First impressions on typing in Persian / Farsi

Monday, February 02, 2009

I've been practicing typing in Persian for about two weeks now and am starting to get up to a fairly good speed and now have a bit of a feel for what it's like to type in the language. I'm a Dvorak Keyboard user (and Qwerty before that of course) along with Korean (and Japanese but that just uses Qwerty) so have a knowledge of a fair amount of keyboard layouts. Here's what I find with the Persian keyboard layout:

(by the way, you'll notice that I haven't even bothered to learn the names of the letters or what the dot/triple dot markings are called; I usually can't be bothered to learn things like names of letters in a language until I reach some level of fluency because it feels like pretty useless knowledge in the beginning)

1) It's quite easy to learn, as most letters that look the same are also grouped together, so instead of learning an entire layout you generally just have to remember where certain groups of letters are. On the top right you have چ ج ح خ right next to each other, on all three rows on the far left you have two letters that also differ only in the number of dots (ض ص on top, ش س in the middle, ظ ط below), in the middle on the bottom row you have ز ر ذ د, and in the middle on the top row you have ع غ ف ق. Oh, and on the far right in the middle of course are گ ک . All these groupings make it really easy to get used to in the beginning.

2) These groupings make it a little bit tricky to touch type especially with the first group of four, since being right next to each other will often mean that you hit one instead of the other, and often I will hit ح first when I mean to hit ج.

3) You almost never need to use the shift key except with letters like آ and ژ, and when using punctuation like commas and quotation marks.

4) Frequently used words are generally pretty good in terms of using both hands. است (ast, is) is hst on Qwerty (LRL), با (bâ, with) is fh (LR), یک (yek, one) is d; (LR), کردن (kardan, to do) is ;vnk (RLRR). I don't like the placement of ch though (چ) way up on the top right as it's pretty frequently used. َُِI think I would have preferred it to be right next to ه (h, located at i on Qwerty) as that would have made words like چیست (chist, "what is it?") much easier to type. But then again I haven't been typing the language for that long so don't take that as an educated criticism, just an initial observation.

Conclusion thus far: so far so good, and much easier to get started on than you might expect.


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