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Asian Language Word Processing Concepts

Different from English Word Processors

More Complex than a Word Processor

Most people are familiar with single language word processors that work in the particular language (e.g., English or French) supported by the operating system. Most text entry (typing) is done in that language, with an occasional phrase in another language inserted for emphasis or reference using special "Pasting" procedures. The text entry input method uses a simple keyboard mapping(D- - 5) in which each key yields a different letter. Accented or "special" characters require additional accent keys, Alt+ key codes, or visual selection from a character map(D- - 1) or list. Because these more complex input methods are infrequently required, they do not seriously affect productivity (that is, until you spend an hour looking for a certain type of bullet).

The simple keyboard mapping input method works for languages with a small number of alphabetic letters. In contrast, languages that use Chinese characters require far more complex methods to access the thousands of different Chinese characters used in ordinary writing.

Smart Characters is designed to work with many different languages simultaneously. Smart Characters edits, displays, and prints text in English and other romanized languages supported by Windows (2 writing modes), pinyin (romanized Chinese), romaji (romanized Japanese), bopomofo (alphabetic Chinese), hiragana and katakana (alphabetic Japanese), hanzi (Chinese characters), kanji (Japanese characters), and an English style that matches hanzi and kanji.

Each Character is Annotated

In addition to the wide variety of language capabilities available, Smart Characters saves and displays pronunciations and annotations in addition to the primary text. An analogous situation would arise if every word in an ordinary word processor were footnoted, or in a different font. As a result, Smart Characters is highly modal(D- - 6) in that a keystroke(D- - 5) can have many meanings. Keeping track of this large number of language types and modes is a major but necessary nuisance, unknown to English word processor users.

Text Objects

Smart Characters works with sequential . Every object has an object type(4- 2) or class. English, kana, romaji, pinyin, Chinese characters, format codes(D- - 3), etc. are types of text objects. Text objects are usually grouped to form compound objects(D- - 2).

Object Type

Object type is the type or class of an object (e.g., a text object(4- 1)). You can display the object type of existing text by positioning the insertion point in or just after it, and noting the object type(5- 3) indicator on the status bar(5- 2).

Input Mode

The input mode corresponds to the object type(4- 2) you wish to enter. This is frequently indirect. For example, if you want to write Chinese, you may use Pinyin >> Bpmf input mode, which translates pinyin to bopomofo. You then use a dictionary to convert bopomofo to the Chars(D- - 2) (hanzi, or Chinese characters) type. Likewise, Japanese writing frequently starts out as Romaji >> Hiragana or Romaji >> Katakana, which can also be translated to Chars (kanji).

You can change the input mode by pressing the gray Side + (or F12), Side - (or Shift+F12), and Side * (or Alt+F12) number pad keys, and observing the input mode(5- 3) indicator, or by typing an object type code(D- - 5) key. See Select Input Mode(3- 26) and Typewriter Key Behavior(5- 6).

Type Rules

Smart Character's language and type rules are simple: See Typewriter Key Behavior(5- 6). and the examples in The Object Type is Volatile(4- 14) and Changing the Object Type(5- 7).

Empty Objects Deleted

Smart Characters automatically deletes empty text objects(4- 1), except for empty pronunciation objects immediately before a Chinese character, and single empty notes objects.

Behind the Scenes

If the text insertion point is in the middle of an existing text object(4- 1), and the object type(4- 2) and the input mode(4- 2)are not the same, Smart Characters will split the existing object into two parts, and insert a new object in between.
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Last Modified: March 23, 1996

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