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My involvement in internationalizing software has required that I be able to use multiple languages and scripts while not changing the basic language/locale set-up of my workstation. As a result, I took my personal time to create new keyboard layouts, and extended fonts to add support for some non-English languages and non-Roman scripts, where needed.

These internationalization-utilities are here available for public download and use, gratis. (A few of the items are restricted by their licenses and are available for private, but not for commercial use. However most things have no such restriction—so check the text surrounding each item for information that limits usage.)

The items made available fall into the following categories.

♦  Fonts

Fonts are, of course, the central key to using multiple languages in any computer milieu. Although all personal computer operating systems now provide at least a few fonts with a wide range of character-sets, there can be holes left in the provisions because the font makers are working to satisfy the most general cases they assume the users will find themselves in. This often means a lowest common-denominator approach, or limited implementations, constrained by cost or time.

In order to produce full characters sets, such as for all Roman-based scripts of the European Union, plus to support less common, 'scholarly' documents that required characters not found in extant font definitions, I have extended several open source fonts with sufficient additional characters supporting those EU languages, as well as capable of rendering documents in Old English, Old Norse, fully marked Latin, and the (pre-1800) Old Style formatting used for English-language books and documents printed in the United Kingdom and within the Colonies which became the United States and Canada.

I found one font family to be of such amazing beauty and readability, Simonetta, that I extended it with all the characters it was lacking, specifically in order to support all the languages of the European Union that make diacritical use of the Latin character set. On the bottom of its web page you will find a listing of all the additional European languages that it now supports, along with their alphabets.

To these I have added a font that implements the pre-Nazi era German script-form: Fraktur—creating a computer font that replicates a specific liquid-metal font long-used in printing German texts. (Along with this, I provide keyboard maps to aid in the correct use of the required Fraktur letter-forms and ligatures.)

 

  • Dichtung and DichtungAlt

  • SimonettaExt

  • Gentium BasicExt

 

♦  Keyboard layouts

As an easier method for accessing the extra characters added in those fonts, or alphabetic characters within non-Roman character sets of existing fonts, I have created new keyboard layouts that use the traditional, Western European language supporting QWERTY keyboard layout as the basis for the two classes of these keyboard layouts: Roman-based and non-Roman based.

In each non-Roman layout, the Latin-letter keytops are used (as much as is possible) as a phonemic guide to the nearest logically matching letter from the target script, thus in the Devanagari layout, pressing ‘g’ will produce ’ and ‘G’ will produce ’. In this layout, as expected, the non-halant letters are lower case and their corresponding halants are the matching uppercase keys. However, for other logical sets, and in other scripts, such logic-based arrangements will necessarily vary.

  • Latin International

  • Fraktur: US-QWERTY and German-QWERTZ

  • English Old Style (support for long-s & extended ligatures)

    Non-Roman, phonemic:

  • Arabic QWERTY

  • Devanagari QWERTY

  • Hebrew QWERTY

  • Russian QWERTY

Plus an information guide on using the Polytonic Greek keyboard layout supplied by Microsoft.

 

♦  Texts

To illustrate usage of the fonts herein provided, I have edited and formatted various public domain texts into PDF format for freely accessible individual or classroom use. This list will grow longer with my further efforts.

  • German (formatted in Fraktur)
    • Thomas Mann: Tonio Kröger
    • Thomas Mann: Der Tod in Venedig

  • Anglo-Saxon
    • Beowulf — full text and glossary

  • Old Style English
    • US Founding-Documents The Engli Bill of Rights (), The Articles of Confederation, The Conſtitution, The Bill of Rights & other Amendments

    • Henry Wordsworth Longfellow: The Wreck of the Hesperus

 

 

 

 

 

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