Kashubian QWERTY keyboard layout

The below described Kashubian QWERTY keyboard layout has become a de facto standard in all contemporary Linux operating systems utilizing xlibs starting in 2006.

Windows and MacOSX versions of the drivers are also available.

Polish Programmer’s computer keyboard layout as the basis for Kashubian version

Kashubian keyboard layout in KDE

Kashubian keyboard layout in KDE

Two implementation methods for achieving Polish-language-specific characters on a standard QWERTY keyboard exist:

1. Used by Windows, Amiga, and all GNU based operating systems such as Linux or BSD

2. Developed by Apple and implemented on MacOs computers

The main difference between the two implementations is the position of ż and ź characters. In the classic Macintosh implementation, characters with diacritical marks are obtainable by the usage of the base Latin character + the ALT key. For example, if we want to get a letter ź, we simply type letter z while the ALT key pressed down. On non-Macintosh systems, this key combination will return letter ż instead and for the system to return letter ź, ALT + x must be used; letters ż and ź are switched around.

The below described keyboard layout is based on the more popular (non-Macintosh) implementation.

In the Polish Programmer’s QWERTY keyboard layout, all diacritical marks are co-positioned with their base equivalences (i.e. e with ę). The only exception to the rule is the letter ź. As described above – since Polish language includes ż and ź characters, using the modification key (ALT) can only subsidize for one of them, and therefore a neighboring ALT + x combo had to be used to provide for the other. This reasonably intuitive keyboard layout was the basis for the development of the Kashubian version.

Kashubian QWERTY keyboard layout

The Kashubian QWERTY keyboard layout

The Kashubian QWERTY keyboard layout

The depicted Kashubian keyboard layout is based on the Polish programmer’s layout and the bilingual Polish-Kashubian (pl + csb) setup as proposed by Stanisław Geppert (similar to Polish, all Kashubian accented characters require the usage of the right ALT key).

In the presented implementation, all Kashubian characters requiring diacritical marks are co-positioned with their base equivalences or directly next to them if more than one variation of the character exists.

Letters common to Polish and Kashubian languages are left in their original, Polish, locations (colored green on the above graph) ensuring immediate familiarity and seamless adaptation to the Kashubian layout.

I have decided to take advantage of Geppert’s layout due to some users’ acquaintance with its setup specifying the positioning of the ë, ò, and ô Kashubian characters. Successfully used by the KaszEd text editor, such character placement seems logical and most of the other Kashubian characters, including ã, ù and é, follow the same pattern. This solution also enabled co-placing two of the accented letters along with their corresponding base characters, which is yet another benefit of this implementation.

In Kashubian keyboard layout, placement of the Euro symbol () conflicts with the ù character position. Consequently, the Euro symbol, as less prominent, had to give room to the more frequently used ù. The symbol had been moved to the left and can be accessed by jointly pressing the ALT + y keys (as suggested by Piotr Formella).

Linux: The € symbol can be placed on keys occupied by numbers 2 or 5 and thus avoid any character positioning collisions.

MacOs: The Euro symbol can be invoked by pressing ALT + 3. Just like in Linux, such placement does not conflict with any of the Kashubian characters.

The below key combinations will return all of the Kashubian characters

ALT + a = ą
ALT + A = Ą
ALT + s = ã
ALT + S = Ã
ALT + e = é
ALT + E = É
ALT + r = ë
ALT + R = Ë
ALT + i = ò
ALT + I = Ò
ALT + o = Ó
ALT + O = ó
ALT + p = ô
ALT + P = Ô
ALT + u = ù
ALT + U = Ù
ALT + z = ż
ALT + Z = Ż

Mark Kwidzińsczi

Translation: Yurek Hinz