Linux, Unicode, and Armenian Language support

Have you installed Linux and not sure how to type in Armenian? Are you not happy with the available Unicode fonts or keyboard layouts for the Armenian language? Then read on...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New Armenian keyboard layouts for GNU/Linux

I wasn't satisfied with the keyboard layout for the Armenian language that came by default in my X Windows setup for SUSE Linux 10.1. I only got a single layout, Phonetics, which was close to the Eastern Armenian layout on Windows XP, but not quite that.

I wanted the same 2 options that I got in Windows XP: Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian layouts.

After a night of tinkering, I created three new layouts, Armenian (eastern), Armenian (western), and Armenian (easter, WinXP).

1. Armenian (eastern)
This layout is the same as the Eastern Armenian layout that comes with Windows XP, with the following exceptions:

a. The mappings for 'g' and 'c' have been reversed. I suspect this was a bug in the Windows XP Eastern Armenian layout, because 'g' more closely matches the Armenian letter գ (pronounced 'gim' in Eastern Armenian) than does 'c', and because 'c' more closely matches the Armenian letter ք (pronounced 'keh' in Eastern Armenian.

b. Keycode AE01 (the number 1) which maps to a colon in the XP layout has been mapped to the Unicode Armenian_full_stop.

c. The capital AE07 (the ampersand, &) which maps to "ken" in the XP layout hase been mapped to the Unicode Armenian ligature ew


2. Armenian (western)
This layout is the same as the Western Armenian layout that comes with Windows XP, with the following exceptions:

a. Keycode AE01 (the number 1) which maps to a colon in the XP layout has been mapped to the Unicode Armenian_full_stop, ։.

b. The Shift + AE07 (the ampersand, &) which maps to "ken" in the XP layout hase been mapped to the Unicode Armenian ligature ew, և.


3. Armenian (eastern, WinXP)
I included this layout for those who still want to use the original Eastern Armenian layout from Windows XP, which includes the bug described above. Therefore, this layout is the same as the Eastern Armenian layout that comes with Windows XP, with the following exceptions:

a. Keycode AE01 (the number 1) which maps to a colon in the XP layout has been mapped to the Unicode Armenian_full_stop, ։.

b. The capital AE07 (the ampersand, &) which maps to "ken" in the XP layout hase been mapped to the Unicode Armenian ligature ew, և.

Stay tuned for the next article on how to install these new keyboard layouts on your system.

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