View the h-hausa Discussion Logs by month
View the Prior Message in h-hausa's April 2007 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
View the Next Message in h-hausa's April 2007 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
Visit the h-hausa home page.
Thank you Abdalla for your informative reply. It seems that as far as the technology has come in providing for languages like Hausa that have some extra characters or diacritics, there still is a way to go. The state of the art at this time seems to be: Concerning keyboards: * A number of keyboard layouts/drivers set up in Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator or Tavultesoft Keyman that in effect reassign keys on whatever physical keyboard you are using. These can be switched in and out to type different languages. The problems here is that cybercafés and telecenters do not install them and even if they did, there are no widespread standards and, as you mention, nothing on the keyboard itself to tell you which keys control what. * There is a production keyboard called Konyin that does have the keys indicated for several extended and diacritic characters for Hausa and other Nigerian languages. This is apparently not widespread. * There is now a version of the Tavultesoft Keyman for the web - you can install it on a website - called "Keyman Web." It is another way to switch the key assignments temporarily to type whatever characters or scripts. I have only tried one demo for Dinka, but here is the webpage describing the product: http://www.keymanweb.com/ * Basically it seems that there are technologies available, some of them free, but they are not widely known. Concerning fonts: * Unicode is really the only way to go for compatibility these days. An increasing number of fonts are available with extended Latin ranges used by many African languages (and some languages on other continents as well). * Also I think that in blogging software like on wikis these days you don't have to enter the code values for extended characters. Editing in HTML in some programs might be another matter. * The work you have done on the ttf font can be used for certain things but because you have (if I understand correctly) reassigned codepoints in the font to different characters, that means that anyone without that exact font can't read something composed in it. Better to use a Unicode font and a Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator or Tavultesoft Keyman keyboard layout to reassign the keys. Basically, on your computer, when you switch the keyboard layout, you'd use the same keys you are used to, but get output in Unicode that could be shared universally, put on the blog or other website etc. Smith's substitution is well known I think, but even this does not seem to be used much in the Hausaphone webspace. I'm not sure I'd agree with him on the incomprehensibility of the hooked consonants, having dealt with a similar set in Fulfulde/Pular over the years - they look rather like the base characters. But that seems to be a side issue - what is written in a language is written first for people who know the language. Hope this helps and look forward to hearing more about developments with Hausa on the web. Don -- Wannan wasik'ar i-mel ce daga H-Hausa, inda za'a cigaba da hira game da harshe da al'adu da tarihi da sauran lamura na Hausawa da mak'wabtansu.