Some time ago on this web site we illustrated, in two pages (scrivere in coreano e scrivere in coreano 2) for the Italian visitors, how it is possible to write in Korean using a computer running an Italian operating system. This new page is, instead, for those, Italians or Koreans, who are using a Korean computer and need to write in Italian using properly also the accented vowels that are not normally achievable with a Korean operating system.
orcing a Korean computer with Korean operating system to write the accented vowels of the Italian is not at all an easy task. For this reason the newsletters sent from Korea in Italian reproduce our Italian accented vowels (à è ì ò ù) using the vowels followed by an apostrophe (a' e' i' o' u'). This way of displaying the Italian accented vowels is also often used by someone here in Italy, but the person using an Italian keyboard knows that one can do better than that.
In the Korean keyboard, the keys are marked with both the Latin letters and the Korean letters, while the operating system, which runs the keyboard, allows only two positions: one choice, that appears
signaled by the
A letter, allows you to write in the Latin alphabet (especially for English), while the other one, which appears signaled by the Korean
Considering just the QWERTY part of the keyboard (ie, the Latin letters), we note that this keyboard is identical to a U.S. keyboard (except for the button that has the symbol in excess ₩ of the Korean Won currency) and, as we shall see, this lucky disposition of the keys allows also you to find a way to simply write the accented vowels of the Italian. This possibility is based on the fact that the arrangement of the keys of the Korean keyboard is identical to that of an
American-International (in Korean
I got the screens in Korean Windows XP thanks to the courtesy of the General Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Milan, which allowed me to use a Korean computer with Windows XP operating system. A special thanks to Dr. Song Ho Sog who assisted me in the experiment.
For this first test we will work on a Korean computer running the Windows XP Korean operating system, still very much used. In the explanations this will always be compared with Windows XP in English, just to make us better understood. In each of the screens we included a black pointer that indicates the item or area of interest.
To open the Control Panel
Let's start by opening the Control Panel, operation that on an English computer is done by clicking Start and selecting Control Panel. Let's see what is the corresponding screen on your Korean computer.
As you can see, on the Korean computer our Start is translated by
By clicking on that word, the Control Panel opens. In the
To choose another keyboard for Korean
When you select this icon with a click, it opens the
The selection of this button brings up a window that in English appears with the title Text Services and Input Languages, and in Korean becomes
We must be careful to actually choose the keyboard for Korean. Under the heading KO
In doing so, we make appear another window that in English would have the title Add Input Language, while in Korean is called
By clicking on that box you open up a long window that displays the names of several keyboards that you can use to write all the languages of the world. For the English of the United States there are various options, such as the American Dvorak, for instance. But we are interested in finding the American-International keyboard, which in Korean is called:
As soon as you click these words, you are brought back to the previous window, which now shows that, for Korean, it was indeed chosen the American-International keyboard (
The selection of the
You go back to the International and Language Options (
At this point the worst is over. It remains now to see what was all this for, that is to say what is the service of this American-International keyboard we laboriously wanted to add to the normal Korean keyboard.
Use of the American-International keyboard to write in Italian, and not only
Earlier we said that the American-International keyboard is useful to write the accented vowels of the Italian and we also mentioned that, if you do not consider the Korean letters engraved on the keys, the Korean keyboard of the computer is exactly the same as an American keyboard, especially the American-International keyboard. This type of "international" keyboard allows you to write in all the major European languages, Italian, French, German and English, allowing you to create all the letters that are needed in those languages and that do not appear directly on the keyboard.
The Korean keyboard
To achieve this goal, a few keys, like the one in the upper left bearing the tilde (~) and the grave accent (`), the one to the right next to the Enter key bearing the quotation mark (") and the apostrophe (') are "dumb", that is they do not immediately display a character on the screen, but display it only when, after that, another key is pressed. If, for example, you want to actually write just a tilde (~), you will have to press in the first instance the key with the tilde (naturally pressing down the shift key) and then press the space bar. On the contrary, if you wanted to write the Spanish n character with the tilde (ñ), after pressing the tilde key you press the n key. Similarly, to get the German umlaut (ü), you press first the button with the quotation marks (") and then press the u. To write the c with the cedilla (ç) of the French language, the first thing you press is the button with the apostrophe (') and then the c key. To get the i with the circumflex accent (î), you press the button with the caret (^) followed by the i key.
With regard to the Italian language, the key with the tilde (~) and the grave accent (`) is used to obtain the vowels with grave accent, including the capital vowels (as the È vowel which is often used as initial letter in a sentence), while the key with the quotation marks (") and the apostrophe (') is used to obtain the é vowel with the acute accent (in this case, the apostrophe is used as an acute accent). In order to write a, e, i, o, u with grave accent, as a first thing you press the key with the grave accent and then the vowel (getting à, è, ì, ò, ù). To write the e character with acute accent (é, which is needed for words like perché, benché, etc.) press first the key with the apostrophe and then the vowel e. It’s not difficult and, after a little practice, it becomes spontaneous.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE
How to switch from the normal Korean keyboard to the American-International one
When you want to use the new keyboard you just created with the software changes made, simply open the program you intend to use to write the text, move to the window of the writing program (Word, Publisher, Notepad, etc.), display the Language bar, click on the figure that indicates the keyboard (which is initially a
small ball for Korean) and select
We achieved a check of the correct operation of this method by invoking the software equivalent to Notepad, which in Korean is called
To return to write normally in Korean
To return to the usual writing in Korean with the Korean keyboard (
A final consideration
Of course the best solution would be that Microsoft decided to transform the virtual QWERTY keyboard IME from (United States) English to American-International, which would allow the use of the Korean keyboard to write also most of the European languages, without having to resort to adding a new virtual keyboard, as we have done here.
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© Valerio Anselmo