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Colemak vs. Qwerty Frequency Diagrams

  • Started by Checkit
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  • From: Oslo, Norway
  • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
  • Posts: 4,680

Adding rare characters shouldn't be a problem, but it also shouldn't matter. Those won't show up on the figure to any noticeable extent anyway.

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DreymaR said:

KeyFreqs_Intl+E_blackbody.gif
This image shows a weighted average of key frequencies in the 4 biggest Western languages using Latin letters - English, Spanish, French and German. [...]
I added a stipulated number of 500 M to the English-speaking figure [because so many use it as a second language], bringing it to 1010 M English "users" in total versus 643 M Spanish+Portuguese "users".

I was looking at this again, and I must say it's really fascinating how the yellows stay on the home row while the bright reds are in the easily reachable upper/lower row spots and the darker tones in the corners as they should be - even if this is an image of weighted language usage!

As long as I tried to make realistic estimates of how a foreigner in the Western world would use the keyboard, this image would show pretty much the same: That Colemak has a really nice frequency distribution, while QWERTY obviously is all over the place and Dvorak is good but "leaks out" in the upper right-hand area so the pinky and ring finger get too much to do. Dvorak has frequent inwards index finger stretches as well (U's placement on home position and I on a stretch being the major contributing single factor).

The US Dvorak (as opposed to the Norwegian one!) is really good at avoiding the bottom left-hand row which used to be very problematic to me. Now that I've shifted that one I feel that the CVB are quite all right; the ZX aren't supposed to be easy but they're not horrible either. I think the relatively high frequency of the C in languages like Spanish/Portuguese shouldn't be a problem in light of this.

While QWERTY is a mess in general, at least you can see that the outward corner positions aren't too badly off. With the notable excepton of N, the bottom row is mostly okay. The right-hand home row though, could make a brave man whimper. If - perish the thought! - I were to use QWERTY again, I'd consider using a different home position, with the two middle fingers gravitating one row up (and the left-hand index finger hitting C!). Sounds radical, but it might actually help by the looks of things. I think some QWERTY users do that to some extent.

Just glancing at the images, it might appear that the right-hand bias is quite substantial in Colemak. But the images aren't designed to answer such questions and could easily be misread if so applied. How much is the hand weight percentage of Colemak in English, again?

Last edited by DreymaR (22-Oct-2008 08:22:55)

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  • From: Horsham, West Sussex, UK
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DreymaR said:

If - perish the thought! - I were to use QWERTY again, I'd consider using a different home position, with the two middle fingers gravitating one row up (and the left-hand index finger hitting C!). Sounds radical, but it might actually help by the looks of things. I think some QWERTY users do that to some extent.

That's pretty much what I was asking in this post. I tend to do something like that when I'm qwertying on my laptop and I do find it more comfortable than the focus on the home row since you can spread your wrists out a bit more. There's a kind of natural resting position of ASDC and HUIO, and my fingers tend to gravitate to those positions, though it does make for a lot of hopping and stretching about.

Last edited by jammycakes (22-Oct-2008 09:45:01)
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International Keyboards - I was looking for information / research into a common keyboard that is covering all characters+accents and also effective to use across multiple languages.
I came across your site & keyboard layout; however, I don't see anything specifically in this topic in the forum.
I can see that the frequency & movement analysis appears to have been mostly undertaken around English spellings, apart form a couple of mentions of other languages. I'm really curious to know if anything changes significantly with other Latin-based words.
Ideally I'd like to find a layout that can be overlaid with Cyrillic & Greek lettering too.
i.e. could Colemac form the basis of a truely  international keyboard?

Another thing that frequently puzzles me is the 'modifier' keys (Control / Option / Shift / Function / Windows etc) are not always mirrored for both Left & Right hands - that 'bottom row' on the keyboard seem to be an ideal position for 'press & hold' with either thumb. Perhaps not perfect for those occasion when two or more 'modifier' keys are required, but if those keys are repeated, that also becomes easier.

Definitely like the idea of removing the CapLock key - so much re-typing due to slightly missing 'A'!  It also makes sense to have access to such a frequently used  function by both hands... what about 'Tab" and 'Enter"?

Came across this resource - thought it might be interesting:
https://www.lexilogos.com/keyboard/index.htm

Thanks.

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Make sure to check out https://colemak.com/Multilingual, it's the standard Colemak AltGr layout for other Latin-based alphabets.  Although many forum members created their own custom AltGr layouts tailored to their specific needs.

For (Russian) Cyrillic take a look at Rulemak, for Greek look here, both are transliterated Colemak equivalents, and are available by default on Linux.

You'll find a lot more contributions on this forum, eg. DreymaR's set of localized Colemak variants.

Last edited by ghen (11-Jul-2019 20:17:39)
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I believe that my Colemak[eD] is the most comprehensive way to access special symbols and accents. See my Big Bag topic(s). Often-used special symbols/letters are on AltGr mappings but the biggest possibilities lie in the many dead keys. For my way of typing frequently occurring special letters/accents in a given language, check out my locale topic as Ghen mentioned. If a language you want to type isn't on that page, let me know and we may figure something out!

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