The people of France really hate their computer’s keyboard. So much so that the French Ministry of Culture has teamed up with a standardization group to create a keyboard that makes it easier for the French to type their own language.
The French language keyboard uses an AZERTY layout, which was introduced as the counterpart of the English-language QWERTY keyboard. But instead of featuring a standardized layout that tailors to the complex grammatical rules of the language and includes many common French symbols, the keyboards on the market for the French make it extremely difficult to type in French.
For example, the cedilla (Ç), which is commonly used to write phrases like Ça va? (how are you), does not offer the option to capitalize the character. This is problematic because “Ça” (“that”) is commonly used in the beginning of a sentence. The option for adding a ligature, which is two letters put together in order to write word like hors d’œuvre, is also hard to locate.
Other symbols like French quotation marks and the “@” symbol are also hard to find, with symbols like “#” being prominent over numbers.
The French Ministry of Culture said that is is “nearly impossible to correctly write French with a keyboard made in France.” The government plans to develop a better standard keyboard so that the French can access these symbols, as well as give people the ability to type letters from other European languages, such as allowing user to easily type Latin characters.
“It seems essential that this keyboard allows for the easy use of not only French, but also different languages present in our land, because these languages have specifics that should be taken into account,” the Ministry said. “Indeed, in a highly multilingual context, it is now necessary to use several languages on the same document or project.”
At this point, even Germany and Spain have better keyboards to write in French than residents in the home country of the language.
Part of the problem is that there is no solid standardization for the French-language keyboard, so manufacturers have developed many different models that have symbols in different places, or require the user to use the shift key.
The government ministry is teaming up with the national association of standardization and certification AFNOR to draft a new French keyboard to replace the AZERTY keyboards, with hopes to have it completed by this summer.
The plans are even supported by the Académie Française, the official guardian of the French language that has the mission of protecting the language.
Source: The Local Fr
Photo: Romain5872 | Flickr