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- Registered: 16-Oct-2018
- Posts: 3
Here's a new user trying to enter the world of alternative layouts so I'll introduce myself a bit first.
(If you are in a hurry here's the tl:dr: How do I relocate the letter J without ruining typing in English?)
I've been touch typing qwerty since my teens so for two decades now. I recently started deliberately practicing to improve my speed and proficiency with numbers and special characters. During the process I inevitably came across the alternative layout community and started to learn more. What a world of intriguing optimizing! I must say I'm a bit baffled I never did this before since I love optimizing everything and learning new skills. I guess I thought the barrier to learn a new system would be too great. Reading the experiences here assured me it would most certainly be worth it.
My research with different layouts led me to Colemak and I've been reading this forum to understand all the different flavours. I'm now set with Colemak-CAW as my preferred new layout to learn.
The only difficulty is modifying it to suit Finnish. I read DreymaR's suggestions on localization and I'll most probably fit the Finnish umlauts ä and ö for the right pinky as they are in the finnish qwerty. I'll have to experiment with that a bit but I'm sure it's going to go fine. I didn't find anyone who would have written extensively about their experience with Colemak for Finnish. There are layouts designed purely for Finnish, but it became clear Finnish and English are so different in their common letters that it won't be possible to find a layout thats optimal for both. So I'm trying to find how to tweak Colemak to be a bit more in favor of Finnish.
I did a bit of writing and the only major problem is with the letter J. It has a horrible location on the Colemak. It's located in the most strenuous finger location on the keyboard and in Finnish it's quite common.
Here are the most common letters for English and Finnish. [according to practicalcryptography.com]
The letters W and F have very good spots on the keyboard and they practically don't exist in Finnish. I'm temped to fit J on either of them but I can't just swap J for W for example because that would create a horrible WH bigram. Exchanging J for F would create a difficult FL bigram (floor, flour, flee....). So a simple swap just wont do it. One possbile solution would be to just swap B and J. That would improve J slightly in Finnish but without sacrificing much in English.
So here's the question: How do I relocate the J into a better place without messing up writing in English? I took a look at the most common letters and bigrams on both languages but it's too daunting to try to do without some sort of algorithm. I simply don't know enough about keyboard layout design to make an educated decision.