This article aims to provide detailed information about what does a Chinese keyboard looks like, how many keys it has, and how to use a Chinese keyboard. Continue reading the article to know more about Chinese Keyboards.
Living in the era of technologies, everyone is quite familiar with using keyboards. Using a keyboard is a child’s play, but only when the alphabets are in English. English is a language understood by almost everyone. Things change when you switch to some other language, such as Chinese or Japanese. The Chinese language isn’t as easy as English. Likewise, a Chinese Keyboard is also tricky to use.
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What Does A Chinese Keyboard Look Like?
English is not a complicated language. We have a total of 26 alphabets in this language. Each alphabet is a compilation of a maximum of two or three strokes. We can also easily type words by combining two or more alphabets. However, this situation isn’t the same as for the Chinese language.
Chinese is one of the ancient languages used to communicate in the world. The oldest and largest Chinese dictionaries contain around fifty-six thousand characters. Therefore, if you want to be functionally literate in this language, you need to know at least three to four characters.
Talking about the strokes for a single word, each character or alphabet contains far more strokes than two or three. For example, a single Chinese character may have as many as fifty-seven to sixty-four strokes.
All these facts about this language make us wonder how we can create a keyboard containing all these characters with so many strokes. Well, this isn’t possible yet.
How Many Keys Does A Chinese Language Keyboard Have?
Given all the intricate patterns of the Chinese language, one cannot expect to have such a keyboard that provides access to all the alphabets. So what do Chinese people do? Standard QWERTY keyboards are the answer to this question.
Chinese people use the same QWERTY keyboard as all people worldwide do. In addition, they use the same twenty-six alphabets to write in Chinese.
This is obviously tiring for someone whose native language isn’t English. For easing this difficulty, there are customizations.
Thanks to technological advancements, we can type Chinese. In addition, some applications can translate English into Chinese. Moreover, the customized QWERTY keyboards also provide Chinese characters that the Chinese people can use.
What Does A Chinese Language Keyboard Look Like?
As mentioned earlier, it isn’t possible to develop the Chinese language keyboard given the intricacies of the Chinese alphabet. There is no separate Chinese keyboard.
A Chinese keyboard looks exactly like an American keyboard. It is a QWERTY keyboard, but some variations help to type Chinese.
If you are using a simple and standard QWERTY keyboard without any Chinese characters, you can use translators that will translate English into Chinese.
Some keyboards will have an addition of a few Chinese characters. Others will be a mix of English and Chinese.
Read our next topic to know how to use a Chinese language keyboard.
How Does A Chinese Keyboard Work?
As mentioned earlier, a Chinese keyboard relies on English alphabets to translate and write. This may sound easy, but it requires many back-of-the-stage calculations.
Several methods are being used nowadays to convert English into Chinese. These are mostly linguistic tools. The three most common linguistic tools are Pinyin, Wubi, and Zhuyin. Each of these methods has its advantages and limitations as nothing can be perfect.
One other method is the handwriting input method, in which you can write Chinese on the touch screen of your cellphone. The keyboard will then report it as the text.
We will explain all these methods in detail to provide you with a detailed understanding of how to use a Chinese language keyboard.
Pinyin is the most widely used linguistic tool of all. It is especially more commonly used in the Peoples Republic of China. However, it can be used by those who have a basic understanding of English. It is because Pinyin uses English alphabets and translates them into Chinese.
Pinyin provides Chinese translation based on phonetics. For example, you type a word in English based on its pronunciation, and the Pinyin then provides different suggestions. You can then select the one you meant.
This can be a bit difficult for those who have difficulty in spelling or speaking a word phonetically.
Pinyin is called Pinyin-QWERTY when used on a cellphone. Another version of this is the Pinyin-10 key.
This is the second method/tool used to convert Chinese to English. The basic technique of this method is shorthand.
This keyboard is essentially the same as the QWERTY keyboard but has a few changes. The Wubi keyboard is divided into five segments. Each section contains shorthand forms to increase the typing speed. Many people are using Wuubi nowadays, but it has some limitations.
You need to have a full new understanding of a different skill first, i.e., shorthand. Only after mastering shorthand will you be able to use the Wubi method.
This method uses Chinese characters and is used by the people of Taiwan. This method is the hardest one as it is not a child’s play to type in Chinese with some characters and alphabets. It is also a comparatively slower method to type. Ancient Chinese letters and symbols are combined to type a word. Most people do not prefer this method for typing.
Chinese is a complex language comprising many letters, each in turn consisting of several strokes. It is impossible to create a keyboard that contains all the Chinese letters to type in Chinese. That’s why a standard QWERTY keyboard is used to type Chinese. Some keyboards have a mix of English and Chinese.
The most common methods used to write Chinese with a QWERTY keyboard include the Pinyin, Wubi, and Zhuyin. Each method has its specifications and limitations. Alternatively, some people prefer on-screen typing on cell phones. You can choose the one you are convenient with.