Possible to add new precomposed characters for local language in Togo?

Marcel Schneider charupdate at orange.fr
Thu Feb 25 02:35:25 CST 2016

On Tue, 23 Feb 2016 12:10:51 +0100, Philippe Verdy  wrote:

> 2016-02-23 11:21 GMT+01:00 Marcel Schneider :
> > I feel that people coming from―or studying languages of―countries and
> > communities on other continents should become able to type their language
> > in that script on any computer in France as well as in any other Latin
> > script using countries,
> > The only difference
> > between keyboard layouts of Latin script using countries should be varying
> > accessibility depending on frequencies of use.
> >
> There will remain a resistance for the base layout of letters (basically
> QWERTY vs. AZERTY vs QWERTZ) and basic punctuation
> For all other characters (including shifted or non-shifted digits, because
> this is only an issue on mechanical keyboards, not touche-on-screen
> keyboard, and mechanical keyboards almost always have a numeric keypad
> anyway), people can adapt easily, provided that the less frequent but
> essential punctuation (parentheses, apostrophe, hyphen) can be found on the
> key labels, as well as the location of dead keys for all the essential
> diacritics.
> Indeed, if there's a new standard for French, there will be new physical
> keyboards placing the labels correctly for the essential punctuation, plus
> the essential letters combined with diacritics with a single keystroke :
> but the later letters are language-dependant and not script-dependant, so
> people writing in other languages for the same script may not find them
> useful, but should be able to locate the deadkeys to get the full coverage
> they need. If a standard is adopted, the set of essential letters combined
> with diacritics should be located on a small part of the keyboard that is
> the same across all languages of the script, but tuned specifically for a
> language (or a few languages of one country).
> There will remain keyboard layouts per country differing only on those
> locations in this small part, probably reduced to only 5 language-dependant
> keys (only designed for ease of access, e.g. "éèçàù" in French are very
> frequent and will be located in that part, but Italians would like to have
> all vowels with acute, Spanish will want to have the "ñ" in this part). 

On Tue, 23 Feb 2016 10:25:09 -0700, Doug Ewell  replied:

> Philippe Verdy wrote:
> > There will remain a resistance for the base layout of letters
> > (basically QWERTY vs. AZERTY vs QWERTZ) and basic punctuation
> Philippe is absolutely right here. Most of us on this list are
> character-set and i18n wonks, and some of us have customized our own
> keyboard layouts, but we should not delude ourselves into thinking we
> represent ordinary users. Many people are emotionally tied to a
> particular keyboard layout and become very confused when faced with
> something different. Trying to persuade them to adopt a "universal"
> keyboard, so they can type characters in a language they may not know,
> is an exercise in social frustration.

On Wed, 24 Feb 2016 01:38:59 +0100, Philippe Verdy  replied:

> And this is demonstrated since long by the epxerience of alternate
> "ergonomic" layouts, used by very few people.
> We'll continue to live for long with the 3 basic layouts for Latin (QWERTY,
> AZERTY, QWERTZ). And nothing will really change without a strong national
> standard that will convince manufacturers to propose it at normal prices,
> and force software vendors to include it in the builtin layouts for their
> OSes.

When I wrote: «The only difference […] should be […]», I swapped over into an ideal world… let alone that the historic swap from QWERTY to AZERTY was triggered by an «accessibility» issue based «on frequencies of use». My purpose being not to *enforce* ergonomics as about the alphabetical layout, I fully agree with Mats Blakstad, whose «method of extending the main layout is likely to be the only useful one» as I wrote in the same e-mail―and with Doug Ewell and Philippe Verdy, whose valuable contributions came on to sustain.

All parts of the Latin script as provided by Unicode, that are not used to write local and national languages e.g. of Togo, or of France, may be hidden as on keytops, but accessible on software side, i.e. in the layout driver or in the configuration files. One other challenge in Togo would be how to give easy access to the seven supplemental letters Ɛ, Ɩ, Ɔ, Ǝ, Ʋ, Ʊ and Ŋ, while the five French precomposed letters are to be maintained, let alone Œ and Æ―the latter being rather seldom in French however―that are part of the new governmental requirements in France, among other characters like the angle quotation marks, called guillemets-chevrons[1].

Generally talking, I canʼt help believe that providing the ability to type any Latin script using language on any Latin keyboard would be a good idea. Again, that is feasible without overloading the keyboard with dead keys, just providing the most frequently used ones, six in Togo as I can see.


[1] Vers une norme française pour les claviers informatiques - Langue française et langues de France - Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication. (2016, January 15). Retrieved January 19, 2016, from http://www.culturecommunication.gouv.fr/Politiques-ministerielles/Langue-francaise-et-langues-de-France/Politiques-de-la-langue/Langues-et-numerique/Les-technologies-de-la-langue-et-la-normalisation/Vers-une-norme-francaise-pour-les-claviers-informatiques

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