Friday, March 22, 2013

Bug In OS X Azeri Keyboard Layout

The Azeri keyboard layout provided by Apple with OS X has no question mark, which can be very inconvenient.   Possible remedies are

a) Create a shortcut for ? via system preferences/language & text/text/symbol and text substitution

b) Add ? to a custom layout created with Ukelele.

c) Download an alternative Azeri layout here.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Reading and Typing Traditional Mongolian Script

Traditional Mongolian is perhaps the most difficult script to display on a computer. Much like Arabic, Mongolian characters are connected and can have different forms in initial, medial, and final word positions. Plus it is written in vertical columns from left to right. Mongolian has some current usage in Mongolia and China, and was also employed for the Manchu language which was used (in addition to Chinese) for official documents of the Qing dynasty in China during 1644-1912.

To do this script on OS X you will need to download an AAT font and a keyboard layout from the site.

Here are some sites where you can see this script in action with Safari once you have the font installed.  Thanks to Greg Pringle for these:

Birds of Mongolia

Inputting Mongolian Script

Mongolian Lessons

Typing Nuoso Yi in iOS

An earlier article provided some info on how to input Nuoso Yi in OS X.  Thanks to Dennis Walters you can now find a way to do the same on iOS devices on this page.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Reading And Writing Syriac

Syriac, a major literary language in the Middle East from the 4th to 8th centuries, is not yet included in OS X. In order to read Unicode text in this script you will need to install the BethMardutho fonts. To input Syriac you need to install a keyboard layout found here.

Xenotypetech also sells an excellent Syriac Language Kit.

You will need to deactivate the Damascus Arabic font provided with OS X, because it has a bug which interferes with Syriac fonts.

Here is a test page using the Lord's Prayer. And here is a graphic version of the same text.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Apple Online Store Adds Keyboard Language Choices

Apple's US Online store traditionally has only offered English, French, (Western) Spanish, and Japanese keyboards when you tried to order a laptop machine.  Today I noticed that this has been expanded to add Arabic, British, Danish, German, Italian, Norwegian, and Swedish.

Russian and Taiwanese are two languages which I have often heard requested which are apparently still not available.

iMac choices remain at the earlier 4 languages.

Asking a retail store for a special order is another option for getting Mac's with unusual keyboards.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cuneiform Script Cyrus Cylinder Touring US

The Cyrus Cylinder, a clay tablet from  6th century BC Babylon, inscribed with a declaration in the name of Cyrus the Great, began a tour of the US this week which will take it to Washington DC, Houston, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

For those familiar with ancient languages and scripts, this is a famous and interesting example of Akkadian Cuneiform text.   A drawing of the Cuneiform is available online here, and a Latin transcription/English translation can be found here.

I was expecting to find a digital version of the text somewhere, since Cuneiform was added to Unicode back in 2006, but have been unsuccessful.   Info on fonts and keyboards for this script can be found in an earlier article..

Below is the Unicode Cuneiform and transcription for the first few words of line 20, translated as "I am Cyrus King of the world.."  You will need to install a cuneiform font to see it, and then it will not look exactly like the drawing, because cuneiform signs can vary greatly depending on the date, and there's no font yet for the Neo-Babylonian forms used on the cylinder.

𒀀 𒈾 𒆪 𒁹 𒆪 𒊏 𒑑 𒈗 𒆧 𒆳
a-na-ku m Ku-ra-áš LUGAL kiš-šat

Bug in Apple Kannada Font

The font Kannada Sangam displays the wrong glyph for the sequence RA plus Virama (U+0CB0, U+0CCD).   Instead OS X users should switch to the font Kannada MN.

Unfortunately in iOS only the Kannada Sangam font is available.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bugs In iOS Cyrillic Font

A poster in the Apple Support Communities has pointed out that the font Market Felt Thin, one of the three available for the Notes App, uses a mixture of italic and regular letter forms when displaying Cyrillic text, which is not correct.  To avoid this, you need to switch to Helvetica or Noteworthy in the Settings for Notes.  In other apps, you can use Marker Felt Wide (but it has all italic forms).

The differences between Cyrillic regular and italic forms can be quite significant, as seen in this graphic:

Some fonts (including Marker Felt) have yet another form for italic д, which looks like a Latin "g".

Friday, March 1, 2013

Language Capabilities of Adobe InDesign/Illustrator

This blog page provides some useful info on maximizing the language capabilities of these Adobe products.