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    Phonetic Russian Colemak

    • Started by atrus
    • 4 Replies:
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 21-Jun-2020
    • Posts: 3

    I am switching from Qwerty to Colemak and I need a phonetic Russian Colemak with a short a learning curve from phonetic Russian Qwerty (which I have been using for 15 years or so).

    Here is phonetic Russian Qwerty that ships in macOS for reference:

    Phonetic-russian.png

    I don't approve of some of the design choices of Rulemak, so I'd like to suggest a layout which attempts to match (where logical & convenient) the layout of phonetic Russian Qwerty:

    Colemak-Russian.png

    Benefits:

    – 18 letters match Colemak phonetically:

    Ф, П, Г, Л, У
    А, Р, С, Т, Д, Е, И, О
    З, В, Б, К, М

    – 9 letters without English character equivalents remain in the same positions as phonetic Russian Qwerty:

    Щ, Ъ
    Я, Ш, Ю, Э
    Ч
    Х, Ц

    You could argue that Х and Ч should be swapped, but I'm deferring to standard phonetic Russian here by leaving X on the Qwerty X key and Ч on the Colemak/Qwerty H key.

    – The soft sign Ь has been moved off the minus key to the upper row (on the ] key). This character is on the end of most verbs in their infinitive form and here it requires less vertical hand movement than in phonetic Russian Qwerty. It's also helpful to have access to the dash symbol for words like по-русски, по-моему, etc.

    – The Colemak Y key is Й, which makes a lot more sense than putting it on J (standard phonetic Russian & Rulemak). Й is Y: Йода (Yoda), йога (yoga), бой (boy), etc.

    – The Colemak J key has Ж. The J sound in Russian is represented by two characters (ДЖ). John is Джон. Д is already in place on the Colemak D key, so Ж should be on J.

    – The vowel Ы doesn't exist in English. It fits in neatly on the end of the home row in a sequence of other vowels (Е, И, О). Its convenient placement is appropriate given its use in the words for you (ты or Вы) and we (мы). It's also Russian's default plural marker. Luckily the ' character is not used in Russian and the Russian quotation characters (« ») replace < and > on the comma and period keys.

    – The Colemak colon key (Qwerty P) is retained (even if it looks sort of out of place). Colon is used in Russian, and it's not the most comfortable key to hit from the home position (for me), so I'm happy to keep consistent punctuation here.

    – Like standard phonetic Russian, Ё is only accessible via option-е. Ё is often rendered as simply Е by lazy Russian typists because almost all words make sense from context without the extra umlaut. The standard iPhone Russian keyboard hides Ё behind Е too.

    I'm already typing reasonably well with this layout. I'm happy to share my macOS keyboard layout file, and I'd welcome feedback!

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,852

    Interesting points!

    • I like your thoughts about the J vs Y keys. It applies mostly for English speakers but these days we're "all" English speakers pretty much. In my language Norwegian, Й is transliterated to J (Jenisej, Tsjaikovskij), whereas as you know it's usually Y in English (Yenisey/Yenisei, Tschaikowsky).

    • Isn't ИЙ a bit common though? In your layout it forms a bad same-finger bigram.

    • As pointed out recently in the Rulemak topic, Ё can indeed be tucked away a bit without adverse effect these days.

    • Keeping the semicolon may be nice, but does it deserve that position when the hardsign is in such a bad place up there on the number row? One solution for the hardsign may be Option+softsign though.

    • One solution that looks pretty would be to have Ю on semicolon – which moves to the number row – and Ь Ъ on the bracket keys?

    How does that seem to you?

    Last edited by DreymaR (22-Jun-2020 09:42:09)

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

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    • Registered: 21-Jun-2020
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    • Isn't ИЙ a bit common though? In your layout it forms a bad same-finger bigram.

    True, ИЙ is a fairy common masculine adjectival word ending for the nominative case (though not quite as common as ЫЙ and ОЙ). Same problem on the left hand with АЯ (хорошая, хороший).

    • Keeping the semicolon may be nice, but does it deserve that position when the hardsign is in such a bad place up there on the number row? One solution for the hardsign may be Option+softsign though.
    • One solution that looks pretty would be to have Ю on semicolon – which moves to the number row – and Ь Ъ on the bracket keys?

    It's also a bit cumbersome (I find) to have different keys for the same punctuation in different languages. Hard sign has the lowest character frequency of the Russian alphabet (0.02%). I can go days without typing it. So I'm optimizing for Ю keeping it's position from QWERTY phonetic Russian.

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    I see. Score +1 for having the hardsign on Option/AltGr+softsign then, right?!  d( ^◇^)b

    Instead, keeping = was suggested in the Rulemak topic. Sounds sensible to me.

    Come to think of it... How would keeping Щ on option+Ш pan out? It's up there in the corner, may be just as easy to chord it as stretching up there?

    Maybe those bad bigrams should be addressed somehow. I hate bad same-finger...  ( ಠ o ಠ) ¤=(————

    Last edited by DreymaR (24-Jun-2020 11:08:32)

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

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    • Registered: 21-Jun-2020
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    Yes, I've done both of those as quicker alternatives for Ъ and Щ (option-soft sign is hard sign, оption+Ш is Щ). Though I still like having both those characters also immediately accessible in inconvenient locations too (to match QWERTY phonetic Russian).

    The adjectival endings bigrams aren't ideal, I agree.

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