Saturday, May 12, 2012

Baybayin Unicode Keyboard Layout for Mac OSX

Your standard "Keyboard Layout" settings can be changed in order to access international language or special characters assigned to Unicode ranges within particular fonts. Most of these Unicode blocks/range contain the characters that you can not normally just type directly nor with a combination of specialized "short-cut" keystrokes or commands.

There are two groups or blocks of characters in Baybayin fonts:
1) Easily accessible characters on a standard western keyboard layout. - they replace the usual Alphabet letters (Basic Latin Characters) so your normal keyboard layout can select & type Baybayin script characters as soon as you install the font in your computer. With this, the font can be used in any word processing or graphic editing software.
2) Characters assigned to their appropriate Unicode range - you need special apps/tools like an online typepad to access these characters or you can also change your keyboard layout to be able to directly type or use Baybayin online. With this, typing Baybayin characters can be viewed by anyone online as long as they have a Unicode compliant Baybayin font and their computer & browser are setup to view Unicode. However, Unicode is not without its own problems:
Characters of Baybayin Fonts as accessed on a Standard Keyboard Layout:
Changing your Standard Keyboard Layout to a Unicode Keyboard Layout:

A couple of years ago, JC John Sese Cuneta (JC) and the Ubuntu Philippines LoCo Team started development of the Philippine National Keyboard Layout. They created a standardized layout for Baybayin (Unicode).

Visit JC's site The Hæven of John to learn how to download and install the Baybayin Keyboard Layout that matches the type of keyboard and operating system available on your machine.
  • The Official Philippine National Keyboard Layout for Linux and Windows: -> click here <-
  •  Modern Baybayin Unicode Keyboard Layout for Mac OS X bundle: -> DOWNLOAD <-
  •  Modern Baybayin Unicode Keyboard Layout for Windows 8 and 10: click here
To install the Baybayin Keyboard Layout for Mac OSX, download and save the bundle file to "/Library/Keyboard Layouts". That is a folder called “Keyboard Layouts” in the "Library" folder at the top level of your startup disk or home folder. You can create the folder if it doesn’t already exist. You need to restart your Mac after saving the file for the keyboard layout to activate.

Note: You must have at least one Unicode compatible Baybayin font installed in your machine for this layout to work properly. If you only see square boxes, download and install a font from -> here <-.

To enable and use a keyboard layout is a two-step process. The first step is accomplished in the System Preferences program:

 In the System Preferences, click on the International Preferences or the Language & Text icon under the Personal group.

In the Language & Text pane, you need to click on the Input Sources or Input Menu tab (at least on 10.4 and 10.5).

In the list that is in the "pane" (what Mac calls a "panel" or window), you should be able to find the keyboard layout that you have installed, in this case it is called Baybayin (it should have a Philippine flag icon).

Once you have found your keyboard layout, you need to ensure that the check box in the first column is checked, which will not be the case when the keyboard layout is first installed. Also ensure that “Show input menu in menu bar” at the bottom of the window is checked.

The second step is to enable the keyboard from the Input menu.

The Input menu is on the right of the menu bar, and usually has a flag there, corresponding to the current input source (keyboard layout or input method). If the Input menu is not shown, it has to be enabled in International Preferences described above. You then can activate your keyboard layout by selecting it from the menu.

Once installed, you can easily switch between your default keyboard layout and the Baybayin keyboard layout any time from the Input menu.

You can even view or check what characters are assigned in each key by opening the Show Keyboard Viewer from the Input menu.

The Unicode characters in the Baybayin Keyboard Layout v.1.00 is shown in the images below:

 Alternate Option:
A Tagalog Keyboard Layout for Mac OS X was developed by Alex Ibrado a couple of years back. Alex's Unicode layout diverted significantly from the normal font characters assigned to the default keyboard layout; it felt disconnected. Alex erroneously also included the RA character in the Unicode range U+172D which is the Hanunuo RA in my Mangyan fonts; all my Baybayin fonts just like Paul Morrow other people's fonts, use U+170D for RA. This is why I developed this new Baybayin Keyboard Layout to match the standard keyboard's flow when using the normal "non-unicode" characters in the fonts. *edit: Alex has since updated his layout.

You can try out Alex Ibrado's setup too. -> click here <- and visit his site.

Caveat Lector:
Keep in mind that Mac's Safari browser has problems displaying Baybayin font's kudlit marks properly. The best web browser for typing & viewing Baybayin Unicode is Firefox.

As for softwares, Baybayin fonts (both normal & Unicode range) works well in Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, etc.), Notepad, and Adobe Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.); the Mac version for these products are fine. Unfortunately it isn't the same for other Mac products; it is even glitches in TextEdit! :(


Try Windows 8:

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Baybayin Acronyms & Initials

An "Acronym" is the term widely used to describe any abbreviation formed from initial letters and in some cases initial syllables. Most dictionaries define acronym to mean "a word" in its original sense, while other dictionaries attributes other senses that make an acronym to have the same meaning as that of initialism.

According to the first definition found in most dictionaries, examples of acronyms are NATO (/ˈneɪtoʊ/), scuba (/ˈskuːbə/), and radar (/ˈreɪdɑr/), while examples of initialisms are FBI (/ˌɛfˌbiːˈaɪ/) and HTML (/ˌeɪtʃˌtiːˌɛmˈɛl/). - source wiki

Initialisms are pronounced letter by letter using the alphabet character's names. Acronyms are read and treated as words.

Since Baybayin is an Abugida and each of its characters are phonetic syllables, Filipino acronyms and initialisms should be written in Baybayin script as they are pronounced by native Filipinos in their native tongue.

Since "acronyms are read and treated as words" and a lot of acronyms are "names" of organizations and technical terminology, we then go back to the "rules of thumb" which are:
  • If the word is an important scientific or technical term and you do not have a direct and official translation to any Philippine language or Spanish - don't Pilipinize the spelling and don't write it in Baybayin Script, use the Latin Alphabet instead.
  • If the word is a name of person (or organization) - don't Pilipinize the spelling and don't write it in Baybayin Script, use the Latin Alphabet instead - unless if that person (or group) made known to you or the public how they write his/her name in Baybayin (or they personally requested you to do so); how one prefers their name spelled & pronounced is a personal issue.
One may argue that the acronym for "Unibersidad ng Pilipinas", UP (/ʊpɪ/) should have been written as ᜂᜉᜒ (characters U and PA with an i-kudlit) which is read as "upi" and not as ᜂᜉ (just U and PA) which is read as "upa", a word that means "rent", as shown in their graduation sash.

However, UP already officially established for several years now that they like to write their acronym/initialism not as ᜂᜉᜒ "upi" nor ᜌᜓᜉᜒ "yupi" but as ᜂᜉ "upa" - we owe it to them to respect that "choice".


"The indigenous letters ᜂ (U) and ᜉ (PA), originating from the indigenous alphabet called baybayin or katitikan, are equivalent to the Roman letters “U” and “P”, respectively."
Note: They used the terms - indigenous "letters", indigenous "alphabet", and "equivalent to Roman letters" to describe Baybayin Script. A clue?

Baybayin is NOT an Alphabet.
Is it possible that they were not aware that Baybayin was already described in detail in numerous publications from earlier on as a "syllabary"? While the terms "abugida" and "alpha-syllabary" distinctions are more recent, nevertheless, Baybayin still is classified linguistically as a syllabary. But as a center and authority for higher learning, this possible failure to recognize the well established details about Baybayin does not sit well with many researchers and practitioners in the Baybayin support community.

A fix?
There is nothing we can do with the UPa issue at the moment, only they can resolve that.

Meanwhile, a couple of Baybayin enthusiasts have suggested to either use a virama or make up a new mark that has the function of changing a baybayin character to its equivalent alphabet letter name.

As far as using a virama; we must bear in mind that if you cancel the inherent /a/ vowel of a Baybayin (Abugida) character, you end up with a consonant 'sound' particle not a consonant letter name. A ᜋ᜔ ('MA' with a virama) or ᜋ᜴ ('MA' with a pamudpud) is not an 'M' pronounced as /ɛm/, it is a /m/ sound. Such is the assigned function of a virama mark.

So with that in mind, why not make up a new mark and instead of calling it a virama, call it something like maybe a "tari" mark, right? The new mark they introduced looks like a mix of an x-virama & a pamudpod. This new mark is assigned the function of changing a Baybayin character to its equivalent Alphabet letter name. It seems like a good idea, but it is a long way from being linguistically or officially recognized or standardized & approved.

Alternatively, I am inclined to reintroduce an old suggestion to frame proper names, acronyms, and initials in bracket marks like the
「 」 Japanese Quotation Marks. Ex. 「ᜂ᜵ᜉ」 (U.P.)

However, none of these "fixes" can render initials with the Latin Alphabets (C, Q, E, O, F, Z, and X) as they don't have direct Baybayin equivalents.

For now, it's best we just follow the "rules of thumb" (mentioned above).

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