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A keyboard layout for Purépecha.

A keyboard layout for Purépecha (default)

A keyboard layout for Purépecha.

A keyboard layout for Purépecha (option)


The official Purépecha alphabet (P’URHEPECHA JIMBO KARARAKUECHA) is:

  • a b ch chʼ d e g i ï j k kʼ m n nh o p pʼ r rh s t tʼ ts tsʼ u x

Though we considered creating a unique and Purépechan specific keyboard layout, we decided this might not be favorable as several speakers of the language may also know Spanish and would need a keyboard to serve both languages. The Purépechan people know learned Spanish because the Mexican government encourage speakers of Indigenous languages to abandon their languages in favor of Spanish; this caused the status of the Purépechan language to become more endangered. It wasn't until 2003 the Congress of the Union of Mexico approved the General Law of Linguistic Rights of the Indigenous Peoples which protected the language as a "national language" [1].

We adapted a (Spain) Spanish keyboard as the base for our layout. This is because we wanted the keyboard to be useful for both Spanish and Purépecha speakers. For letters in the Purépechan alphabet that use two Latin letters such as "ch" and "nh," we decided that users would sequentially press the "c" key and then the "h" key. This does result in slightly slower typing, but it allows the keyboard to remain versatile to speakers of both languages. For other special letters (particularly the ones with the aspirated apostrophe (ʼ)), we made use of the "Option" key. The second picture above shows which keys are available to the user when they press "Option." The idea is that, for example, if the user presses option and then the letter c, they should get chʼ. This is a shortcut as the user would not have to press "h" to get the aspirated "ch': letter. The full combinations are:

  • OPTION + c = chʼ
  • OPTION + i = ï
  • OPTION + k = kʼ
  • OPTION + p = pʼ
  • OPTION + t = tʼ
  • OPTION + s = tsʼ

In mapping these new keyboard outputs, we lost a few characters, such as ß, ˆ, and †. Most of the characters we deemed to be insignificant, except the carrot ^ symbol. In order to regain that symbol, we mapped to ALT + m. This. in turn, left the new keyboard without a µ character.

Lastly, we added the aspirated apostrophe (ʼ) to the keyboard for users who wish to aspirate their letters manually. This is done by holding the "Option" key and pressing the falling accent key (`).

Existing Resources

Purepechan does not appear to have any keyboard already available. It is assumed that Purépechan speakers type on the Spanish keyboard using Latin letters as the Spanish created an alphabet for their language using latin phonetics. Nearly all sounds from Purépechan are supported (in different ways) by the Spanish language, but could be suboptimal for users.