Siberian Yupik/Keyboard

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Existing Resources

I have found two existing examples of a keyboard for Siberian Yupik, neither of which seems to be widely used or very extensively developed. The language has been written in both Latin script and in Cyrillic so the first keyboard I found was in Cyrillic script here. I don't know much about Cyrillic, but it appears to use significantly less characters than something like a Russian keyboard layout. This might be explained by the fact that the phonetic inventory is relatively small and when written in Latin script it does not include as many characters as English.

The second keyboard I found was in Latin script, it looks very similar to a standard English keyboard and is linked here. The only difference is that the forward slash key is used to add an accent to any letter and the semicolon key is used to add a bridge between two letters. There are also two different keys for opening and closing quotes, as opposed to just one key.

Because the letters used in Siberian Yupik overlap so significantly with a standard English keyboard, I will be creating a keyboard for phonetic transcription instead. Along with phonetic letters like ɣ and ʂ, the significant diacritics that are needed are for labialization and voicelessness which are both found extensively in the language.

Keyboard Design

Because all of the resources I am working with are written in latin script, I will use a standard QWERTY English keyboard as the base for the keyboard I am creating. All normal characters will be available, but the phonetic characters that I need to include are in the following tables.

Consonants

Labial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
plain lab. plain lab.
Nasal voiceless ŋ̊ ŋ̊ʷ
voiced m n ŋ ŋʷ
Stop p t k q
Fricative voiceless f s ʂ x χ χʷ h
voiced v z ʐ ɣ ɣʷ ʁ ʁʷ
lateral ɬ
Approximant l j

Vowels

Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid ə
Open a

I thought for a while about how to include all of these characters, and considered a couple of different methods including the altGr key and other key combinations, but I eventually settled on using exclusively deadkeys as there are not too many characters I had to add. I also decided to use just one deadkey, which is forward slash (/) for all the extra characters because I saw it on a different keyboard while working on the project and it seemed quite convenient. All of the IPA characters that resemble standard latin characters are typed with /+[latin character] for example / + r -> ʁ the voiced uvular fricative and / + n -> ŋ the voiced velar nasal. The only character in Siberian Yupik phonetics that doesn't resemble a latin character is ɣ the voiced velar fricative which is typed with / + g.

The two diacritics are also typed with the forward slash deadkey. For the voiceless diacritic / + o is typed, followed by the character you want to apply it to, for example / + o + / + n -> ŋ̊. The diacritic symbol for labialization works differently and is considered a separate character, to it has to be typed after the character you want to apply it to. The diacritic is typed with / + w for example q + /w -> qʷ.

If you ever need to type the forward slash normally, just follow the forward slash with a space (or any character that is not modified with this layout) and it will become a standard forward slash.

Layout

~
`

!
1

@
2

#
3

$
4

%
5

^
6

&
7

*
8

(
9

)
0

_
-

+
=

       
Q
q

W
w

◌ʷ
E
e

ə
R
r

ʁ
T
t

Y
y

U
u

I
i

O
o

◌ ̊
P
p

{
[

}
]

|
\

        
A
a

a
S
s

ʂ
D
d

F
f

G
g

ɣ
H
h

J
j

K
k

L
l

ɬ
:
;

"
'

           
Z
z

ʐ
X
x

χ
C
c

V
v

B
b

N
n

ŋ
M
m

<
,

>
.

?
/

All green letters triggered by deadkey "/"

Interesting choice. Any reason you didn't go with Alt-Gr? -JNW

Installation Instructions

This keyboard only works on Linux

  1. Install Ibus with sudo apt-get install ibus-m17n followed by im-config -n ibus
  2. Copy the ess.mim file from the github repository here and put it in ~/usr/share/m17n/
  3. Right click on the Ibus icon by the clock and click Preferences/Input Method/Add then scroll down, click on the 3 dots, and select the "ess Phonetic" option

Probably ~/.m17n.d/ is preferable? -JNW

This keyboard has a fully permissive license