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Existing Resources

We have found no existing keyboard layouts for Tiwi and have looked on the macOS operating systems and iOS on both a phone and a tablet. We have also found no keyboard apps supporting the language through preliminary research. We speculate that people who type in Tiwi use the US English keyboard as that is the primary keyboard used in Australia.

Chosen Layout


We made two keyboard layouts; both using standard US English as a baseline. The first uses the key to toggle between US English and Tiwi orthography as dictated by Omniglot.

This keyboard has the following attributes:

  • Phonemes with a one to one mapping remain the same as standard US English because that is the most popular keyboard used in Australia
  • Phonemes without a one to one mapping were given keys and were placed depending on frequency
    • Tiwi has less phonemes than standard US English, so there was more space to add other phonemes
    • Phoneme combinations that occurred often together in our corpus are near on the keyboard
    • Phonemes that don't appear frequently in our corpus are mapped to infrequent US English phonemes or in convenient locations to make the keyboard as symmetric as possible
    • The - symbol is moved to a more convenient location as it is used frequently throughout sources in our corpus.

A main concern for this keyboard is speed, because needs to be held to view the Tiwi Orthography keyboard. Majority of the keyboard is the same as the US English layout, so it is not a huge concern, but it is also not convenient. Our second keyboard addresses the convenience issue.

The second keyboard uses the key to toggle between US English and Tiwi IPA symbols also sourced from Omniglot.

  • In the case of one-to-one correspondence, IPA mapped directly
  • In the case of two-to-one (i.e. rn ->ɳ), the first IPA symbol key is a dead key with a terminator that corresponds to its one-to-one mapping if there is one
    • ex: option + r + n -> ɳ, but option + r -> ɻ
  • For consistency (and so you never have to release option when you want to do transcription), all IPA symbols represented in Tiwi are represented on the second layer keyboard accessed by the option key (even if they are equivalent the same as the letter in the latin alphabet)
  • Hit control + ' to access ʼ, which represents a glottal stop in the orthography

Layout Documentation

Tiwi Orthography Keyboard

Tiwi ortho.png

Tiwi IPA Keyboard

Tiwi ipa.png

Combinations of inputs that result in other inputs include the following (Tiwi Transcription.kelayout):

  • ' = ʼ
  • ' = ʔ
  • g = ɰ
  • j = ʒ
  • r = ɻ
  • r l = ɭ
  • r n = ɳ
  • r r = r
  • r t = ʈ
  • t h =
  • n h =
  • n g = ŋ

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

Installation (for MacOS)

  • Download the .keylayout file and copy to ~/Library/Keyboard\ Layouts
  • Restart your computer
  • Go to System Preferences -> keyboard -> input sources
  • Scroll to the bottom of the list of keyboards and select "Others"
  • Select "Tiwi"


Our keyboard layout is licensed with the MIT License. More information can be found in our GitHub repository.