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Computer keyboards in other Countries


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#1 of 15 Mark Sherman

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Posted November 29 2005 - 10:29 AM

I don't want to sound stupid but I thought of this the other day. What do the key boards in countries like Japan , China or other Asian Countries look like? Are they set up like the QWERTY in this country or are there more keys.


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#2 of 15 Paul McElligott

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Posted November 29 2005 - 10:53 AM

Yes and no. They have QWERTY computer keyboards where each key serves what looks like quadruple duty. I've also seen reference to "pictographic" keyboards that I don't come close to understanding.
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#3 of 15 ThomasC

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Posted November 29 2005 - 10:54 AM

What Paul said. The Chinese alphabet is on the top right, but I'm don't know what the other two characters on the bottom of each key are for (commonly used words?)

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#4 of 15 Mark Sherman

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Posted November 29 2005 - 11:17 AM

very interesting



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#5 of 15 Lew Crippen

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Posted November 29 2005 - 11:48 AM

Many Asian languages use input from a more or less standard keyboard. In order to form many of the characters, the user presses multiple keys (just as I do to get Ñ).

Many countries with languages that use the Roman alphabet have keyboards with specific keys for accents and characters that do not exist in English. For instance one keyboard layout in common use here have the Ñ located where you probably have a semicolon.

But you could probably learn to type on one with no trouble.

Even so, I use an English layout.
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#6 of 15 ChristopherDAC

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Posted November 29 2005 - 12:07 PM

The image ThomasC provides shows one common configuration, with common radicals [the "building blocks" Chinese characters are constructed from, some of which are also characters themselves]. A similar style is used in Japan, only with the Japanese syllabic "kana" characters [which then have to be transformed into the equivalent in Chinese characters, using a thing called an "Input Method Editor"; I use the same thing to type Chinese characters from a standard American keyboard]. The Japanese National Railways use a unique style of keyboard based directly on kana with no refernece to the Roman alphabet.
There used to be a style of typewriter which could accomodate the 2000+ individual Chinese characters required for business use, but of course it was so large and expensive as to be restricted to the main offices of large concerns; I do not think computer keyboards of this kind have ever appeared.


#7 of 15 Cameron Yee

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Posted November 30 2005 - 02:04 AM

If you're on a Mac with 0S X you can enable the Chinese or Japanese language packs and mess around with creating characters. I've been able to produce the characters I need but it's usually been a trial and error process because I ultimately don't know the language or system that well. I usually use this site for reference: http://zhongwen.com/
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#8 of 15 ChristopherDAC

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Posted November 30 2005 - 03:25 AM

Interesting link. I find the Windows XP IME quite straightforward to use in Japanese mode, but that's basically because the romanisation of Japanese pronunciation [ヘボーン式ローマ字] is so straightforward. If I had to deal with Pinyin I'd be lost -- which is why I chose Japanese as my gateway to oriental languages! There is the obvious disadvantage that some of the characters I want to use are not included in the IME's default setup, as being off the approved or common-use lists, and not having yet found a way to force the IME to display them I have to use kana [syllabic characters] instead.

#9 of 15 Marko Berg

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Posted November 30 2005 - 06:36 AM

In some European countries, such as Germany, the Q and Z have been reversed on the keyboard, thus the first six letters are ZWERTY.

The Scandinavian layout keyboard I'm using to type this text has a slightly smaller Enter key than the keyboard ThomasC posted a picture of. Instead of the lower left-hand corner that extends to the middle row, there is one more separate key, i.e. three more keys after the letter L. Two of these are for the "extended" characters Ö and Ä and above them, next to the letter P, is Å. The semi-colon and the colon are on the bottom row next to the letter M. Oh, and the left Shift key is shorter too, because between it and the letter Z, there is another additional key which has the <, > and the pipe characters on it.

In Windows XP it's very easy to use the language bar to change the behaviour of a keyboard so if you can type without looking at the keys, you can use the American configuration and be able to type correctly no matter what is printed on the keys.

#10 of 15 Holadem

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Posted November 30 2005 - 06:37 AM

French keyboards begins with AZERTY. Converting to one system when you're used to another is a friggin PAIN.

It's got to be easier in some ways to convert between completely different keyboards and languages than between languages that use very similar alphabets.

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#11 of 15 Cameron Yee

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Posted November 30 2005 - 06:43 AM

At one point I tried to switch to the Dvorak configuration using my Apple IIC, but this was during college and I couldn't type up my papers as quickly as I needed to. Anyone here use Dvorak system? Is it actually better?
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#12 of 15 Marko Berg

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Posted November 30 2005 - 06:47 AM

Just realised there's one more key that my keyboard has that probably isn't so everywhere: AltGr replaces the second Alt key on the right side of the space bar. This can be used to input currency symbols and other special characters that you can type on American keyboards with the Shift key.

#13 of 15 Guest__*

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Posted October 15 2009 - 04:17 PM

lol! You don't sound stupid at all! I was just on facebook looking at a friend suggestion and the letters were weird, and i was like, "hmmmm, i wonder what their keyboard looks like!" So i googled it and came across this. hahahaha!

#14 of 15 Sumnernor

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Posted October 19 2009 - 06:59 AM

I can't seem to get the quote from Marco Berg above (post 9), on the german and french and ??? the "Y"  and "Z" are reversed to the US keyboard.  Also to get @ on a german or french keyboard, one has to use "alt Gr) key which is the 1st key right of the space bar. Location is different with the German/French keyboards. Most of the puntuation is located dirrently.





#15 of 15 Sumnernor

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Posted October 23 2009 - 01:36 AM

I have just found using Google, a very good website showing the various keyboard types:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_layout

I also have a friend who worked with the japanese keybaord. It sound rather complex- each japanese character/word needs 2 bytes.