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Typing guide to the Syriac phonetic keyboard

Typing guide to the Syriac phonetic keyboard

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Published by Gareth Hughes
A manual guide to the Syriac characters and how they can be accessed when using the Syriac phonetic keyboard.
A manual guide to the Syriac characters and how they can be accessed when using the Syriac phonetic keyboard.

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Published by: Gareth Hughes on Aug 31, 2010
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03/07/2013

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Typing guide to the Syriac phonetic keyboard
Gareth Hughes –
ܙܗ ܬܪ
*
7th January 2009
*
Thanks go toBeth Mardutho: the Syriac Institutefor developing the
Meltho
fonts and Syriackeyboards.
i
 
Contents
1 Introduction12 Regular Syriac letters13 Additional letters24 Vowels35 Diacritics46 Punctuation and other marks57 Writing Gaúni68 Control characters7A Unicode8
List of Tables
1 Key bindings of the regular Syriac letters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Key bindings of additional Syriac letters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Key bindings of Syriac vowel points. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Key bindings for various diacritics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Punctuation and other marks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Vowels and Hama  ́t for Garšúni. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Syriac Unicode block 1st nibble 0700–070F. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Syriac Unicode block 2nd nibble 0710–071F. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Syriac Unicode block 3rd nibble 0720–072F. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 910 Syriac Unicode block – 4th nibble – 0730–073F. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1011 Syriac Unicode block – 5th nibble – 0740–074F. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10ii
 
Hughes – 
Typing guide to the Syriac phonetic keyboard 
1
1 Introduction
Syriac has never been an easy language in which to print. Handwritten Syriac manu-scripts are still produced today: half a nod to tradition, and half because it is ofteneasier that way. The early editions of John F Healey’s
First Studies in Syriac
1
havebeautifully handwritten Syriac text. However, Syriacists have always been keen totame the script to the latest printing technology, be it by the missionaries bearingprinting presses or modern computer-font designers.The
Meltho
fonts produced byBeth Mardutho: the Syriac Instituteare designedto take advantage of two modern font technologies –
Unicode
and
OpenType
(see Ap-pendixAonpage8)makingthemtcomfortablyinaexible, multilingualenviron- ment. In this document, Esṭrángelā text is displayed in the
Edessa
font (
ܐܝܗܪܘܕ
), Sérṭo text in
Jerusalem
(
ܷ  ܻܪܘ ܽܕ ܴ ܶ 
) and East Syriac text in
Adiabene
(
ܒ ܿܼ ܿܼ ܕ ܵ ܵ ܿܼ 
).With the
Meltho
fonts come two virtual keyboards for typing in Syriac. A virtualkeyboard is a dierent way of mapping the keys of the keyboard to dierent char-acters. Most modern operating systems can handle multiple virtual keyboards andallow a user to switch between them with a mouse click or keyboard shortcut. Therst virtual keyboard is the
Syriac 101 Standard Keyboard
, which maps the Syriaccharacters to the keys of a standard Arabic keyboard. This is only useful if you havea standard Arabic keyboard or have memorised the locations of the keys on one.Theothervirtualkeyboardisthe
 SyriacPhoneticKeyboard
. Thiskeyboardattemptsto match Syriac characters phonetically (more or less!) to the letters on a standardUS keyboard: so the ‘d’ key produces a
ܕ
. Although this keyboard is modelled onthe US keyboard layout, it is equally suited to my UK keyboard, which simply hassome keys in dierent positions. This guide is based on my UK keyboard, but can bemodied for other keyboard layouts.
2
The 22 basic Syriac letters are all quite easyto nd, but the vowels and assorted points can be a little dicult to get the hang of.I originally wrote this guide as an aide mémoire to the key combinations required. Ihope you, the reader, nd it as useful as I.
2 Regular Syriac letters
The 22 regular letters of the Syriac alphabet are mapped as closely as possible totheir phonetic equivalents on the keyboard (see Table1). Of course, there are a fewoddities that one has to get used to, like nding Ḥēṯ on the semicolon, Ṭēṯ on the ‘j’,ʿĒ on the ‘i’ (which makes some sense), Ṣā  ́ḏē on the ‘x’ and Šin on the ‘v’.
1
John F Healey (1980).
First Studies in Syriac
. Birmingham.
2
The standard US keyboard does not have an ‘AltGr’ key, but sometimes the right ‘Alt’ key canbe gured to act like ‘AltGr’, or the combination ‘Alt’+‘Ctrl’ (pressed in that order) can do the same.Otherwise, just some keys have moved around. As this guide uses the UK keyboard, you can translateback to a US keyboard by reading ¬ as ∼, ” as @, £ as # and @ as ”. Mac keyboards are slightlydierent again, but the dierences should be easy to spot.

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