Syllabics Keyboard Layouts

“One-Key” Keyboard Layouts

“Build-a-Syllable” Layouts

There are two types of Syllabics keyboards on this site, both systems have their advantages and disadvantages.

The One-Key takes some training to learn, but once your fingers know the keys, it’s quite fast. For those who are not familiar with the Roman orthography, this system is much easier to learn.

The Build-a-syllable keyboarding method is simpler for the casual user. The keys are arranged according to English QWERTY which is physically printed on most Cree speakers' keyboards and serves an aid to memory. This system is much easier for those who can touch-type in English.

There is a lot of orthographical variation amongst Cree and Ojibway communities concerning w-dot placement and the forms of the finals. This is all taken account of in the specific keyboards. For more details, see the keyboard maps for each language.

There are also stylistic differences. Some writers may prefer a certain placement of final:

The shape of the syllabic may also have various forms. These stylistic differences can be compared to Latin minuscule ‘a’ and ‘g’, which can also look like ‘ɑ’ and ‘ɡ’. Speakers of most languages using the Roman Alphabet would not treat these as different letters, although graphically they are quite distinct. Same goes for most Syllabics languages. As these are stylistic variants, if you prefer one kind of final to another, you should look for a font which contains the style of character you desire.

All keyboards (unless otherwise noted) on this site are designed to work with Unicode 5.2 fonts, and as such, will only work with (as of 2010) fonts which are very up-to-date. Older syllabics fonts may be lacking a few Syllabics characters. Please see the Languagegeek fonts download page for Unicode 5.2 fonts.

Note to Mac typists

The Languagegeek syllabics keyboards for Macs use the Caps Lock to switch between English and Syllabics. When Caps Lock is off, the keyboards type in Syllabics. When Caps Lock is on, the keyboards type in English. Windows keyboards do not have this functionality.

The New Syllabics Keyboards

There has been a change at Languagegeek regarding the Syllabics keyboard layouts. Before March 2010, there was a series of syllabics keyboards with a different keymap layout. Why the change?

Many new syllabics characters have been added to Unicode 5.2, including some which are necessary for Cree, Ojibwe, and Oji-Cree. Consequently, all of the syllabics keyboards on Languagegeek had to be updated. I took this Unicode expansion as an opportunity to fix several technical problems with the keyboard layouts themselves.

The Mac keyboards had a problem with syllabics characters disappearing in certain applications. For example, in Adobe Illustrator, the character ᓯ would vanish if you click out of the textbox. This was an issue with the design of the keyboard layouts due to improper use of keyboard states. The new Languagegeek keyboards fix this problem

The Windows keyboards had the disadvantage of using third party software which had to run in the background of Windows. This third party software was not free, putting syllabics users at a costly disadvantage. The new Languagegeek keyboards are free and use no third party software.

The new layouts are a result of input from syllabics typists who are not already familiar with the Roman Orthography - the old keyboards unfairly assumed fluency in Roman orthography. The new Languagegeek keyboards are based on the Syllabics Chart (the usual way syllabics are presented and learned).

For those interested in the pre-2010 Languagegeek syllabics keyboards, they are still available but I no longer provide tech support for them, nor are they compliant with Unicode 5.2, so use at your own risk!


“One-Key” Keyboard Maps and Downloads

Cree 1-Key Keyboards

Oji-Cree 1-Key Keyboards


“Build-a-syllable” Maps and Downloads

Mac Installer Instructions

Windows installation instructions

Cree: Mac DownloadWindows Download

ᐄᔨᔫ ᐊᔨᒨᓐ, ᐄᓅ ᐊᔨᒨᓐ, ᐃᓕᓖᒧᐎᓐ Cree, Eastern: Includes East Cree (Quebec), Moose Cree (Ontario). Important notes Keymap (pdf)
ᐃᓂᓂᒧᐎᐣ Cree, Central: Includes Omushkego Cree (Ontario). Keymap (pdf)
ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐏᐏᐣ Cree, Western: Includes all in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories. Important Notes Keymap (pdf)

OjibwE: Mac Download — Windows Download

ᐊᓂᔑᓇᐯᒧᐎ i-finals, left-side w-dot Important notes Keymap (pdf)
ᐊᓂᔑᓇᐯᒧᐏ i-finals, right-side w-dot Important notes Keymap (pdf)
ᐊᓂᔑᓇᐯᒧᐎᓐ a-finals, left-side w-dot Keymap (pdf)
ᐊᓂᔑᓇᐯᒧᐏᓐ a-finals, right-side w-dot Keymap (pdf)
ᐊᓂᔑᓇᐯᒧᐎᐣ western-finals, left-side w-dot Important notes Keymap (pdf)
ᐊᓂᔑᓇᐯᒧᐏᐣ western-finals, right-side w-dot Important notes Keymap (pdf)

Oji-Cree: Mac DownloadWindows Download

ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᒧᐎᐣ left-side w-dot Important notes Keymap (pdf)
ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᒧᐏᐣ right-side w-dot Important notes Keymap (pdf)
ᔭᓂᓯᓂᓂᒧᐏᐣ Sandy Lake, right-side w-dot Important notes Keymap (pdf)

Naskapi: Mac Download — Windows Download

ᐃᔪᐤ ᐊᔨᒧᐅᓐ Naskapi Keymap (pdf)

Blackfoot: Mac Download — Windows Download

ᓱᖽᐧᖿ–ᖿᐟᖻ–ᑯᖾᖹ Blackfoot Keymap (pdf)
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Last Modified: 19-Feb-2013