Re: Latin-script keyboard layout (was RE: Quick Question About Korean Input Methods)

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Sun Jan 03 2010 - 18:08:12 CST

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    On 3 Jan 2010, at 23:33, Marc Durdin wrote:

    > Deadkeys are not 'intuitive', just familiar (kinda like QWERTY or
    > dare I say AZERTY). They are an old compromise from typewriters.
    > When you write diacritics with a pen, do you write them before or
    > after the base letter? When you press a deadkey (on a Windows
    > system), you get no visual feedback. So the naive user then presses
    > the deadkey again. And gets *two* non-combining forms of the
    > character. There is nothing intuitive about that.

    Oh, nonsense. This argument holds no water. The Shift Key is just as
    "non-intuitive". When you write letters with a pen, there is no Shift
    Key for capital letters.

    > Deadkeys are limited: they make some sense for combining
    > diacritics. They make no sense for any other character.

    This is completely untrue. I made use of a variety of non-diacritic
    deadkeys in the Irish keyboard I designed: A key I call "specials"
    allows me to access ƣƿǝʀθȝʊɪɸ (qwertyuip) and
    əſẟɡɣƕƞĸɬ (asdfghjkl) and ʒχɔʌβŋɯ (zxcvbnm). I use a
    number of these very frequently in medievalist and linguistic work.
    Another Key I call hooks is there for pseudo-diacritics:
    ʠỽꜥʈƭƴʋɩi҆ƥ (qwertyuiop) ꜣʃɗƒɠɦƙ (asdfghk)
    ȥɖƈɓɲ (zxcbn). And with these two keys and alt I can access even
    more. ɑʍɹꞃꞇʏᵿᵻɤɸ ɐꞅꝺꝼᵹʰʲ№˚ꞁ
    ɒᵈˠᵇꝿ. This is useful, mnemonic, and a great use of keyboard

    > But even for combining diacritics they are not great. Typing the
    > diacritic after the letter* makes much more sense. Things are even
    > worse for multiple combining diacritics.

    Just an assertion. And yes, my keyboard does allow me to type multiple
    diacritics after letters, where necessary. But deadkeys are much more
    convenient for general typing (which I do regularly in a number of

    Michael Everson *

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