Dead and Compose keys (was: Re: Romanized Singhala got great reception in Sri Lanka)

Doug Ewell doug at
Mon Mar 17 09:04:26 CDT 2014

Michael Everson <everson at evertype dot com> wrote:

>>> The idea here was that characters not on an ordinary QWERTY keyboard
>>> could be entered _using_an_ordinary_QWERTY_keyboard._ Are there any
>>> dead keys on an _ordinary_ (i.e. not one using an
>>> international(ized) driver) QWERTY keyboard?
>> Not on the standard vanilla U.S. keyboard. It has to be provided by
>> the OS, via a driver, just as Compose key support has to be provided
>> by the OS.
> Please distinguish between "keyboard" which is a piece of hardware and
> "keyboard layout" which is a software input method.

Sorry for the shorthand. Everything I am talking about is software. I 
don't think there is such a thing as a physical dead key on a computer 
keyboard. The Compose key on *nix systems may be a physical key, but it 
doesn't have any special ability to compose characters unless given that 
ability by software.

"An ordinary QWERTY keyboard," as Jean-François put it, can generate any 
character, Latin or Sinhala or whatever, so long as the hardware has the 
right software behind it.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, USA | @DougEwell ­ 

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