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Since the Kaithi script is quite similar to Devanagari, we created this layout by switching out the Devanagri characters for the corresponding Kaithi ones in Microsoft's "Hindi Traditional" keyboard. Since Hindi is one of India's official languages, we expect the organization to be familiar enough to improve ease of learnability while sidestepping the implications of using a colonizer language like English.
Another advantage of using a Hindi layout as a template is that Kaithi has fewer characters than Hindi, so we don't need to worry about running out of keys.
However, some Kaithi characters have no complements in Hindi. We put the Kaithi number sign (U+110bd) on the leftmost key in the number row, since it is often used with numbers. For the same reason, we placed the enumeration sign (U+110bc) on the same key in the Shift State.
Kaithi lacks periods and commas, but it has four characters that function similarly to periods: the section sign, double section sign, danda, double danda. We put these symbols on the keys corresponding to the English comma, CTRL+comma, period, and Shift+period. We chose this arrangement because our corpus and Wikipedia indicated that Kaithi uses the double variants of each symbol less often than their single variants. We would have placed the double section sign on Shift+comma, but our Hindi template used another character there, and we wanted to minimize surprises so users accustomed to typing in Hindi could easily learn this layout.
Our keyboard has no dead keys; to type a diacritic, press the corresponding key, and the computer will format it appropriately.
After including the Kaithi characters, we still had so many empty keys that we added the English shift state for the number row ('!@#$%^&*()-+') along with the comma and period on the x and z keys. Given the ubiquity of these punctuation marks on the internet, typists should be able to access them without switching from their Kaithi keyboard.

Existing Resources

  • IOS, Android [1], Windows, and Linux already have Hindi keyboards. Like Hindi, modern Magahi also uses a Devanagari script.
  • Magahi once used the Kaithi script. It is similar to Devanagari, but we have not found a Kaithi keyboard. [2]