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One More Option for Greek Typing

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One More Option for Greek Typing

Postby Gregorius » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:32 pm

While the thread on using Unicode to type Greek is helpful, I am always surprised that no one has suggested using the shortcut assignment function in the Insert >> Symbol >> More Symbols window (at least for those who are using Microsoft Word). I've been using this method to type in other foreign languages for years, and it seems much more efficient than typing in arbitrary hexadecimal codes (unless I've misunderstood the manual coding method).

Here's a sample arrangement to show roughly what I'm talking about. Essentially, you hold down one, two, or all three of the Ctrl/Alt/Shift buttons and type a Latin letter that either has the same sound as the desired Greek letter or resembles it visually. Only theta, phi, and chi stand out as slight oddballs. Phi uses its pronunciation in modern derivatives as the clue to its base key, while theta and chi use the 'c' and 't' in their respective Latin transcriptions. By and large, however, I believe that an intuitive link of some sort or other between the Greek letter and its base key on the keyboard makes the scheme easy to learn.

I had to improvise with some of my own shortcuts, since many of the more obvious combos were already assigned to accented characters used in writing other languages (mostly with the vowels), but for those of you who only deal with Greek, something like this might work nicely.

α Alt+A
ά Ctrl+Alt+A
ὰ Ctrl+Shift+A
ᾶ Shift+Alt+A
ᾱ Ctrl+Alt+Shift+A

β Alt+B

Γ Shift+Alt+G
γ Alt+G

Δ Shift+Alt+D
δ Alt+D

ε Alt+E
έ Ctrl+Alt+E
ὲ Ctrl+Shift+E

ζ Alt+Z

η Alt+H
ή Ctrl+Alt+H
ὴ Ctrl+Shift+H
ῆ Shift+Alt+H

Θ Ctrl+Alt+ShiftT
θ Ctrl+Alt+T

ι Alt+I
ί Ctrl+Alt+I
ὶ Ctrl+Shift+I
ῖ Shift+Alt+I
ῑ Ctrl+Alt+Shift+A

κ Alt+K

Λ Shift+Alt+L
λ Alt+L

μ Alt+M

ν Alt+N

Ξ Shift+Alt+X
ξ Alt+X

ó Ctrl+Alt+O
ò Ctrl+Shift+O

Π Shift+Alt+P
π Alt+P

ρ Alt+R

Σ Shift+Alt+S
σ Alt+S
ς Ctrl+Alt+S

τ Alt+T

Φ Shift+Alt+F
φ Alt+F

χ Alt+C

Ψ Shift+Alt+Y
ψ Alt+Y

ω Alt+W
ώ Ctrl+Alt+W
ὼ Ctrl+Shift+W
ῶ Shift+Alt+W

Of course, there's still iota-subscripts and aspiration to consider, but a system like the above should at least reduce the hindrances to typing fluency presented by polytonic Greek even if it can't eliminate them entirely. Also, while I'm not sure how acceptable it would be in formal academia, for my own purposes I just leave smooth breathing unmarked and put a single open quote in front of a word with rough breathing. For iota-subscript, I tend to just type the iota normally, highlight it, open the Format window, and select "Subscript." The result doesn't look exactly like the traditional representation, but the intent is clear enough. It's still a break in the flow of typing, but probably not quite as much so as inputting a hexadecimal code is.

Anyway, this is all just an idea, if nothing else. If someone somewhere has already proposed this or I've misunderstood the usual Unicode-input method, feel free to let me know.
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Re: One More Option for Greek Typing

Postby Lex » Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:36 am

I think you've misunderstood the usual Unicode input method. If you set up your computer to use the Greek Polytonic keyboard, you can input Greek much easier than with the system you've come up with, and certainly much, much easier than entering hex codes. To set up the Greek keyboard, go to the Control Panel -> Regional and Language Options -> Keyboards and Languages.

I've attached a text file that I use for reference, that will assist you in learning how to type using the Greek keyboard. The top section, "Cut/Paste Characters", is a bunch of characters with extra diacritical marks, that cannot be typed using the Greek keyboard. To enter these into a document, cut and paste them from the text file. They can only be viewed properly with the New Athena Unicode font. The following sections give you the keystrokes for consonants, vowels with or without diacritical marks, and punctuation marks.

NB: You can also type Latin with macrons by using the Maori keyboard, strangely enough.
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Re: One More Option for Greek Typing

Postby Lex » Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:39 am

Let's try that file include one more time.
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Re: One More Option for Greek Typing

Postby spiphany » Sat Nov 06, 2010 3:23 pm

I second the advice to use the language settings on your computer. This has the advantage that you can type normally without constantly having to hold down key combinations, and you can switch between keyboards by simply by clicking on the language tab on your computer. This also works for ALL programs on your computer, while using key combinations tends to be limited to just Word.

In addition to the polytonic greek keyboard included on Windows machines, you can also download custom keyboards which you may find a bit more intuitive than the Windows one. These are usually based on some variant of betacode -- i.e., if you type a and then [ you will get .
I've been using Tavultesoft and the keyboard layout provided by David Perry at his Fonts for scholars page, I'm sure there are others available.

If you don't want to be bothered with switching keyboards, or if you're using a public computer without your special settings, I like the online unicode classical greek inputter.
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ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: One More Option for Greek Typing

Postby Craig_Thomas » Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:24 pm

The browser-based Typegreek is probably the quickest way to write a little polytonic Greek: http://www.typegreek.com/

For longer documents, or anything I'd like to save, I use Unicorn, a word processor that lets you switch instantly between Latin and polytonic Greek (or Hebrew) with a keyboard shortcut, and also has Greek and Latin dictionaries: http://www.quasillum.com/software/unicorn.htm

Sybilla is a good program that works much like Tavultesoft's Keyman (but only produces polytonic Greek): http://recursos.cnice.mec.es/latingriego/Palladium/5_aps/enplap17.htm

For Latin with macra, Lex's suggestion of using the Maori keyboard layout is the best I know.
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