Keyboard Interfaces























Some of the special characters that become easily accessible:

                 ŋ, Ŋ,Ŋ, ä, Ä, ḏ, ḻ, ṉ, ṟ, ṯ, Ḏ, Ḻ, Ṉ, Ṟ, á¹®

Computers and other technology have become essential tools in today's world, helping us communicate more effectively in print, as well as through the digital media of email, websites, and other technology.  Unfortunately, not all languages have had equal access to the digital revolution, because computer software has been largely designed for the writing systems of English and other major languages.  Consequently, there is a growing gap –- often called a digital divide --- marginalising people whose writing systems are not supported on standard computers. 

To represent the range of  sounds found in their languages, speakers of Pitjantjatjara in Central Australia and numerous Yolŋu languages in Arnhem Land use writing systems which include symbols (alphabet letters) not found in the standard English alphabet. Recently AuSIL has worked with Aboriginal communities, educational institutions, and other partners to help overcome the digital divide, that has made it difficult to use these symbols on standard computers and keyboards. A simple software tool has been developed, enabling all the symbols in Aṉangu and Yolŋu alphabets to be accessed quickly and effectively on any modern computer.

In the past, speakers of minority languages around the world have often been hindered in their ability to communicate in writing, because there was no easy way to type and print their language in their alphabet. In the age of typewriters, rarely-used keys were often physically removed and modified to make the special symbols needed in a minority language writing system.  When computers first became widely available, various ways were found to produce special symbols, but the results were often limited to a single custom made font. And, if that special font was not installed on the next computer used to read or display the file, it would not display or print correctly, often producing the infamously frustrating   or ????? symbols.  In today's world, this meant that even if files were made correctly on a customised computer, they would not display or print correctly when sent by email or put on the web.

As time passed, the computer industry has become more language aware and has developed a single standard for character codes (called 'Unicode'), to represent all the symbols used in all the writing systems in the world.  While this is good news for speakers of minority languages, it is only part of the solution, because the keyboards on most computers available in Australia are still the standard keyboards used for typing English.  This is where AuSIL has made a contribution, by creating software interfaces which allow a person using a standard keyboard to have quick and easy access to all the special symbols in the Aṉangu and Yolŋu alphabets, in the full range of Unicode fonts that are available on all of today's computers. Not only does this allow a much greater variety and choice of typefaces and font styles, it also ensures that the file displays and prints correctly, when transferred or sent to another computer. Among other things, this means it is now possible to send and receive email and to have websites that correctly display text written in Aṉangu and Yolŋu languages.

Communication is an essential component of life, and the ability to communicate in the digital world has become indispensable to much of life, including areas such as health care, education, economic development, and general communication.  With these AuSIL keyboard interfaces, Aṉangu and Yolŋu communities are able to communicate in the digital world in more powerful ways.

These electronic keyboards are available for both Windows and Macintosh computers.

Yolngu-J_ia64.msi111.5 KB
Yolngu-J_ia64.zip45.29 KB
Yolngu-J keyboard.zip64.31 KB
Yolngu-J_i386.msi112 KB
Yolngu-J_amd64.msi111.5 KB
Yolngu dwg.zip2.19 MB
Keyboard poster.jpg285.38 KB
Anangu.zip379.98 KB
InstructionsYM-Unicode_keyb_MAC.zip412.87 KB
Yolngu-7.zip965.96 KB
Yolŋgu-Mac.zip9.46 KB
Ukelele_1.7.dmg_.zip2.19 MB
YMK_Mac_OS10.pdf3.34 MB
YMK_Mac_OS9.pdf3.13 MB
YMK_Windows_update.pdf339.22 KB