
as the leading word of a sentence, where it must be written in capital.
What I want to say there, is that, even in absence of an AFNOR standard, a
de facto standard can (and has already) be developed by large software
providers (such as Microsoft or Apple), to add the missing letters for
French (and such extension has already been added when the Euro symbol was
mapped on [AltGr]+[E]). Given that grave accent and tilde deadkeys were
mapped on the first keyboard row with AltGr, it seems consistent to place
the missing diacritics there too for the missing ACUTE ACCENT (it could be
mapped as a dead key on [AltGr]+[1 &]), and then add a precombined CAPITAL
LATIN LETTER C WITH CEDILLA just on the left with [Shift]+[²] where there's
currently no standard assignment, and where various vendors place a
"superior 3" or a "superior n").
Only these two are needed to make the French keyboard complete for French,
and it "requires" changing only two key cap labels on physical French
keyboards. It is also easy to remember for users of existing keyboards.
Note that dead keys for DIARESIS and CIRCUMFLEX ACCENT already exist on all
French keyboards and do not require additional extensions. The ASCII
CIRCUMFLEX is also mapped (proprietarily) as [AltGr]+[9ç] and is a duplicate
assignment because it can more easuly be entered with the circumflex dead
key plus space (except that autorepeated characters don't work on letters
composed with dead keys, a defect of the keyboard driver in my opinion,
rather than in the keyboard layout).
-> This means that a CAPITAL LETTER C WITH CEDILLA would have been better
placed as [AltGr]+[9c] instead of placing the ASCII CIRCUMFLEX there; but it
would have changed the classic behavior of French keyboards.
The arguments about costs implied by such change is also clearly not
justified when you see the effective cost implied when 3 completely physical
keys were added by Microsoft for Windows function keys and the menu key, and
when even the keyboard manufacturers already add their own supplementary
keys (such as Acer for its notebooks)... I see really no excuse why large
software providers do not provide such basic extension to correctly support
French, as required by all official French normative and consultative
organisations (Délégation à la langue française, Académie Française, ...),
even in absence of an AFNOR standard.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat Sep 17 2005 - 13:26:50 CDT