--- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Nicholas Bodley" <nbodley@...> wrote:
> On Mon, 26 Jul 2004 17:44:41 -0000, suzmccarth <suzmccarth@...>
> wrote:
> > I don't want to have to have read this book and that book.
> Although it's off-topic, there has been some commenatry about
> usage here. Suzanne expresses so concisely a criterion for a good
> operating system and good software: One shouldn't need to read a
book to
> use it.

Hi Nicholas. The new Q9 input method for Chinese -


is supposed to be learnable in 5 minutes, whether you read Chinese
or not. It is used for Nokia phones and is being introduced into
grade 2 classes in Hong Kong this year. It offers several different
modes, phonetic, glyph, stroke, etc. The demo can be tried on-
line. I have only tried the glyph input so far.

In the search for a good input system for Indic scripts, I think
this Q9 method should be viewed. Andrew Dunbar also has some great
ideas. I have moved back to my original notion that input should be
visual-based and syllabic-oriented in Chinese and Tamil, rather than
based on phonetic segments, i.e. Pinyin or transliteration.

The segments that are used to compose the syllable should be the
visual elements found within the glyph. For Tamil this would be
mean using visual sequence of glyph elements.

I had thought that Pinyin was great for keyboarding Chinese but
found when in China that there is a demographic split. The
university educated and urban teens use Pinyin input but when I
talked to other adults in China, teachers from HK and teachers in
China, teachers of the dyslexic and the very young, and aid
personnel working with farmers, they all agreed that glyph-based was
easier. Pinyin is a restricted literacy and not universal even in

If one does, it's badly designed. In general, most people don't
> realize what good and bad design are; I doubt that they even
> design as a[n] human activity, as something that exists.

The test of an appropriate input method would be that it can be
learned without detailed instruction. The input should be intuitive
to native speakers (including children) of the language.

Suzanne McCarthy