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Available Resources

  • No Wamesa keyboards could be found on the internet prior to this assignment, probably because Wamesa is such a small, under-resourced language, and because its alphabet is a subset of the Latin alphabet. Though Wamesa does have different sounds from English - for example, the voiced bilabial fricative - it approximates them using Latin letters.
  • My Wamesa transcription keyboard can be found for free here on Github.


  • Since Wamesa can be easily written on a normal English keyboard, I decided to create a specialized IPA keyboard for the sounds of Wamesa. I based my Wamesa transcription keyboard on Jonathon's IPA keyboard, so that I already had many of the unicode values given. From there, I replaced each key as follows: the numeric/symbolic characters maintained their original assignment of Alt-Gr characters. The alphabet keys were changed so that with no Alt key, regular letters are printed, whereas pressing Alt (and Shift with it, if needed) will bring you into IPA mode. This is designed to be a convenient multitool for someone in the field who wants to document Wamesa quickly.
  • I also added just a few IPA symbols that are not used by Wamesa, the goal being to fill/balance out the keyboard assignments. For example, the 'y' key prints 'j' and 'y', though /y/ is not a sound of Wamesa.


This guide assumes Linux

  • In a terminal with Git installed, run git clone git@github.swarthmore.edu:twarner2/ling073-wad-keyboard.git
  • Run cp ling073-wad-keyboard/wad ../../usr/share/X11/xkd/symbols
  • Add a layout entry in usr/share/X11/xkd/rules/evdev.xml as follows:

       <description>Tai's Wamesa Transcription Keyboard</description>
  • Run --replace on your desktop environment.


  • This keyboard is free and open for anyone to use (MIT License). I do not accept responsibility for anyone's work using my keyboard.


Keyboard Layout