Keyboard Support

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Shaw Imperial Keyboard Help

The Shavian alphabet is an alternative, phonemic way to write English. The alphabet takes its name from Irish writer Bernard Shaw who inspired and posthumously funded it.

A table of Shavian alphabet letters and the sounds they represent.

For further information about the Shavian alphabet visit

Keyboard Layout

Desktop and onscreen layouts

The desktop and onscreen layouts are identical, and are based on the Shavian Imperial Good Companion typewriter layout, used by by Kingsley Read in the 1960s. Shaw Imperial is named in honour of the Shavian Imperial Good Companion typewriter.

The compound letters (𐑸, 𐑹, 𐑺, 𐑻, 𐑼, 𐑽, & 𐑿), numbers, and a range of symbols, are entered by holding down SHIFT.

Where possible, symbols have been assigned to key with a helpful mnemonic:

  • ! is assigned to SHIFT+X (think eXclamation mark)
  • @ is assigned to SHIFT+A (think At)
  • # is assigned to SHIFT+H (think Hash)
  • $ is assigned to SHIFT+D (think Dollar)
  • % is assigned to SHIFT+P (think Percent)
  • ^ is assigned to SHIFT+C (think Caret)
  • * is assigned to SHIFT+S (think Star)
  • ‽ is assigned to SHIFT+I (think Interrobang)
  • ¥ is assigned to SHIFT+Y (think Yen)
  • € is assigned to SHIFT+U (think eUro)
  • £ is assigned to SHIFT+G (think GBP)

Other assignments are based on resemblance in shape, collocation with related symbols, or arbitrary choice where this was unavoidable.

Latin letters, and the standard US English QWERTY keyboard, may be accessed by pressing CAPS LOCK, with capital letters then entered the usual way by holding down SHIFT. To return to Shavian, simply turn off CAPS LOCK.

Phone and tablet layouts

The layouts for phone and tablet are substantially similar to each other, and are based on the desktop layout with some tweaks to avoid the keys becoming too small.

The compound letters (and 𐑠) may be found by holding down (long hold) one of the keys with the dot in the top right. Holding down:

  • 𐑭 will display 𐑸
  • 𐑷 will display 𐑹
  • 𐑵 will display 𐑿
  • 𐑱 will display 𐑺
  • 𐑳 will display 𐑻
  • 𐑦 will display 𐑾 and 𐑽
  • 𐑩 will display 𐑼
  • 𐑖 will display 𐑠

Pressing the [123] key will bring up the numbers and a range of symbols, arranged in a similar layout to the standard iOS keyboard. Long hold keys include additional symbols.

Pressing the [abc] key will bring up a standard US English QWERTY layout keyboard to allow typing in the Latin alphabet. Long hold keys allow the entry of a selection of diacritics, common International Phonetic Alphabet symbols used for English, as well as Esperanto letters (for those interested in Shavian for Esperanto, the Ŝava alfabeto).

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