Are there any Colemak users out there who type a lot in Swedish and/or Finnish? Aren't the AltGr combinations... unpractical? Does it work? Is it better than Swedish and Finnish QWERTY? You people who type in other languages which use several special characters, what are your experiences?
Non-Swedish/Finnish people, for your information, both Swedish and Finnish have a set of special charcters, Å/å, Ä/ä and Ö/ö in Swedish and Ä/ä and Ö/ö in Finnish. In Swedish only ä is used significantly, å (means creek) and ö (means island) more seldom. In Finnish, however, both ä and ö are fairly common, in words such as "häiriölähde" (source of annoyment), something I hope a Colemak conversion would not be.
Thanks for your replies!
- Swedish as mothertongue, high school in English, University in Finnish, a trilingual girlfriend whose mothertongue is Finnish and looking for something better than QWERTY...
I know what you mean, as I have the same issue with the umlaut-characters ä, ö and ü used in German. Their location in Colemak needs some getting used to. I for one would have preferred to have ä on Alt+a, ö on Alt+o and ü on Alt+u (that's not the location they're usually found on a German or Swiss German layout, but rather a slightly modified US Colemak layout).
In that location however are á, ó and ú. I assume those are characters used in Spanish, which is the second national language of the US, so I understand the motivation to do it this way.
Personally I've been getting used to the unexpected umlaut locations, but then again I don't use them very often. One of these days I'll put them where they belong - for German. I guess it's up to you to do the same for Swedish/Finnish, if you need it done (or maybe someone has done it already)
BTW, are the Finnish/Swedish letter frequencies sufficiently close to English for Colemak to make sense for you? German is close: 9 of the 10 most frequent letters are the same as in English, with "U" vs. "O" being the exception. Update: According to that Wiki page, Swedish also shares 9 of the English top ten, the difference being the "L" vs. "H".
P.S. For non-Mac users the occurrences of "Alt" in my post need to be understood as "AltGr".
Last edited by boli (11-Jun-2008 07:49:56)
You'll certainly want to use proper national layouts. Not only the special characters but also the placements of the symbols (they're rare and so shouldn't be moved around from where you're used to finding them) matter. The AltGr strategy is good enough for dabbling but not at all good enough for a native typist.
I vaguely remember a Swedish user from earlier, but I can't quite remember whether he put up a layout file for download. I think he did, for Unix. What's your preferred system(s)?
For German I thought there were already made files? Maybe only for Windows; not sure.
If you're having trouble making the layout files, we can probably help but we need to know what you're using (I can do Windows and dabble in *nix and Mac too). Shai hasn't got the time to maintain all language files so the forum does that.
I'm Swedish. Subjectively I think Colemak is more comfortable than qwerty for Swedish, but it is not as comfortable as typing English. If I were you, I would perhaps not switch if you expect to be typing mainly Swedish. There are a lot more same-finger digraphs like kn, nk, kl.
I've put the umlaut characters on ';[ if one assumes a us layout. I switch languages by pressing caps lock so I retain those characters for English.
I type mainly in Swedish. When I'm not doing serious business, I just write aao instead of äåö. When doing (school)work or similar, I use the normal alt gr combinations to get them, with a little speed penalty.
I've found some of the digraphs to be annoying, but what's interesting about that is that I type and suddenly find myself thinking, "hell, that word was inconvenient". And the fact that I notice what words are inconvenient should be proof enough that Colemak works better than QWERTY at least.
Also, about the special symbols: they do not take long to learn where they are. And the placement is a lot more intelligent than on swedish QWERTY.
Current Colemak: http://hi-games.net/typing-test,60/watch?u=1388
The national QWERTY variants are horrid. Nowadays I use a US Colemak with the æøå added in fairly convenient places and I don't feel I need a separate national variant anymore.
In Norwegian I've felt the odd digraphs too. The 'r' and 'k' are much more common here than in English and particularly the latter one causes some mayhem. But I honestly don't think that it matters much since the Colemak is so well optimized for almost everything else and learning/maintaining/switching between two layouts would be a hassle.
Last edited by DreymaR (15-Jan-2010 08:39:25)
In Norwegian I've felt the odd digraphs too.
Iggy_Koopa in #colemak pointed out the Swedish word 'mjölk', and I suppose it's of similar awkwardness as your nynorsk 'mjølk', except you get a pinky where we need to use the... weakest finger, whatever it's called in English.
Current Colemak: http://hi-games.net/typing-test,60/watch?u=1388
Heh, yes - I am a Nynorsk user incidentially and I can confirm that 'mjølk' is a bit tricky.
But it's not as bad once you learn the ropes:
- The 'm' is separate from the rest, so it won't be a fast rolling word; but it's not that common a word either (unless you're a farmer) so that's acceptable.
- Since my 'ø' sits in the QWERTY 'B' position (as you probably know, I move the ZXCVB keys one step to the left for ergonomy, keeping their fingering but straightening the wrist), the 'jø' digraph is a fast hand alternation once I've gotten my right index finger in position.
- I use alternative fingering for the last 'lk', making it really simple to go from the left-hand-typed 'ø' to a middle-index 'roll' from top to bottom row. No problem once you're used to it; of course, it has to be learnt pretty much like the layout itself.
Not so hard. More importantly though, I don't type it often at all. There will be awkward words with any layout, but the big difference is that now that I'm on Colemak I notice the bad ones because they stand out! :D
(Typing 'kjæ' as in 'kjærlighet' for instance, is still a bitch but then love has always been a bitch. ;) )
Last edited by DreymaR (27-Jan-2010 10:01:58)
In my opinion, they don't have quite the same problem! Getting your index finger from 'm' to 'j' in a jiffy is the real problem with the word, and I haven't found good alternative fingering for that digraph. Then, most people will have their 'ø' hidden away on some AltGr combo which fortunately I don't have to struggle with.
I see how the 'el' digraph in Dutch (and Norwegian Bokmål!) will present a similar hurdle though. I'm tempted to finger it normally/un-alternatively but then the fingering for the 'lk' is shot and I'm no further. Unless you're extraordinarily brave and use your thumb for the 'k' after hitting the 'l' with your index finger!
In contrast, with alternative fingering of the 'lk' digraph the word 'milk' will flow smoothly enough for me.
Gawd, debating the finer points of fingering technique always makes me feel delightfully geeky! :D
Last edited by DreymaR (27-Jan-2010 15:41:37)
You can hit "mj" the same way you hit "lk" - just use your middle finger for the "m".
If it were a frequent problem, the Colemak layout would likely have been slightly different (unless it happened to be totally nonextistent in English and frequent in Norwegian; fortunately, that happens very rarely).
Since it is a rare problem, I don't feel the benefit of learning a special fingering for it. Your suggested fingering does work but it's a bit of an effort and unlike the 'lk' digraph it's very rare indeed. So in theory yes but in practice no to that suggestion. :)