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CHAT: Keyboard (Was: YAC: or more exactly: yet another conlang sketch)

From:Roger Mills <romilly@...>
Date:Thursday, November 2, 2000, 1:38
Robert Hailman, replying:
>> Au contraire. "ij" is fairly common, so it saves a key stroke. More >> importantly, a fast touch-typist would tend to get the i and j keys
>> up quite frequently.
>If someone's switching i and j in "ij", it probably means they are >typing to fast for their own good.>
Oh you young'uns..... Not switching; it's simply that the i and j key-arms are so close together that even if you hit them in the right order-- fast-- they can get jammed. Typists prided themselves on their speed; there were even competitions. The history of the development of the typewriter keyboard is interesting, but need not be gone into here...... And it's been a while since I looked at the mechanism of a manual typewriter... but: the familiar qwertyuiop layout arose as a compromise between finger-strength, letter-frequency, and mechanical action. In MOST (European and English) languages, the sequence -ij- is fairly uncommon, so the arms for those letters could be close together, also they are struck by the strongest fingers (resp. Right hand 3d and index). Unfortunately, Dutch is the exception here, and got short shrift.... Probably European typists everywhere found comparable glitches. The usual location for acute/(Shift) grave was way out in right field, where the computer has ]/}; not convenient for Spaniards and French. With the computer, there no real reason to continue qwerty......, tho I've not tried an abcdefg.... keyboard. Old dogs, new tricks, who needs it. (My aunt taught shorthand/typing 1930-65-- and taught me. The Gregg shorthand never quite took, sorry to say-- tho it's interesting and rather beautiful. But the point of note-taking in college is NOT to take down every bloody word!!)
>It is faster, and it does save space, granted. It seems to me, though, >that if you can represent "ij" with two keys that already exist, there >are better things to do with the extra key, such as accents, like Irina >changed her 'ij' key to.
True enough; I filed the dot off the ? to make a nice glottal stop....... (snippy)
>.... I have an electric typewriter I got for $5 at a >garage sale, although I don't use it often. It does use those typeballs >that are supposedly changable, so that you can get more than one >typeface, but I don't have more than the Courier 10cpi ball that came >with the typewriter. I'd use it more if I had more than one ball. >
I wouldn't dream of commenting on that last sentence (biting tongue hard)...;-))))However, hang onto that machine-- in 50 years it will be a valuable antique and could finance your retirement-- or at least, provide dinner in a good restaurant.