Back in 2007 I put together a Microsoft Windows keyboard layout for the Shavian alphabet. Unfortunately moments after published it on this site, I noticed a big problem with the encoding. So I took the download down until such a time as I could get around to rebuilding it. Five years later, it’s done! Yeah, I’m kinda busy, so if you’ve been waiting then I’m really sorry that it took so long.
The Shavian alphabet is alternative alphabet for the English language which attempts to provide simple phonetic spelling of words. It was funded by George Bernard Shaw, giving rise to it occasionally being called the Shaw alphabet. As of April 2003, Shavian was added to the Unicode Standard at block U+10450–U+1047F in Plane 1 (Supplementary Multilingual).
To be able to see the Unicode Shavian characters you need a suitable font installed. I’ve previously recommended the “ESL Shavian Unicode” by Ethan at http://www.30below.com/%7Eethanl/fonts.html – however the site appears to have been offline for sometime now. Thankfully there are many other good fonts available. My preference is Andagii by Mark Williamson. This font has been released under a copyleft license and looks excellent (see the below image for an example). I’ve included a copy on this site to make sure that it’s available for anyone downloading the keyboard layout.
The keyboard layout available here allows you to input the Shavian Unicode characters with ease. Obviously you’ll want to be able to type using your normal layout as well as using the Shavian. So Windows allows you to switch between keyboard layouts using the Language Bar. Personally I think that they could have made it easier to use, but I’ve found it adequate once it was all setup on my computer (I have Windows 7 Ultimate). Please refer to Microsoft’s website(s) for help on using the language bar.
Back before Unicode was common place and before Shavian was added to the Unicode standard, it was common to create font’s which contain Shavian characters in the positions where normal Latin characters should be. By design this approach creates a key mapping from Latin to Shavian. One such font was created by Ross DeMeyere, of DeMeyere Design Incorporated, and has some excellent companion documentation. So, I have simply followed his existing mapping of standard Latin keys to Shavian characters – which means that his documentation serves as excellent reference material for anyone wishing to type Shavian using my keyboard layout. Please download the documentation file from Ross DeMeyere’s website – due to the copyright notice I have not made this file available for download from this site, however I will do if the original goes offline permanently.
However, please note the one exception being that I have placed the namer dot (·) on Shift + L because I wanted to keep the ability to type a forward slash (/).
For reference the Shavian keyboard layout can viewed in the following images (click for higher resolutions). The first image shows the layout without any modifier keys, such as Shift, being pressed. The second image shows the layout as it can be used while the Shift key is pressed. The third image shows the layout as it can be used while the Alt Gr key (the right hand side Alt key) is pressed.
Using caps lock results in all of the Shavian character key responding the same as if Shift was being held down, except for the switch between loll (𐑤) (L key) and namer dot (·) (shift + L key).
Using Alt Gr results in standard Latin characters. It is also possible to use Shift + Alt Gr to type upper case Latin characters without having to switch keyboard layouts.
The keyboard is configured for the English – United Kingdom language, which may be useful knowledge for you if you’re struggling to find the layout in the configuration menus.
Enjoy! and any feedback is very welcome, of course.
- Shavian Unicode Keyboard Layout Installer for Microsoft Windows by Astrolox (~ 600 KB)
- Shavian Unicode True Type Font Andagii by Mark Williamson (~ 20 KB)
- Ross DeMeyere’s Shavian reference documentation file (please visit source website, link above) (~ 270 KB)