Re: Salish-Kootenay keyboards

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Tue Sep 19 2006 - 06:37:27 CDT

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    From: "William J Poser" <>
    > A fact to consider in evaluating these keyboards is
    > that both Flathead (= Montana Salish) and Kootenai
    > are languages in extremis, with very few speakers, all
    > elderly, and no realistic prospect of revitalization.
    > I'm not positive about Kootenai, but I am certain that
    > there are no monolingual speakers of Flathead, or even
    > people who are Flathead dominant. Therefore, everyone
    > who will be typing in Flathead, and in all probability
    > this also holds of Kootenai, will be dominant in English
    > and educated in English. I don't have sufficient expertise
    > in keyboard-ology to know the implications of this, but
    > these are languages for which the best keyboards (in a technical
    > sense, leaving aside political issues) will be those
    > comfortable for people who learn to type in English and
    > type primarily in English.

    You seemtohave just demonstrated that these rare languages won't be supported by a lot of native people. So the use will be mostly academic, and nothing demonstrates that English will be the primary language known by those studying old languages. The academic community will use various international keyboards, and they may have documents in the public libraries of various European countries, even if they know English.

    From what I have seen, it's just a on-screen keyboard, and on-screen keyboards work better and are easier with a one-click interface, where the alphabetic order is much easier. Now if you consider the population of aged people that still use the language, the one-click approach also seems better as this population is probably more affected by disabilities.

    The good question to ask is not much that of compatibility with traditional keyboards, but that of usability or more precisely, accessibility. The demo screenshots are just demos; the layouts must still be adapted, and each coimmunity (aged people, international academic searchers and libraries) will use their own tools and input methods, what is important is that the layout demonstrates that all the needed characters are mapped and easily accessible).

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