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ISIS Tamil Keyboard Help

Keyboard © 2008 Gautam Sengupta


Overview
Using this Keyboard
Keyboard Layout
Quickstart
Examples
Keyboard Details
Complete Keyboard Reference Chart
Troubleshooting
Further Resources
Related Keyboard Layouts
Technical Information
Authorship

Download this documentation in PDF format.

Overview

This keyboard is designed for the Tamil language, and is part of the ISIS set of keyboards designed to allow typing in all Indic languages. It is a phonetic keyboard, which means the Tamil characters are arranged according to the letters of the English keyboard. This makes it easy to use for people learning Tamil, as well as Tamil speakers. Typing follows a consonant-vowel pattern, and the keyboard is designed for use with a normal QWERTY (English) keyboard.

Most computers will automatically download a special font if needed to display this language correctly.

Click here to see other keyboard layouts for Tamil.

Using this Keyboard

Keyboard Layout

Quickstart

This keyboard makes typing in Tamil straightforward for anyone familiar with a normal English keyboard. Consonants and vowels are arranged on the keyboard so that pressing an English letter generally displays the Tamil character which sounds closest to that letter. Long vowels are usually typed by pressing the vowel key twice. Some vowels and consonants, however, representing sounds which do not exist in the English alphabet, are located on unused keys or are entered using [S*] combinations. Grantha consonants are also on the keyboard.

Most of the characters used in Tamil are combinations of consonants and vowels, and these do not appear on the keyboard. Combined consonant-vowel characters are entered by typing the consonant, then the vowel. To enter சா, which is a combination of ச் and , type ca, and the combinant character will automatically be displayed. Pressing Backspace once will delete only the vowel component, so the character displayed on the screen will change back to , and change again if a different vowel is typed.

Examples

Language Phrase Meaning Type the following keys
Tamil தமிழ் அரிச்சுவடி "Tamil alphabet" tmiL\ aric\cuvTi

Keyboard Details

This keyboard uses a consonant-vowel order for text input, so the consonant character is always typed before the vowel, regardless of where (relative to the consonant) the vowel marker symbol appears. As syllables are typed, the characters entered are automatically converted to the appropriate consonant-vowel combinant. While only the combinant characters are displayed on screen, the consonant and vowel are both stored, so that pressing Backspace once after a combinant deletes only the vowel component. This means it is necessary to press Backspace twice to delete a combinant character. However, pressing the Delete key with the cursor in front of a combinant character removes the whole character with one keystroke.

The visible keyboard layout consists of the ten vowels அ ஆ இ ஈ உ ஊ எ ஐ ஒ ஔ (the vowels ஏ ஓ are typed with two keystrokes), the fourteen consonants க ச ட ண த ந ப ம ய ர ல வ ழ ற (others are typed with multiple keystrokes), the Grantha consonants ஸ ஜ ஹ ஷ (க்ஷ is typed with two keystrokes, ஸ்ரீ with five) and the Pulli and Aytham marks, and the numerals ௧ ௨ ௩ ௪ ௫ ௬ ௭ ௮ ௯ ௰ ௱ ௲.

Consonants and Pulli Marks

Because the consonants contain the implicit vowel , to produce a pure consonant it is necessary to add the Pulli mark by typing \ immediately after the consonant. To produce a combined consonant, type the two consonants followed by /, which will place the Pulli mark on the first consonant.

Most of the consonants are arranged so that they can be typed with a single key. A few consonants which use the same English (Roman) letter as another consonant, or which have no equivalent English letter, must be typed with two keystrokes. See the complete keyboard chart for details.

Vowels

Vowels are typed using the English vowel letters. Tamil distinguishes between short and long vowel sounds, and the keyboard is arranged so that pressing any vowel key once will produce the short vowel, while pressing it twice will produce the long vowel. For some vowels, pressing [S*]together with the vowel key will produce the long vowel, but the vowels and , are typed using the [S*]key as shown below.

The first vowel is implicit in the consonants. To produce this as a standalone vowel, press a. Typing a immediately after a consonant, however, will produce a combinant of that consonant and the long vowel . In general, typing a vowel after anything other than a consonant produces an independent vowel.

The SRii Character

This character is entered by typing s\rii. Currently, some browsers support one, both or neither of these entry methods. Click here if you are having difficulty entering this character.

Keystroke Examples

Note: for a complete table of characters and keystrokes, click here.

The following table gives specific examples of how to input characters based on the consonant . The Grantha consonants use the same input method. Examples of these with the consonant are also given below.


Tamil Consonants Grantha Consonants
ConsonantVowel/PulliCombinantKeystrokes ConsonantVowel/PulliCombinantKeystrokes
க்k\ ஜ்j\
க‍k ஜ‍j
காka ஜாja
கிki ஜிji
கீkii ஜீjii
குku ஜுju
கூkuu ஜூjuu
கெke ஜெje
கேkee ஜேjee
கைkE ஜைjE
கொko ஜொjo
கோko ஜோjoo
கௌkO ஜௌjO

Typing Conventions

All ISIS keyboards are phonetic. Some hints on how to use the keyboard:

  • The system is phonetic in the true sense, so that's how you get the standalone consonants and vowels.
  • For long vowels, press the concerned vowel key twice.
  • To get an aspirated consonant, press h after its unaspirated counterpart.
  • Try typing a vowel after a consonant.
  • Experiment with Shift+<any key>.
  • To get a joined consonant (yukta varna), press / (once or twice) after typing the constituent consonants.
  • To break up a joined consonant, press Ctrl+/.

Other Characters

This keyboard does not contain characters such as the symbols for day, month, year, etc., or the glyphs used as vowel modifiers. Some of the alternate Tamil keyboards do allow these characters to be typed.

Troubleshooting

Fonts

This keyboard allows only the standard Tamil characters, so will work with the fonts supplied with Windows. No further downloads of fonts should be required.

If the characters you type or those on the On Screen Keyboard do not appear to display correctly, please read the KeymanWeb troubleshooting guide.

Problem Solving

If the preceding consonant does not change to a vowel-consonant combinant character when you type a vowel, confirm that you have not typed a Pulli mark ், which identifies the consonant as a pure consonant, or a space. Typing either of these after a consonant will prevent that consonant from changing to a combinant character.

Technical Information

System Requirements

All ISIS Keyboards require Windows 2000, XP or greater.

This keyboard requires an English QWERTY hardware keyboard.

Unicode Version

This keyboard complies with Unicode 5.2

Authorship

This keyboard was created as part of the Indian Script Input System package by Professor Gautam Sengupta of the Center for Applied Linguistics and Translation Studies, University of Hyderabad. Tavultesoft gratefully acknowledges the contribution made by the author in developing this keyboard and making it freely available for use with Keyman Desktop and KeymanWeb. His effort assists in enabling people to communicate in their own language.

Copyright and Terms of Use

The ISIS Tamil Keyboard for Keyman Desktop and KeymanWeb is Copyright Gautam Sengupta. It may be freely distributed and used, but must not be modified or adapted in any way without written permission from the author.

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY TAVULTESOFT PTY LTD "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL TAVULTESOFT PTY LTD BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

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