Archive for the ‘keyboards’ Category

Halq’eméylem class offering

23 March 2011

According to “New language course available to all ages” on the Agassiz Observer site today, Halq’eméylem (as Halkomelem (hur) is known in the Upriver dialect) classes will be offered to people of all ages after spring break, which ends next week. The classes will be offered at the Agassiz Centre for Education (ACE) in Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada.

As of 2000, there were a little more than 200 speakers according to the Ethnologue report. “Cowichan elder keeping the language alive” on the Cowichan News Leader site cites 278 speakers, though interviewee Luschiim says that number is too high.

Also, according to Luschiim, true knowledge requires knowing not only your own family but the family and kinship of others, a demonstration of how language and culture are closely intertwined, and an example of how it is important to maintain language to ensure culture can continue.

To learn Halkomelem, try Tatul’ut tthu Hul’q’umi’num’, a nine-course series including pictures and audio. To type in Halkomelem, see the Language GeekDictionary of Upriver Halkomelem is available from University of California Press for USD 90/GBP 62, and the e-book version is available for USD 72.

Carlinga for Typing Diacritics

17 March 2011

Accents, circumflexes, cedillas and umlauts. Four types of diacritic marks commonly used in European and other languages. But English rarely uses any. Often it will retain diacritics when first borrowing a word, then gradually lose them. “Depot” is rarely written anymore as depôt (or dépôt) and coöperation has become cooperation.

This lack of need for diacritics meant that in the past, when computers had more limitations in memory and processing power, the English-speaking people who developed software did not include diacritics. For people needing diacritics, this created a problem that has never been completely resolved.

For North American languages, the Language Geek provides an excellent set of fonts and keyboard layouts to assist in typing—at no charge.

Carlinga is another excellent resource. Also free of charge, Carlinga works in the background waiting for you to type a pre-programmed key sequence, then it silently jumps in and replaces the sequence with the programmed equivalent.

For example, type ,\e and Carlinga will convert it into è. Type ,/h and you get an ħ. Or ,/l to get a ł. Generally, it does not matter what software you are using, though some software programs may not support the characters (in which case you are out of luck for that software).

Another nice feature of Carlinga is that it can be modified in case your character is not pre-programmed.

Carlinga comes with a PDF file showing all the pre-programmed characters, but if you need to find a character not in the list, see List of Unicode characters. If you have Word for Windows, you can also find characters through the insert symbol feature. On Word 2007/2010, it is Insert > Symbol > More symbols. Unicode fonts with lots of characters to look for include Arial Unicode MS and Lucinda Sans Unicode.

Carlinga requires no installation or uninstallation.

For fonts supporting a wide range of characters, see the Language Geek and Unicode fonts, one of which is the pleasant-looking Doulos SIL font.

TPR, Comics and Movies in Seneca Classroom

14 March 2011

Seneca (see) is a language spoken in Ontario, New York and Oklahoma. Known in Seneca as Onödowága or Onötowáka, the language had 175 older speakers in the 1990s according to the Ethnologue.

Yet the language is being taught and an educator has started a blog called Seneca Language Revitalization and Documentation. According to the blog, Seneca is being taught for 40 minutes a day in public schools at the middle and high school levels.

A post put up yesterday mentions the use of TPR or total physical response, a method that incorporates physical movement of students into language learning. TPR was developed by James J. Asher and articles are available on TPR World. Also mentioned are the use of movies. The blog post points out Animoto, a free tool for making movies from images and video clips, and Xtranormal, whose free State program allows you to make animated movies.

Another post talks about using comic strips in the education program. Seneca has a strong oral tradition, and students use the comic strip as a guide for telling a story. The tool used is ToonDoo, which appears to offer free comic strip making online.

To learn more about Seneca, see the Education page on the Seneca Nation of Indians website. See also the incredible Seneca Language Topic Reference Guide (PDF), a document about 100 pages in length covering vocabulary, grammar and culture. To type in Seneca on your computer, see the Language Geek.

Accents & Installing Foreign Languages

5 August 2006

My first Windows machine was Japanese Windows 3.1. It required quite a bit of extra software to get Japanese capability, and it was slow. Each version of Windows has provided more international support, and beginning with Windows 2000, you can sometimes get international characters to work with programs that don’t explicitly support interntional character sets.

If you just need accents, umlauts, and tildes, the easiest option for English Windows is the US International keyboard. Type an apostrophe (‘) followed by a vowel to get an acute (rising) accent: á, é, í, ó, ú. Type the grave (downward) accent (upper left on the keyboard) followed by a vowel for that accent: à, è, ì, ò, ù. (more…)

Quick Key

5 July 2006

Here’s a neat utility that displays a set of characters that can be easily selected and dropped into your software, such as Microsoft Word.

To operate, select File -> Open and find the character set you want to use, such as Cherokee or Latin Extended-A for a selection of letters with diacritical marks (like accents). If your language isn’t available, you can put together a set and even send it to Nathanael Jones for inclusion in future versions. (more…)

Keyboards for NA West Coast Languages

24 June 2006

Keyboards for languages in the US Northwest and Canadian West Coast are available at Language Geek. It looks like you need Keyman to use them, though.