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Coptic keyboard layout

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  • Judy Redman
    Hi everyone, I have managed to get myself involved in helping with a Society of Biblical Literature project to develop a keyboard layout for Unicode Coptic
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 11, 2005
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      Hi everyone,

      I have managed to get myself involved in helping with a Society of Biblical
      Literature project to develop a keyboard layout for Unicode Coptic fonts and
      am after some feedback. For those who (like me before I got involved) are
      not sure about the significance of this: each character in a Unicode font is
      assigned a unique code, and this makes it possible for scholars and
      publishers to exchange texts between Unicode environments without converting
      texts or losing data.

      What I am helping with is working out which characters to assign to which
      keys on a keyboard to make them user-friendly.

      Since I started learning Coptic, I have been using the (non-Unicode) fonts
      made available on the Coptic Orthodox Church website
      (http://www.copticchurch.net/coptic_fonts/), which they are proposing as an
      international standard for Coptic.As a touch typist, I find their keyboard
      layout find very user-friendly. It was also very quick to learn, having
      been designed to be used by people who type a lot of Coptic, so I have been
      suggesting that this would be the best layout to use. The technical person
      who has designed the provisional layout however says the layout he is
      proposing is "based on the Greek Polytonic layout...[because] I suspect that
      scholars of Coptic are likely to be familiar with that, and would prefer
      something closely corresponding to it for Coptic too." He asks "Would those
      scholars who are already familiar with the international-standard Greek
      Polytonic mapping outnumber those who are familiar with the Church one?"

      I have no idea, and I also wonder how important this is for typists who
      don't touch type. So, can I have some feedback, please?

      Are people on this list familiar with the Greek Polytonic keyboard layout?
      And if you are, how important would it be for a unicode Coptic keyboard to
      have the characters common to the Greek and Coptic alphabets on the same
      keys in both?

      And, incidentally, does anyone here use uppercase and lowercase in Coptic?
      The unicode font with which we are working (New Athena) has both, but I
      wasn't aware that uppercase was ever used. The characters look the same,
      except for one that only occurs in Bohairic - they're just bigger.

      And anyone who would like to be involved more directly would be welcome. I
      made the mistake of complaining on the SBL fonts list that the keyboard
      mapping for the existing Coptic font on the SBL site was very
      non-typist-friendly and got invited to help out and suddenly I am the
      resident Coptic expert after four semesters of working with the language and
      very little familiarity with any text other than Gospel of Thomas!!!!!!

      Regards

      Judy

      --
      " Let us forever remember that the sense for the sacred is as vital to us as
      the light of the sun." - Abraham Joshua Heschel, 1944

      Rev Judy Redman
      Uniting Church Chaplain
      University of New England
      Armidale 2351
      ph: +61 2 6773 3739
      fax: +61 2 6773 3749
      web: http://www.une.edu.au/campus/chaplaincy/uniting/
      email: jredman@...
    • Andrew Bernhard
      Dear Judy, Thank you for posting information about Coptic fonts. This must be an issue everyone who has worked in Coptic struggles with. My suspicion is that
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 11, 2005
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        Dear Judy,

        Thank you for posting information about Coptic fonts. This must be an issue everyone who has worked in Coptic struggles with.

        My suspicion is that scholars interested in an SBL keyboard layout for Coptic will overwhelmingly be familiar with the Greek polytonic layout because they've done so much work in Greek.

        For myself, I must throw my support behind your technical person. Having used various similar keyboard layouts for typing polytonic Greek over the years, I would be absolutely mortified to have to learn an entirely new keyboard for Coptic. I've learned which keys I use to type which Greek characters and would find it severely annoying to be have to type the _very same letters_ with different keys in different fonts. If I type a sigma with the "s" key in a Greek font, why should I have to use the "c" key to type it with my Coptic font. This doesn't seem very intuitive to me. I'd likely find it so annoying that I'd want to discard the system altogether.

        For what it's worth, those are my thoughts on the matter.

        Thanks for letting me know about the New Athena font. Unicode Coptic fonts are quite rare these days and I'm appreciative to have learned about this one.

        Best,
        Andrew


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