Re: FW: Technology leads to cool fonts in Native language

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Sat Sep 16 2006 - 11:15:47 CDT

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    From: "Chris Harvey" <>
    > On Fri, 15 Sep 2006 17:29:58 -0400, Michael Everson <>
    > wrote:
    >> Ugh. ABCDEF is not a better layout than QWERTY. What a great pity. A
    >> good keyboard could easily be designed for these languages.
    > I've had keyboards available for free for both languages for a number of
    > years. The people at Salish-Kutenai knew about these, but went ahead with
    > their project anyway.

    I think the remark made by Michael is a bit unfortunate here. If I just see the keyboard layout, it is definitely not ABCDEF, even though it adopts an alphabetical order; I don't know the corresponding languages, but if those languages consider the letters with diacritics as primary letters, it is smart to put these on separate keys for easier input; Trying to map letters on a QWERTY layout would not have solved the solution easily: the various letters would have been spreaded all over the layout, with no evident position.

    It just seems that the choice for this case was to use the alphabetical order because it is mnemonic and helps grouping the keys associated to the same base letter. Also, these two keyboards don't assign keys to all basic latin letters, simply because they are absent from the language alphabets (I think that there's a more complex way to enter the missing letters, possibly with AltGr+key combinations, or similar).

    In addition, this does not violate the ISO recommandations for keyboard layouts, as these letters have arbitrary positions in the block of letter positions; who said that all layouts for languages using the Latin script had to adopt one of the three common layouts (qwerty, qwertz, azerty)?

    For those that input non latin-based languages, the key layout is another arbitrary layout.

    But let's remember that the three basic Latin layouts for letters were created quite arbitrarily (even if some are pretending that this was made to force typists to enter keys slowly and avoid blocking the mechanisms, given that the most frequent letters in European languages are composed with the left hand, and most people are right-handed, there has been nearly a century of use of these layouts, without even the mechanical keyboards being blocked by typists, who were really trained for fast typing).

    Yes it's certainly poor to adopt an ABCDEF layout for products made with most European languages, simply because it is perturbating for people that are trained on lots of keyboards now with the conventional layout. it is poor also to see keyboards whose keys are aligned in a rectangular grid (because you loose the sensitive feeling that helps keeping the fingers aligned on the correct row, and helps correcting the position of fingers in case of small deviations). Anyway, those layouts are not made to input English text easily.

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