Clavier du Burkina keyboard for Android phone?

Is there a version of the Clavier du Burkina keyboard that works on an Android phone? The description that accompanies the download link on the Keyman.com website for this keyboard refers only to QWERTY and AZERTY keyboards. Will one of these work on a phone? I’m asking on behalf of an African colleague in Burkina Faso who is wanting to be able to comment on the Webonary.org dictionary in his language.

There is currently no touch layout defined for this keyboard.

What is the language in question? Might there be another keyboard (with a touch layout) that would be suitable?

The language is Puguli [pug], called Phuien (approximate rendering, limited by Western keyboard) by the speakers themselves. The most uncommon element of the orthography that would make substitution of another keyboard challenging is the preglottalized w, represented by [U+2C73] (lower case) and [U+2C72] (upper case).

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The reason that the keyboard page indicates support for phones for this keyboard is that we included the .js file in the keyboard package (which we were not supposed to do).

Using your phone, you can go to https://keyman.com/keyboards/clavbur9 and download the .kmp. Then go into the Keyman app Settings, select Add Keyboard from Device and choose the .kmp. That should install it and it will work the same as the desktop keyboard.

I wouldn’t mind adding a phone layout. It wouldn’t be too much work.

I guess this needs more discussion since the desktop keyboard is mnemonic and supports both azerty and qwerty. We need to know if the mobile layout should follow azerty or qwerty. My inclination is to go azerty since it’s a French speaking nation. Who would the main users of the keyboard be? Would it be better to develop a keyboard just for Puguli and just have the characters you need for Puguli? That might be easier for the users in the longterm.

In addition to clavbur9, the

  • sil_pan_africa_mnemonic,
  • sil_pan_africa_positional, and
  • sil_ipa

keyboards seem to support U+2C73 (w with hook). Unfortunately only the sil_ipa keyboard has a touch layout and it doesn’t support the upper case W with hook. (U+2C72).

On the sil_ipa keyboard, the w with hook is a longpress character on the “W” on the shift layer, so the user would need to hit the shift (uparrow) to switch to upper case, then use the longpress on the upper case “W” to get the lower case w with hook.

Developing a dedicated Puguli keyboard might be the better option, but the sil_ipa keyboard might be a workaround for the time being.

Thanks, Lorna, for your comments and questions. I have been in communication with the person in Burkina Faso who is trying to help me with the Puguli dictionary, using his phone. His keyboard on his phone is AZERTY. I suspected that this was the case, but wanted to be sure.

The primary users of the Clavier du Burkina keyboard are those working on languages of Burkina Faso. However, I suspect that most expats in that category are doing it via a computer (i.e., physical keyboard) and not so much with a phone. So the primary user base for a mobile layout would be native speakers of these languages, I think. And they are mostly, if not all, going to have an AZERTY layout on their mobile devices. So AZERTY is the higher priority. I use the Clavier du Burkina keyboard not only to type linguistic data (on my laptop) but also to type French in emails and so on. If a QWERTY mobile layout were available, it would allow me to type French on my phone, which would come in handy on occasion, but that is a “would be nice” rather than a “must have” for me.

This is probably already on your radar, since you do this sort of thing quite frequently, but do keep in mind that the end user does not read English (only French), so instructions for downloading the necessary files would either need to be available in French on the website or very explicit with regard to how to navigate an English UI to find and download them. Screen shots with circles, boxes, arrows, and so on are of great help in this sort of process.

Thanks in advance for any help you are able to provide.

FWIW, the end user is pretty excited about the prospect of being able to type his language on his phone. The translation was just dedicated 10 days ago, so there is a lot of enthusiasm about using the language in print form. This may be just the right time to give speakers of the language a way to communicate with each other in their mother tongue via phone.

Kevin

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I see that I did not answer one of your questions, Lorna.

Should the keyboard be just for Puguli?

If it’s not difficult to implement all that is available in the Clavier du Burkina (CdB) for a physical keyboard, I see little reason to target a pared-down version for a single language. There is nothing in the coding for the full set of characters possible with the CdB keyboard that hinders typing in Puguli, and once created, any language in Burkina Faso can be typed using the keyboard you produce.

Caveat: It is true that to type stacked diacritics (e.g., ẽ̀, ɛ̃̀), which exist in Puguli, the CdB keyboard requires three or four keystrokes. Developing a keyboard that would work for Puguli only might allow the number of keystrokes required to be reduced. This would be an argument in favor of a language-specific keyboard. Let me know if you need a full list of all characters necessary specifically for Puguli.

The individual wanting to help with the dictionary, using his phone, already has years of experience using CdB on a laptop, so it would be nice for him if the mobile version worked similarly. But there may be compelling reasons for making it different, and he would just have to learn how to use the mobile version–which he is quite capable of doing and willing to do. So please use your technical skill and judgment to decide how it would work best. I am available to answer any questions you may have.

Thanks again,

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Okay, I think I’ll go with an azerty layout for the CdB keyboard. I can do a tablet layout which would be similar to the desktop (but TINY keys) or I can do a mobile layout with bigger keys. The mobile layout would have the main alphabetic keys on the default layer and then have to switch to another layer for symbols, etc.

Please do the mobile layout with bigger keys. Very few people I can think of who might want to use this actually have a tablet. They are all working with a relatively small screen.

I don’t know if there are any non-alphabetic characters on the default layer or not, but the semicolon key is used heavily in the version I’m used to. Making access to that key (or its equivalent in the version you’re creating) as simple as possible would be a great help. The letter “q” comes to mind as an alphabetic character that is not used in Burkinabè languages and could therefore possibly be used as a substitute for the semicolon, though that would make using the same keyboard for French a problem–which may not be an important consideration. (I’m probably not telling you anything you haven’t already thought of. And I’m no doubt showing my ignorance of the design and use of a Keyman keyboard for/on a mobile device.)

-Kevin

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The new keyboard is here: https://keyman.com/keyboards/clavbur9. You’ll actually need Keyman installed on your android and then add the keyboard for the Phuie language (currently we can’t change the language name to Puguli, sorry).

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Ok, great! Thanks, Lorna. Actually, Phuie is closer to the real name for the language anyway. The closest I can get, using English letters, is Phuien. In the language it’s written phuĩé.

I will forward this to the guy helping me with the dictionary. He already figured out how to install a different keyboard, so I’m expecting that it won’t be difficult for him to replace it with this one.

Oh, and I heard from the other person I had asked to help with the translation into French. I reached out to him via WhatsApp, since I hadn’t gotten a response to my email. With COVID-19 going around, the school where he teaches in the capital city has been shut down, so he is back in his home village for a bit. When he returns to the capital city, he’ll respond to my email. (I think he can read email on his phone, but maybe he’s not super excited about typing a lengthy response on his phone?) When I get his translation, I’ll pass it on to you and you can decide if you want to update the keyboard at that point or not.

Blessings,

Kevin