I made a convenient Windows keyboard layout for Turkish learners
Okay, I'll try to keep this kind of short. I based the layout on the US International layout, with the idea being to make the keyboard easy to use for English AND other languages, without changing the way a user would typically type in English.
This works with what are called "dead keys." If I type an apostrophe nothing happens until I do something else. If I hit space, then I get the apostrophe, but if I hit a letter that can have an accent, I get that. Examples: á é í ó ú ý ç. The really nifty thing in the US-I layout is that usually when you need an apostrophe in English it's with an s or t, so how you type those doesn't change. 's 't 'nt are all the same as always. (That layout doesn't have ş.)
Additionally, I wanted to add the capability of typing in Turkish while keeping everything I need for Spanish, French, and German. Long story short, the layout I made uses the left square bracket [ as the dead key for all Turkish letters. ş ğ ö ü ı ç Ş Ğ Ö Ü İ Ç.
So here's a probably incomplete list of everything that's easy to type with this keyboard layout:
With `: à è ì ò ù À È Ì Ò Ù
with ~: ñ ã õ Ñ Ã Õ
with ': á é í ó ú ý ç Á É Í Ó Ú Ý Ç
with ": ä ë ï ö ü ÿ Ä Ë Ï Ö Ü
with ^: â ê î ô û Â Ê Î Ô Û
with [: ş ğ ö ü ı ç Ş Ğ Ö Ü İ Ç (note that some of these are redundancies.)
So here are the links, if anybody would like to use this. The first one is for machines running 64-bit and the second one is for 32-bit. Frankly, I don't really know what that means, but you can see which one your computer is by going to start > computer > system properties. Running the downloaded file should automatically install the keyboard so that it can be selected, and then in order to actually use it you'll have to go to "change keyboards or other input methods" in the control panel. It's relatively straightforward from there. Also, I've never done anything like this before, so if it doesn't work please let me know so I can figure out how to make it work. (I'm using the layout myself so I know it works, but I'm not entirely sure that this is the right way to share it.)
If anybody knows of a better file hosting website, please let me know. Also, I have a ia64 version of the file. If anybody knows what that means (I don't) and wants it, I'll make a link for that one too, but as far as I can tell amd64 should work for most people's 64-bit systems.
Cheers, and happy learning!
Yet another option entirely: autohotkey. It works better for me because it does not change anything else in the way my keyboard works, and i choose which characters i want (i do want the turkish and french characters, i don't care for swedish or gaelic ones - yet). The main drawback is having to install a piece of software, which some people are not happy with. Also, its under windows, but i am sure there are equivalents in other systems, and probably also other choices in windows as well.
Once it is installed, you create a text file with weird looking lines that are very easy to modify for your own use. They are simple "if --- then ---" statements, and there is no end to what --- can be. What i chose is simply if i ever type 's' followed by '#', then replace these two characters by 'ş'. I use '#' because it is a key a almost never use for its own merit and is easily accessible on my keyboard layout, but you could also choose unlikely series instead, such as tripling letters as a trigger for the special character: 'sss' becomes 'ş', or what have you.
The beauty of it is that i don't have to turn it off to go back to non-language-learning tasks, it really doesn't affect anything else - provided you choose the key combinations carefully.
I'll be happy to share that text file and explain more if someone is interested.
Ok well, for this particular program it goes like this (have to be under windows): get the installer at ahkscript . org (or just through googling autohotkey), install it. Then create a ".txt" file and name it anything you like, only change the extesnion 'txt' to 'ahk'.
Edit said file and write the commands you like (see below). Once you're done, save it, find it in explorer and run it (double click, or right clickrun). The "script" is now in effect and appears in your notification area by the clock. - It needs to be run every time you restart the computer, which is fine for a while. If you want it to be always up, you can simply put it in your "start-up" directory, but i wouldn't do that until testing it out well enough.
For the commands, there are many ways to do it. Here's what i went for:
I don't even remember what the first 4 things are for, but "C#" means these two keys hit in this order, one after the other, and what comes after :: is what the characters will be replaced with. You need one line per command, and one command per character, lower case and upper case treated as different. You can get the special characters in the ahk file through copy/paste.
Another example, if you'd rather just repeat the key three times (sss for ş), it'd go:
You can also use modifiers (ctrl, shift, alt) rather than sequences if you like - i find it dangerous as it might interfere with programs' shortcuts - and tons od other things if you want to play with it. Their tutorial and forums, or simply searching online for a particular goal, and you're set in minutes.
I am also using AutoHotKey, for Turkish and Scandinavian Letters. But I didn't like the idea of hitting two keys subsequently, so I mapped them on ALT GR combinations.
ğ = ALT GR + g
Ğ = ALT GR + SHIFT + g
ı = ALT GR + i
İ = ALT GR + SHIFT + i
and so on.
I also did the same for Scandinavian letters since they don't intersect with the Turkish ones. Note here that I have a German keyboard layout, so Ä and Ö are naturally present:
ø = ALT GR + ö (could as well be o)
å = ALT GR + a
æ = ALT GR + ä
I personally find it a lot easier to just press ALT GR with my thumb and then the usual keys than having to remember these two character combinations, which can also be pretty bad if you actually want to write s followed by # for whatever reason.
Definitely a matter of taste, I personally hate modifiers in typing because my rate of typos goes through the roof when i have to use them - especially when it starts being 3 keys at a time for higher case letters... :-) It also can be dangerous to meddle with as i mentioned higher up, but using the AltGr (or "right-side alt" for layouts that don't have it) is a great way to avoid issues in this respect.
For the record, here is a page on how to write your commands with modifiers (one can also use the window key, for example - see the table, play with it): http://www.autohotkey.com/docs/Hotkeys.htm
As for my personal choice since you comment on it, it stems from using a qwertz keyboard as well and having got used to accented letters for french, where you have to hit the accent first, then the letter: ´and then e yields é. The # key is in the same area, accessible without shift, and virtually useless to me otherwise (so low risk of inserting ğ by mistake in an email to my boss...). It would be more consistent with the accented letters thing to have set #-then-g rather than what i chose, but i just wanted to try things out first, and now i'm used to it - so if you try this out, choose carefully on your first days with it!
There are also Turkish keyboard layouts already installed in your windows computer. If you go that route, I'd recommend the Turkish-Q over the Turkish-F, since the Turkish-Q is far more similar to qwerty. The annoying thing about doing that is that you have to re-learn where a lot of things are. A question mark is moved to shift -, periods are moved to the / key, etc.
For learnıng typing ın Türkçe, I like typing games like typing space invaders or typing dance dance revolution while putting my keyboard in turkish Q and adding the letters and punctuations ,.?içöüğış to the customızatıon page at http://www.freetypinggame.net/customized_typing_lessons.asp İ put ın puncuatıon because it moves from the US standard keyboard layout. Also do the same for Spanish. You could also use the games to learn the international keyboard layout.