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It is time to standardize the Chuvash Keyboard Layout

Proto-Bulgarian Runes. Wonder if they are supported in Unicode :)

Proto-Bulgarian Runes (Chuvash language is the closest language to the Proto-Bulgar language). Wonder if they are supported in Unicode 🙂

The Chuvash Computer Keyboard layouts have existed since 2001, but due to the lack for Unicode support we were forced to use the look-alike letters  from other latin-based keyboard layouts. On Linux The Chuvash keyboard layout was added in 2007 and Linux is still the only operating system that has a native keyboard layout for Chuvash language. On Windows we have used the Keyboard Layout Creator and distributed it as an executable file.

Today, when Windows XP is not supported anymore, the majority of users now have full support for the correct Chuvash letters from the Extended Cyrillic table. These four Chuvash letters are “additional” to the Russian alphabet: ӐӖҪ and Ӳ.

Now when new “keyboards” appear on Android, in web browser (they use the standardized letters) and hopefully in Windows and iOS, we have to consider put the correct letters into the keyboard layouts. For Linux the /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/ru file has to be updated:

// Chuvash language layout
// Anatoly Mironov @mirontoli
partial alphanumeric_keys
xkb_symbols "cv" {
    include "ru(winkeys)"

    name[Group1]= "Chuvash";

    key.type[group1]="FOUR_LEVEL";

    key        <AD03> {        [      Cyrillic_u,	Cyrillic_U,
                            0x010004f3,    0x010004f2      ]       };
    key        <AD05> {        [      Cyrillic_ie,     Cyrillic_IE,
                       0x010004d7,	0x010004d6     ]       };
    key        <AC04> {        [      Cyrillic_a,	Cyrillic_A,
                          0x010004d1,  0x010004d0      ]       };
    key        <AB03> {        [      Cyrillic_es,     Cyrillic_ES,
                            0x010004ab,    0x010004aa      ]       };

    include "level3(ralt_switch)"
};

Impact

This switch will have a huge impact on the Chuvash language. Much of content on forums, websites and Chuvash Wikipedia will be hardly searchable. But we have to do it, to standardize and prepare for the future. The Chuvash language Committee is not against it, despite it has not been updated the guidelines for using letters from 2009.

Edit 2014-04-30

The bug in the freedesktop bugzilla was solved very quickly. In fact, in the new Ubuntu 14.04 you’ll find a correct keyboard layout:

chuvash-keyboard-map

Here is the source code:
chuvash-keyboard-xkb

partial alphanumeric_keys
xkb_symbols "cv" {
    include "ru(winkeys)"

    name[Group1]= "Chuvash";

    key.type[group1]="FOUR_LEVEL";

    key        <AD03> {        [      Cyrillic_u,	Cyrillic_U,
                          U04F3,    U04F2      ]       };
    key        <AD05> {        [      Cyrillic_ie,     Cyrillic_IE,
                          U04D7,    U04D6     ]       };
    key        <AC04> {        [      Cyrillic_a,	Cyrillic_A,
                          U04D1,    U04D0      ]       };
    key        <AB03> {        [      Cyrillic_es,     Cyrillic_ES,
                          U04AB,    U04AA      ]       };

    include "level3(ralt_switch)"
};

Update 2015-01-01

Today chuvash.org has switched to Cyrillic letters. I also submitted a pull request in momentjs to update the labels.

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2 responses to “It is time to standardize the Chuvash Keyboard Layout

  1. Viktor V Viktor 2014-08-16 at 12:06

    You said it: 1) the switch will make many resources unsearchable.
    Plus: 2) There’s just a handful of typeface that support it, which will have a negative effect on Chuvash media appearance. The esthetic component is important.

    • Anatoly Mironov 2018-09-21 at 07:22

      Sorry for the late reply. Now it is 2018. There are still many fonts that do not support, but the main fonts look good on social networks, on the web pages, on the mobile. Let’s move on! We’ve got new keyboard apps for iOS and Android that use the “right” letters. The English Wiktionary uses the unicode Cyrillic letters in the Chuvash words. Convincing the world that we “have to” use the temporary, odd and “old” letters is not the way to go. We have to use the standards. In the long run we will win on that: Searchable accumulated Chuvash art and literature on the web, dictionaries, spellcheck and suggestions. Until the majority (like Hypar news etc) switches to standards, we’ll be treated technically as two languages, which is not good at all for Chuvash as an endangered language.

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