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Existing Resources

We were not able to find any keyboard layouts designed specifically for Biak. Since Biak uses a subset of the Latin alphabet, it's quite natural to use the QWERTY keyboard layout, which is what is used to type nearby common languages such as Indonesian or Malay.

Biak Keyboard Layout

Biak Keyboard.png

My intention in the instructions (which I see now wasn't very clear) was for the layout to be documented in the same way as the Spanish layout—not as a screenshot, but using wiki markup. —Jonathan


We designed this keyboard with the goal of making the design more ergonomic for Biak speakers. We tried to adhere to a few design principles, inspired by the Dvorak keyboard layout for English [1]. In particular:

  • More common letters should be on the home row, where they will be easier to reach.
  • Letters should be typed with alternating hands as much as possible. Our analysis included frequent letter pairings, and we tried to separate these wherever possible. Like on the Dvorak keyboard, vowels are on the left side of the home row, while the most used consonants are on the right.
  • Since words in Biak commonly end with vowels, the most common punctuation marks (periods and commas) should be typed by the right hand.
  • Other punctuation, and Latin letters that are not commonly used in Biak are placed in the bottom row and off to the right side.

Note: this design was informed by a rudimentary analysis of character frequencies performed on a small corpus of Biak text, which was gathered from a few sources and mainly features speakers of the Biak-Numfoor dialect [2]. We do not claim this keyboard is easier to learn or use for Biak speakers. Biak speakers who are familiar with Indonesian or Malay may prefer to use the QWERTY keyboard layout instead.


Installation instructions for MacOS:

  • Download the keyboard from our GitHub repository. Either clone the entire repository or access the raw text of our GitHub Biak Keyboard (make sure to change the file type from .txt to .keylayout if downloading raw text).
  • Switch into the directory where you saved the file on Terminal and type the following command: sudo cp Biak_Keyboard.keylayout /Library/Keyboard\ Layouts/
  • Restart your machine
  • Navigate to: System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources > +
  • Scroll down on the list of languages to where it says "Others"
  • Click on "Biak"


ling073-bhw-keyboard is licensed under the MIT license.