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Background Research

There exists no standard Khasi keyboard layout that I can find. I previously reported that a Github user had created their own keyboard, but after looking into it, they keyboard contained many extraneous features (such as letters with accent marks) that appear neither in Khasi nor in English, the language official to where the Khasis live.



As there were no existing layouts, I decided to base the Khasi layout on the English keyboard, as Khasi uses only a subset of the English letters, as well as its own ï, ñ, and digraph ng. Furthermore, English is an official language where Khasi is spoken, and loanwords in Khasi often appear in English. Eg[1]

For the Khasi keyboard layout, I chose to replace the English z and x keys of the QWERTY keyboard with ñ and ï. I did so because these were two letters not found in Khasi (other than in English loan words), and these letters appear very infrequently in English words. I chose to represent ng as two separate characters, n and g. Lastly, I replaced the dollar sign with the Rupee sign.

On top of the Khasi keyboard, I chose to add the IPA symbols representing Khasi characters, as well as a few extra characters I thought necessary, such as the z key, x key, and dollar sign. In adding the IPA, I chose to place these symbols on the same key as the orthography that typically produced the sound represented by the IPA as much as possible. For example, I placed the glottal stop [ʔ] on key h. In the case of [o], which is usually represented by u, I already had [u] and [ʊ] taking up the full space, so I placed [o] on the same key as <o>. This leads me to my second point; I did not want the keyboard user to have to switch back to the Khasi orthographic layout in order to type such Latin IPA symbols as [a], [e], [i], [o], and [u], so I added them again to the IPA layout.


  • Save this file in /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/

(If you cant cd into this, you might be in home directory (~). If this is the case, try typing 'cd /' into the terminal before cd /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/

  • Now head into /usr/share/X11/xkb/rules/ to open the file evdev.xml. You may have to use the 'sudo' command to do this.
  • Search for </layoutList> in the file
  • Paste the following code between the last </layout> and </layoutList>:


   <description>Khasi and IPA Keyboard</description>


  • Restart your computer
  • Go to your keyboard layout settings (will be different for each operating system, so Google is your friend) and you should be able to find a keyboard called Khasi and IPA Keyboard. Add this keyboard, and there you have it!


This keyboard is licensed with a GNU General Public License v3.0.