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From: firstname.lastname@example.org (klmok)
Subject: How does a computer keyboard generate ASCII code or signals?
X-Newsreader: Forte Free Agent 1.21/32.243
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 17:35:58 GMT
NNTP-Posting-Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 11:35:58 MDT
Organization: Shaw Residential Internet
On 17 Sep 2002 18:24:29 -0700, email@example.com (Dr. M Gani)
> So if anyone has
>experience of designing keyboards, please discuss how the keyboard
>sends signals to the computer. If (as I suspect) this is too elmentary
>and boring stuff for this board, please advise me privately. Also,
>please let me know if you can design a new keyboard with, say, 56
>character keys, each of which will generate 4 different characters (eg
>with pressing the key, shift+key, specialkey1+key and
>specialkey2+key). I know I can press (alt+ASCII number) to generate
>any character, but I find this user-hostile.
If I may restate Mr. Gani's question, the solution he is seeking is to
create a keyboard to output foreign language characters that extend
way beyond the English alphanumeric character set.
I am Chinese but can't read or write Chinese. I was pretty impressed
when I met someone who could type Chinese characters into Chinese
language word processing program as fast as one would touch type in
English and using a standard 101 keyboard too.
To read a Chinese newspaper 2000 characters suffice. The full Chinese
character set exceeds 80,000. It is funny how that person tried to
explain to me that it is as easy as ABC and I couldn't get how she
found that easy at all. How does one remember the complex keystroke
combinations so well described by Mr. Gani.
Anyway this is how the Chinese character word processor works. Pinyin
is Chinese written in romanized form and popularized to speed up
literacy in China. Thus standardized spellings in the English
alphabet have been assigned to each Chinese character. You can see
examples of this in pictures with propaganda banners and in advert
billboards. By now all literate Chinese can read Pinyin although most
prefer to use the simplified Chinese character set that has fewer
brush strokes than the traditional characters. Chinese is a tonal
language, therefore one alpha spelling may represent quite different
words. However, if you know Chinese (the Beijing dialect adopted as
the national language) a pinyin spelling is clear in its meaning when
taken in context of the whole sentence.
So the Pinyin spelling is typed using a standard 101 keyboard. Up
pops in a sidebar the six most commonly used Chinese characters
assigned to that spelling. Key in the number corresponding to the
letter desired and the Chinese character appears on the document. If
the desired character is not in the first block of six the typist
calls up the next block of characters and so on.
Two assumptions. First the typist must already know the Chinese
language and the traditional (or simplified) character set. Second,
she should know Pinyin. If she does not, knowing the approximate
spelling should get her there with a minimum number of possible
alternative spelling searches.
Perhaps Mr. Gani should consider a similar software solution to keying
in his language character set. Possibly he may have to introduce a
romanized form of the language first.
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