• You are not logged in.

    german colemak

    • Started by vilem
    • 11 Replies:
    • Reputation: 0
    • From: Köln, Germany
    • Registered: 01-Apr-2007
    • Posts: 264

    I made an attempt at making a german colemak keyboard layout. All I did, was putting the colemak keys for the letters into a german QWERTZ, keeping the punctuation, and moving the "Ö" key to the standard colemak ";" position, alowing "O" to be on home row. The german keyboard isn't very good for programming, but this would be good for the german users who are used to the punctuation and need the "ä,ö & ü" letters often.

    I decided to keep "z" and "y" in their normal colemak places

    Advantages:

    *All standard letters will be the same on the german and american keyboards.
    *[ctrl]+[Z] will use the same ctrl key as [ctrl]+[X], [ctrl]+[V], etc.

    Disadvantages:

    *"Z" is more common than "Y"

    However, germans use more and more english, so "Y" is not as rare anymore.

    Here is the picture I made with mspaint (;D) so forgive its cheapness!
    germancolemakoa7.jpg

    Please post any ideas for improvement!

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 106
    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,660

    This is very much the same principle as we used for the Norwegian Colemak. Looks good to me. Do you need help implementing it for Windows, or can you do that yourself?

    For comparison, here's the Norwegian one again:
    Norsk_Colemak_lett.gif

    Same as yours, it keeps the punctuation and special chars of the national layout but has to move the Ø (equals your Ö) up to accomodate O. Our Æ equals your Ä and those are kept in place, so these two are actually quite similar except for some punctuation.

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • From: Köln, Germany
    • Registered: 01-Apr-2007
    • Posts: 264

    Ohh, now that's actually quite interesting! I don't know how to create layouts for windows, but it would be great if you told me how to do that! However, I will probably not use this german version, but who knows, maybe!

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 05-Oct-2006
    • Posts: 105

    One thing. I've never used any other language layouts. The ALT GR is what you need to activate the unusual symbols (in blue), right?

    Wouldn't it make sense for ALL of those keys to be on the left side, since you need your right hand for the altgr?

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • From: Köln, Germany
    • Registered: 01-Apr-2007
    • Posts: 264
    NeoMenlo said:

    One thing. I've never used any other language layouts. The ALT GR is what you need to activate the unusual symbols (in blue), right?

    Wouldn't it make sense for ALL of those keys to be on the left side, since you need your right hand for the altgr?

    True. However, greatly changing the punctuation will not make colemak very attractive for most people. But, perhaps you can remap the left windoze key to altgr...

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 106
    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,660

    NeoMenlo: I have AltGr mappings for ALL my keys (and deadkey mappings for whatever didn't fit on AltGr). How else could I type (basic) Greek, Icelandic, German and various symbols from my keyboard with great ease, hmmm? Left side, pfffft! (I don't remember my own deadkey mappings, so those have proven less successful so far. I guess I need to print out a reference for myself.)

    Having the AltGr keys on the left hand in general isn't important because they should be very rarely used keys (<0.5% at the very least). In that case, the important thing is to keep them in intuitive places (such as µ under M) so you don't get confused whenever you do happen to need one.

    Remapping punctuation and rarely used characters from the national layout is generally a bad idea. Not that I like the fact that my country's Windows layout has the @ symbol on an AltGr mapping (unlike the Mac layout actually), but I let it stay in place. Again, with very rare symbols compliance and intuitivity becomes far more important than ease of access. The impact on typing speed is certainly zero for all practical purposes, and the comfort is both about physical and mental aspects. Not finding a key is worse than having to stretch a bit for it, if it's rare enough.

    It's a balance of course. Some characters are somewhat rare but still needed. I believe that direct access to actual letters is far more important than access to punctuation in general. So even if a letter like the Norwegian Æ may not be as common as a certain symbol, it must not be put on AltGr for a user who writes Norwegian because it will occur in the middle of words and having to go out of your way to find it will hurt your word typing flow and feel very annoying. This I know from personal experience. Thus the real deal with national layouts.

    Other examples: In countries where accents are used very rarely if at all, they're best kept on dead keys or maybe AltGr mappings if a little more common. But in Icelandic the Íí is used all the time so were I to make an Icelandic layout I'd put it on a separate key if I had one to spare at all, like their special characters Ðð and Þþ. When making a Polish Colemak (which I affectionately refer to as a "Polemak" although this is a strictly unofficial name), we didn't have enough keys to spare so we chose AltGr mappings for many characters that are semi-common such as the Ogonek letters (Ąą Ęę). The beauty of putting strange letters on AltGr is that you can still use Shift with them.

    People use their left Windows key. It's the right one that's rarely used (I put my CapsLock there just in case I should ever need it, hehe).

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 24-May-2007
    • Posts: 9

    i would suggest to change some more
    cause if you compare letter frequencies in german and english:
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buchstabe … gen_Texten
    and
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_frequencies

    the z and y should be changed:
    english: y=2%, z=0.07%
    german: z=1,1 %, y=0,04%

    and also O and U, because in german the letter O is not as frequent
    as in english and doesent deserve a place in the middle row but the U is:
    german: O=2,5%, U=4,3%
    english: U=2.7%, O=7.5%

    (it is easy to create with the free "Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator")




    but i suggest the NEO-layout, that is more specialized for german typists:

    800px-NEO-Layout.png
    http://pebbles.schattenlauf.de/layout.php#paradigmen



    or, why not learn something new, that enables
    you to something else thatn just fast-typing?
    try the ENTI-Key++ Layout that is optimized for
    the most frequent letters in the middle-row too but
    also  enables you to write optional with only the left hand:

    ENTI-Key++_keyboard_layout_keys_only.gif
    www.entikey.z11.de

    Last edited by rubo77 (26-May-2007 11:37:27)
    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • From: Houston, Texas
    • Registered: 03-Jan-2007
    • Posts: 358

    Do I really need to spend time learning another layout for the left hand only type to leave my right hand free just to use a mouse ?    oh wait, most of my time is spent using a notebook computer with a trackpad. 

    When I see posts like this, WHY ?  Why ?  if you are not interested in Colemak are you wasting time signing on to a forum about Colemak to post about an unrelated layout.  Totally different layouts, one for each language, like NEO miss the whole point of something like Colemak.   Talk about opening Pandora's box.  I understand why there might be so much resistance and hostility towards Colemak or even apathy to Dvorak and why QWERTY continues to dominate.

    Colemak was designed with Engish in mind but it's really great that it seems to be work really well for many other languages partly because Shai took into consideration trying to reduce the learning curve from QWERTY by keeping some low frequency keys in place or the same finger, etc.   

    Make suggestions for Norwegian Colemak, Polish Colemak, German Colemak, etc.   that's interesting and great for discussion here.  Anything that brings more universality strenghthens the case against QWERTY and given the general apathetic attitude out there toward using something better every little bit helps. 

    Maybe a universal layout is neither possible nor desirable, BUT, promoting other totally alien layouts here seems inappropriate.  Someone who desires to find something that starts from a blank slate to optiimize just for their language doesn't need promotion here to find something like NEO.   

    and if this if this is too confrontational well just write me off as one more confrontational, obnoxious Texan!
    like the one living in a white house.

    Texas -- drinking & hunting, a way of life, just ask the V.P.

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 24-May-2007
    • Posts: 9

    ok, so what about my suggestion for the german Colemak?

    the z and y should be changed:
    english: y=2%, z=0.07%
    german: z=1,1 %, y=0,04%

    and also O and U, because in german the letter O is not as frequent
    as in english and doesent deserve a place in the middle row but the U is:
    german: O=2,5%, U=4,3%
    english: U=2.7%, O=7.5%

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 106
    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,660

    Rubo: Interesting posts. Never mind my Texan friend's zeal; he's really a very nice guy most of the time.  :)

    I'll answer your questions/suggestions based on my own experience and research attempts (nothing major), as well as my knowledge of Shai's work. I've been an intense enthusiast for half a year now. Some of my answers will be similar to the points already made by Vilem and Shai (on the main site) but you seem to have ignored those?

    In particular, it may interest you to scroll down this topic: https://forum.colemak.com/viewtopic.php?id=128&p=2 (discussion/research on letter frequencies in various languages including German).

    Now, for your remarks: The Z and Y should not be changed! And moving the O and U around may not be worth it either. I'll make a few points.

       a) Z and Y are both rarely used letters in both languages and once the frequencies are down to a percent or two the rationale for moving a key fades. The hassle of relearning them as well as switching their locations when going back and forth to QWERTY boards as most of us have to will ruin the very slight "pure" optimisation potential. This is one reason why the Colemak moves around so much fewer keys than the Dvorak does.

       b) The Z key is a shortcut key which means that moving it in general must have a good reason otherwise. In light of a), the reason for moving it certainly isn't strong enough I feel.

       c) It is rare for a German to type only in German these days. Just consider yourself: You typed in English just now! How large percentage of English should a German keyboard layout maker consider for it to be representative, do you think? My thought is that it would vary a lot. And very few indeed would bother to learn one layout for each language they use unless it's a language with mostly special glyphs.

       d) Luckily however, as the topic I've linked to shows the Colemak does work surprisingly well for a lot of languages including German! The differences may look large on paper, but in actual use or on a figure like NeoMenlo's in that topic you see that it's mostly good where it matters and the differences won't be serious for the large picture of things.

       e) That German NEO layout and the interesting left-handable one (I've been thinking how that'd be a cool thing) may be good... for a few people. The German one, for people who type much more German than anything else. The leftie one, for specially interested people: Keep in mind that something must've been sacrificed to make it so, and the Colemak isn't researched from single letter frequencies alone but a lot of factors including common digraphs. Now, the common digraphs in English are probably different from those in German to some extent but again, you type English as well these days and there may also be similarities. The leftie layout also moves around far too many keys for my taste including rarely used symbols which are in addition moved to unusual letter keys, ruins shortcuts etc. A thought: You did read Shai's Colemak FAQ where he explains why he made his layout the way he did I hope? The Colemak is more than "just fast typing" as you put it!

       f) If you do choose to go your own way or use a fringe keyboard layout, that's okay and I wish you luck in your endeavours. However, notice how the Colemak community is a growing and interested one. On these forums lots of fun and useful things are cooking these days: Investigations, discussions, experiences, designs(!), implementations for different systems and nationalities (within the Colemak paradigm), utility programs etc. I honestly believe that the Colemak has a potential for becoming the "new Dvorak" at the very least, and hopefully it may succeed at a few points the Dvorak didn't. This remains to be seen of course, but if you do value a vibrant community supporting your keyboard layout choice then I personally can recommend this one.

    Hope these answers are useful food for thought. Best!

    Last edited by DreymaR (24-May-2007 10:16:37)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 106
    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,660

    That ENTI-Keys layout is a bit fascinating, I must say. I've always thought that a layout that allowed me to type maybe half as fast while drinking coffee or mousing would be fun. Tres Geek, heh. I looked at the left-handed Dvorak and found it a bit of a mess though. From first appearances, the ENTI-Key layout looks better but it'd have to be tested.

    Understand though, that a layout like the Colemak is tested in multiple aspects, including measures such as found by the Maxwell applet (see for instance https://colemak.com/Compare or Google another) but also other considerations. Again, read all that Shai has written about it if you're interested; although Shai hasn't gotten around to publishing a whole article on his stuff yet. So while I find the ENTI-Keys layout a cool thought I'm not going to go try it until someone shows me good solid results for its efficiency and comfort. And probably not then either because as mentioned it'd be a right pain in the butt to move and RELABEL all those keys (or just learn all of them and blind typing which is the more likely choice but a very hard one with so damn many changes).

    Of particular interest may be the AltGr position on the old CapsLock key: A refreshing idea which revitalises this key and enables it for left-hander use.

    We all agree that it's too good a key to be wasted on CapsLock these days. The Colemak idea of making it a second Backspace key has worked well for me and I've recently taken to using that as a surf-back key instead of the Back browser button (Backspace does that in the newer versions of Internet Explorer) which I've found surprisingly convenient! The left pinky can find that key easily without me looking, even when not in the home position because it's a specially shaped key.

    But I've been thinking that I might be able to implement it as a SGLock key instead, introducing a second AltGr function like on Swiss keyboards thus making space for a lot of special glyphs. It's a special interest of mine,  cramming a heap of glyphs onto a layout so you can write a bunch of languages and symbols without changing layouts (I can do German, Icelandic and such of course, and Greek for the most part on my own board). Maybe I could get the second key to give me Cyrillic letters?  :)  As you see, this is a very special thing that not many others will be interested in. Also, Unicode is so poorly implemented in fonts still that it puts a damper to my success.

    Last edited by DreymaR (24-May-2007 10:15:45)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 22-Jul-2007
    • Posts: 1

    I do not believe that a national variant for each language would be very beneficial. I am German, but I can live pretty well with the Colemak layout as it is. Of course I would have preferred to find äöü on AltGr-aou or such, as the current positions have no mnemonic value for me. Bad luck, I’ll get used to it.

    I do have an improvement to ask for, though: The Colemak layout is missing the German opening quotes. I placed them on the 8, which enables me to use German quotes with 8 and 9 and English quotes with 9 and 0. Very handy.

    That loses what was on 8 before, which is something I’ve personally never used. There shouldn’t be any letters on the number keys at all, anyway, I think. Note that there are still 14 keys that have only 3 mappings, for instance, acute and grave could share a key as well as circumflex and caron. Also, on most keyboards save US English, there is a 102nd key that is not used at all.

      Colemak-de.png

    Offline
    • 0