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toki pona keyboard layout

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Inspired by jan Misali's toki pona ASCII syllabary, I had an idea: what would such a syllabary look like if the final "n" was treated as a separate syllable (like in Japanese)? How far could it be compressed?

The end result of my experiments turned out to look like this:

   ┌───┬───┬───┬───┬───┐
   │-i │-u │-e │-o │-a │
┌──┼───┼───┼───┼───┼───┤
│ -│ i │ u │ e │ o │ a │
├──┼───┼───┼───┼───┼───┤ ┌───┐
│m-│ I │ 3 │ M │ X │ x │ │ - │
├──┼───┼───┼───┼───┼───┤─├───┤
│n-│ y │ Y │ N │ H │ h │ │ n │
├──┼───┼───┼───┼───┼───┤─└───┘
│p-│ b │ B │ P │ F │ f │
├──┼───┼───┼───┼───┼───┤
│t-│###│ 2 │ T │ D │ d │
├──┼───┼───┼───┼───┼───┤
│k-│ q │ Q │ K │ G │ g │
├──┼───┼───┼───┼───┼───┤
│s-│ c │ C │ S │ Z │ z │
├──┼───┼───┼───┼───┼───┤
│w-│ v │###│ W │###│ 1 │
├──┼───┼───┼───┼───┼───┤
│l-│ J │ 5 │ L │ R │ r │
├──┼───┼───┼───┼───┼───┤
│j-│###│ U │ E │ O │ A │
└──┴───┴───┴───┴───┴───┘

To make the system easier to learn, the characters in it all follow a set of rules:

  • all j+? syllables use the capital version of the vowel
  • all ?+e syllables use the capital version of the consonant
  • 1, 2, 3 and 5 are wa(n), tu, mu(te) and lu(ka)
  • li is J and mi is I
  • if a ?+u syllable is a capital letter, a corresponding ?+i is its lowercase version
  • if a ?+o syllable is a capital letter, a corresponding ?+a is its lovercase version
  • none of the lowercase toki pona characters should used

At the end, it completely used up all of the remaining lowercase and uppercase letters of the Latin alphabet, with the exception of V, as well as a few numbers. Which in turn made me think: how would it look as a keyboard layout?

┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬──────
│    │    │    │    │    │    │    │    │    │    │    │    │
│ wa │ tu │ mu │  4 │ lu │  6 │  7 │  8 │  9 │  0 │  - │  = │ Back
┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬───
 |<│ ku │ we │ je │ lo │ te │ nu │ ju │ mi │ jo │ pe │ {  │ }  │
 |>│ ki │ w  │  e │ la │ t  │ ni │  u │  i │  o │ p  │ [  │ ]  │
───┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬
 Caps │ ja │ se │ to │ po │ ko │ no │ li │ ke │ le │ :  │ "  │ │  │
 Lock │  a │ s  │ ta │ pa │ ka │ na │ j  │ k  │ l  │ ;  │ '  │ \  │
──────┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴──┬─┴────┴─
         │ so │ mo │ su │ lu │ pu │ ne │ me │  < │  > │  ? │
 Shift ^ │ sa │ ma │ si │ wi │ pi │ n  │ m  │  , │  . │  / │ Shift ^
─────────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────────

(In this version, uppercase V is also used for "lu". After all, V is the Roman numeral for 5, and V is an easier key to reach than 5.)

toki pona smartphone keyboard layout

Of course, on smartphones, everything is much easier. You can use whatever layout you want. Here's an Android-style virtual keyboard, modified to only include characters needed in toki pona (the ones shown on the upper part are the characters shown when holding the corresponding key down):

     ┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
     │VF  │?   │D   │'   │"   │:;  │BH  │
     │  w │  e │  t │  u │  i │  o │  p │
┌────├────┼────┼────┼────┼────┼────┼────┤────┐
│    │!@  │CXZ │#   │-+$ │Y   │GQ  │R   │Back│
│Shft│  a │  s │  n │  m │  j │  k │  l │ <- │
└────└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘────┘
│   #  │    │                    │    │      │    
│  123 │ ,  │ t o k i    p o n a │ .  │      │    
└──────┴────┴────────────────────┴────┴──────┘

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