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Rulemak: Russian Colemak layout

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Обижаешь, товарищ гхен, конечно я русский. :) Окончил русскую (советскую!) школу, 8 лет изучал русский язык и литературу.
I can explain, why I so worry about Э. This mostly because of one word (and its variants) - этот (эта,это,эти,этого,этой,этих,этим). This is all t variants of words: this, that, those, these, etc. You might realize that there are quite frequently used words despite of statistics. Other words with э are all foreign borrowing, like экипаж, эстафета, эскалатор, экскаватор, этап. I really can not remember a word where э would be used in the middle or more than once. So that is why probably it has low statistics in big texts, but it almost sure will appear once in a several sentences in daily messages, unlike '?' or '/'.
Slash has no use in Russian, in йцукен it sits at Shift-Backslash instead of pipe, that tells about how often it is required. I would really not worry about keeping it in the qwerty position.
Shift-7 in turn is the position of '?' in йцукен and nobody complained about it is awful. Is Shift-1 for '!' ok?
Then, '&' has no use in Russian as well, same story as '#', I just proposed to do the same for the pair &-? what you did for the #-№.
So, this is my arguments for moving э.
Anyway, I'd like to thank ghen personally for the great job he did!
Actually, Russians like their layout too much and blindly believe that it is ideal, ergonomically designed, and "not something like qwerty".  I believed in that too just several month ago, when I saw this topic for the first time sometimes in April, my first reaction was total rejection. Then I've tried and actually loved rulemak.
I do not think Russians will get rid of йцукен because of better alternative layout, you know that, just look to qwerty-dvorak story. But for the russian typists who brave enough to get rid of qwerty and learn colemak, IMO it will be better to use rulemak instead of йцукен.

Last edited by ckofy (04-Sep-2016 03:05:58)
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Thanks for your valuable insights, ckofy.  это, эта, etc are indeed an interesting case where contemporary e-mail/chat letter frequencies will differ from the classical text corpuses, as well as modern loan words.  In English, that/they/them/... don't have that.

On one hand, your case motivates me to further improve Rulemak for native users, but on the other hand, it would move it away from the original design principle: being easy to use for existing Colemak users, without (necessarily) being fully optimal.  We've been through a few revisions of the layout in this topic since 2008, and the position of э was never questioned so far.  I'm also with DreymaR to keep a keyboard layout and its variants "modular", by separating letter and symbol layouts; with the current layout, you could choose between the Qwerty or the йцукен top row without affecting (most of) the rest of the layout.  Out of curiousity, since you're using Colemak as well: does your physical keyboard have Qwerty or йцукен labels?

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Precisely because э is on the symbol keys already, and not phonetically linked to any letters, it wouldn't be so dramatic to move it to a better place.

However, I still fail to see the problem with the current position which I consider not bad at all and well suited for the hand alternating эт bigram? You have to have decent float when typing or it'll be a bit stretchy, but that's a good idea to have anyway I think.

Some Russian-labeled keyboards will have э printed on the backslash key. Of the 14 or so phonetic Russian layouts, the majority have э on that key (and some have \, like the "standard" layout has). All in all, I see several decent reasons to keep э on that key.

Last edited by DreymaR (05-Sep-2016 10:45:15)

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I would agree that the current э position is not so bad that it require to break the rulemak design principle. A little stretchy at ANSI keyboard, but in most cases it is эт bigramm at the beginning of the word. BTW, "эт" has position 103 in the list of bigramms frequencies, the next э bigramm - "эк" is at 349.
The main usage of rulemak is a phonetic layout in pair with colemak, similarity to colemak is more important.

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ghen said:

Out of curiousity, since you're using Colemak as well: does your physical keyboard have Qwerty or йцукен labels?

I do 100% colemak touch-typing just for the last two month, started to learn it in May. My keyboards have all kind of labels now. At work it is qwerty only, at home it is TKL keyboard with the blank keycaps, home laptop's keyboard I've rearranged to colemak couple days ago and left colemak as it's only layout (in Win8.1).
I live in US and I do not need to type russian at work. I do not have йцукен stickers on any of my keyboards. I never learned proper touch-typing in qwerty or йцукен, but I did typing with no labels in йцукен when I had to type something in Russian.

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ghen,

Your rulemak.pkl has one issue, "ч" is entered lowcase both in normal and shift layers.

SC023 = H	1	ч	ч	^h	h	H	; QWERTY hH
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Thanks for catching that, fixed it.

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Here is the great typing training website which supports English and Russian and has many layouts in both.
http://klava.org/  (klava (клава) is a slang name of keyboard (клавиатура) in Russian.)
I'm not sure how good it is for the systematic learning of layout from home row to numeric row, I'm using it for texts typing and it is very good.
It calculates typing speed and error's percentage, shows keyboard and keystrokes, has autobackspace feature which can be turned off.

So, overall, this is a very good keyboard trainer not only for Russian but for English as well.
Also, it has the offline extension available for chrome (Klavarog Δ)
I'm not participating in this project, my advertising is sincere. :)

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Hearing my request, Rulemak was added as one of possible Russian layouts at klava.org with link to this topic.

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Cool, thanks!  For Linux/X11 users, Rulemak will be added to the next release of xkeyboard-config (keyboard layouts for X11) as well.

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already try this on android
(DIY option in "O keyboard")
and on my Ergodox (programmable physical keyboard)

feels strange, most misses with й ч ы ю placement
maybe it takes more time to adapt

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As you can see from the discussion, there are decent reasons for most of them. :-)

If you want to change CH, you could try the Bulgarian variant (Bulmak) instead?

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nope, i'm russian, so ' and ъ not an option for normal (easily reachable places)
i think i'll adapt with current state of Rulemak

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my layout looks like

SwBvuM5.png

Ergodox w/o staggering...
thumb keys is double action, shift when pressed, keycode on tap

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No, I was thinking only of the X/CH switch. But yeah, it may be better to get used to the standard solution. :-)

Actually, check the DH-mod. Some people (me included) change some index finger keys from standard Colemak. If you feel that J gets a poor treatment you might look into that. There's a Dutch guy who tried this because J is much more common in Dutch than in English.

Last edited by DreymaR (08-Nov-2016 12:36:35)

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Hi armatus. I'm using Ergodox as well. How did you program the double action for keys?
Regarding your layout for Rulemak on Ergodox, I have some concerns. Why so weird position for "ь"? I proposed to put "Э" in the place of "/" as well, but my reasoning was it's far position on the standard keyboard. Ergodox can propose closer position in the same direction as the "Э" located on the standard keyboard.
Here is my layout. I labeled only keys used by rulemak on the picture.
Ergodox-rulemak.png

"ь" and "э" remains on the same keys, but "э" is much closer and easier to press now.
"ё" and "ъ" changed their positions, well, who really cares about them?
Now "ш" and "щ". Changed as well, but personally I never enjoyed of seeking them with my right pinkie. That position at Ergodox looks easier to access.
My argument for moving "ш" to other hand is to break the "шь" bigram for two hands. In the standard keyboard this pretty frequent bigram should be entered by the right pinkie.

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about dual-action keys (offtopic :)
on T.M.K. software you can make this by register a custom action in your keymap

//Works as a modifier key while holding, but registers a key on tap(press and release quickly).
ACTION_MODS_TAP_KEY(MOD_RCTL, KC_ENT)

on QMK software you can make this by simply add

MT(MOD_LSFT, KC_SPACE) 

in your keymap (that's all!!!!)
it gave you space on tap, and shift when held

i use QMK, build is simple, teensy loader works with linux and windows well
(you can read about limitless possibilities at https://github.com/jackhumbert/qmk_firmware)

about layout itself.
i cant see your picture, but already think a lot about moving some keys
i want comma and dot at thumb section of ergodox (small keys?)
on free space good to place шщ
make ъ accessible only as SHIFS+ь
(there is no words with capital ъ in russian)

still think about future improvements

---
Скофи, могу скинуть hex файл или свой исходник раскладки в QMK
могу скомпилить твой вариант, если картинку увижу )))
вобщем, если нужна какая помощь - пиши

Last edited by armatus (14-Nov-2016 08:50:41)
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we talk about phonetic layout
so why:
h == ч, it's nonsense, any phonetic russian layout have h == х
see at
1280px-UKNCkeyboard.png
look below zero!

what you think about changing х and ч placement in rulemak?

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armatus said:

h == ч, it's nonsense, any phonetic russian layout have h == х

Really? I found two phonetic Russian layouts with X == х and H == ч. Is this wrong?
https://forum.colemak.com/post/13490/#p13490

Please read some of the discussion on the first two pages of this thread. As you'll see, the Bulgarian "Bulmak" layout indeed has H == х and X == ч as that's been the standard in Bulgaria. I was under the impression that the opposite was the most common case for Russia, as Ghen's layout also reflects.

If Russians in general are happy to use the same standard as Bulgaria for this, that'd be nice for the sake of standardization. Visually, it looks a bit odd to us non-Cyrillics that QWERTY X isn't mapped to Cyrillic х but that's a visual argument not a phonetic/tradition one.

Last edited by DreymaR (14-Nov-2016 12:26:10)

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it's not wrong. it's rare
http://klava.org/#rus_basic
even rulemak in a list of layouts !!! but no ЯЖЕРТЫ at all

most usable in ex USSR is JCUKEN like on picture
others are rare and mostly unknown (i'm only once meet a ЯВЕРТЫ keyboard, but it was long ago in 1991)
JCUKEN has more followers this time of all phonetic layouts in russia

---
it's unusual to find other
than qwerty+йцукен in use (((

---
in general it's bad when similar looking keys placed in one place in different layouts
most russian hate c == с placement on qwerty+йцукен
it cause many mistypes in words started by this letter
(like cyjdf, i'm start to type in different layout, but didnt recognize this fast enough)

Last edited by armatus (14-Nov-2016 12:44:12)
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Okay, thanks for the info! Lol, I wonder what Ghen et al make of this...? ^_^

Visual similarity probably is a better help for the newcomers like me, than to the natives I guess.

Have you read this Wikipedia article on Russian keyboard layouts though? Seems there's some difference between what Russian-speakers in Russia use and what Russian-speakers living in other places use?

This (ЯВЕРТЫ) is what that article shows as its example of "Russian phonetic keyboard layout":
    Keyboard_layout_ru_fonetic.png

Last edited by DreymaR (14-Nov-2016 12:58:30)

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If you look at the very first design at the beginning of this thread, Х was originally on the H position, and Ч on = (number row), based on the KOI8-R transcript scheme, but it was not very nice, so they were moved to their current position in the next revision.  Х fits equally well on X and H (depending on transcript scheme), but Ч has no direct mapping.  It is usually transliterated as "ch", so H made sense.  Also, Ч is more frequent than Х.

Given that the Russian alphabet has more letters than the Latin/English alphabet, some Russian letters have to be placed on Colemak non-letter positions (at least if you want them all on a direct key, without modifier keys), and some, like Х, have multiple possible destinations.  We tried to account for letter frequency, and to some extent, elegance and symmetry (see the whole ь/ъ/ё and в/ж discussion), but keep in mind that Rulemak was designed for non-native use, that is, it should primarily be easy to remember and not fully optimized, as non-native users will never block on raw typing speed anyway.  Most users are happy with the current layout, so I'd like to stick to that.

Last edited by ghen (14-Nov-2016 13:10:56)
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ЯВЕРТЫ most popular in former Yugoslavia and Bulgaria
now Serbia and Bulgaria uses it
other countries use latin layouts
in russia it's unused

but in serbian there is Љ, Њ
bulgarian differs by letter frequencies (has bulmak)

Last edited by armatus (14-Nov-2016 14:06:07)
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>>>Ч is more frequent than Х
---
middle col requires wierd finger movement to access
so on bottom line it is better

Last edited by armatus (14-Nov-2016 14:09:36)
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armatus said:

middle col requires wierd finger movement to access; so on bottom line it is better

Yeah, about that. The QWERTY H position is supposed to be a good home-row position. Some feel like you that the middle column is a bit awkward nevertheless. For this, some non-Colemak layouts were created but now we've fixed it in Colemak with the Curl/DH-mod! Look at my sig topics for instance, for more on that.

I use the Curl mod to make the H and D positions better for me. So that's an option. :-)

Last edited by DreymaR (14-Nov-2016 14:26:14)

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