ysobel: (Default)
[personal profile] ysobel
I've decided to temporarily give up on Greek -- I'm still curious about it, but Duo isn't the best mechanism for learning it.

Still haven't decided between Russian, refresher course in Spanish, or German. For tonight I did Russian, going back to the beginning, but I think it is more like Greek, in that I really need solid grammar info as well as what Duo gives. There is something to be said for using real words instead of memorizing charts, but there's also something to be said for the charts. Especially since my brain is not the super-elastic brain of a child.

But I did find that the Greek iThing keyboard is a lot easier to grok for English speakers than the Russian keyboard.

For reference, I've been able to touch-type in a qeerty keyboard since about age 10. The iThing keyboards don't have the tactile feedback, but I can get fairly close by muscle memory at this point. At least in English.

On the iPad, which I use in landscape most of the time because of how my hands are positioned, I use the split keyboard option. This means that half the keyboard is in range of my left thumb, and half in range of my right thumb, with a gap in the middle. It splits pretty much where all split qwerty keyboards do:

qwert.....yuiop (backspace)
asdfg.....hjkl (return)
(shift) zxcv....bnm (,!) (.?) (shift)

I use the German keyboard just because I find ... you can tap and hold, say, o, to get the variants õ ø ō œ ò ô ö ó -- but I find it hard to see the difference between the options (ø and œ are distinct but the rest are tiny blobs; it's clearer on the full size keyboard but I'm trading accessibility for visibility.

But because the German keyboard splits differently:


I find myself going for the wrong letters.

Greek was nice because there's a strong correlation between the layout of that and the English keyboard:


And while that looks like gibberish if you don't know the alphabet, the approximate transliteration version is:


Nice and similar ... okay so they have twelve thousand vowel variants, but most of the consonants are the same. So if I know I'm typing andros, it comes out ανδρός without any changes on my part.

But the Russian keyboard ... oh, Russian keyboard, how I loathe thee. Well, not loathe, but I have to hunt and peck every fucking letter.

The layout is this:

йцукен ... гшщзх
фывапр ... олджэ
ячсми ... тьбюъ


(i sort of) ts y k e n ... g sh shch e x
f (uy sort of) v a p r ... o l d zh e
ya ch s m i ... t (soft) b yu (hard)

Now in some sense this is no less arbitrary than the qwerty layout (and yes I know there are reasons for the qwerty layout, as well as probably reasons for the Russian layout). But it makes no sense to me. I can't ever find anything I need.

There's probably a way to design a Russian-qwerty keyboard. Keep the joint consonants where they are (r and t on the top row close to the split, p top row right, s d f g middle left, h k l middle right, a x v bottom left, b n m bottom right. Then fill in the other letters around that framing:

щшэерт уюиоп / shch sh e e r t ... y yu I o p
ыасдфг хяклй / uy a s d f g ... x ya k l (I)
зжчцв бнмьъ / z zh ch ts v ... b n m (soft) (hard)

Or something, I don't know. I put very little thought into that, so there are better layouts that would probably synergies well with both Russian needs and qwerty habits.


Ah, human/computer interaction and user interface design. Two subsets of my major that I learned very little about! (I'm still resentful about my major -- I sort of herded myself into it because I could finish in time with what I had already taken, and while there's a lot of fascinating stuff, flailing is not the best way to come at a major. And I picked a specialty in eenie-meenie fashion, ending up in computer music because "I like music" and because it had the fewest classes, or at any rate the fewest horrid-sounding ones (I thoroughly hated philosophy by that point); only I'm not a composer and the classes turned out to be basically graduate-level, which is not the best for a flailing depressive undergrad. I still half feel like I didn't deserve my degree, that the (minor but still freaky) car accident I was in gave me sympathy points and the resident faculty member of my dorm was the head computer music person (oh yeah that was another reason) and idek. Back to the point though: if I'd come in wanting to do symsys from the first, rather than starting with computer science and then not being able to do that but not having enough time to do another major (and there's no way in hell im going TiVo ask my parents now whether they would have funded another year if I'd needed it, because the answer will probably make me sad) and so grasping at symsys as a last resort panic option, I would have made different choices, something more linguistics-y or user interface design -y. And I've lost track of my parenthetical. Was this a parenthetical? I think so.)

Date: 2017-05-25 06:09 pm (UTC)
carrie: Jake throws a fully-fledged tantrum of *PURE HOPE* (Default)
From: [personal profile] carrie
I have the worst time finding anything on the Russian keyboard on mobile too, so much that I immediately gave up trying again on Duolingo. Your way makes a lot more sense, actually! :p


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masquerading as a man with a reason

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