All of the languages of the North West Coast (as defined on this site) use a modified Roman orthography, although some have suggested other writing systems for some of these languages (e.g. syllabics for Kwak̓wala, shorthand for Nłeʔkepmxcín). In the Canadian province of British Columbia, there are generally speaking two types of orthography: “linguistic” and “practical”. The linguistic system for each language uses a local form of Americanist phonetic writing, containing symbols such as: ƛ ʕ kʷ y̓ etc. The practical systems in B.C. (based on work by Bouchard) tend to try to use only those characters that are on an English typewriter keyboard, although there are often a few extra characters necessary. Some languages in Canada and most in the U.S.A. have adopted the linguistic-style orthography as their standard, and thus have no typewriter style “practical orthography”.
Some of these languages have a relatively newly developed practical alphabet which differs significantly from the orthography commonly used by linguists. Where possible and applicable, several keyboards will be available for each language. For more details, see the keyboard maps or language pages. Each language will be provided with two keyboards, one for Windows and one for Macs.
Multi-lingual keyboards keep the standard A–Z keys while the special characters used by the languages are mapped to either the punctuation keys or, in some cases, the number keys. For the languages which have two keyboards (one with remapped punctuation keys and one with remapped number keys), the number keys keyboard is preferable for touch typing.
Accents are typed after the base letter unless otherwise specified in the keymap pdf. Where possible, keyboards for Windows have been designed in the standard Microsoft Windows key layout file format.
All keyboards (unless otherwise noted) on this site are designed to work with Unicode fonts, and as such, will only work with relatively up-to-date software (e.g. Windows XP, Mac OSX Tiger). Alan Wood has a list of Unicode friendly software.
The multi-lingual keyboards place accents and special letters only on punctuation keys, so as not to interfere with letters required by English. This way borrowed words or proper names can be typed in a Native language text without switching keyboard layouts. Unless otherwise mentioned on the keymap, accents are typed after the letter they modify. Where a punctuation key has been altered, the original value is typed by holding down the RIGHT-ALT (on Windows) or one of the OPTION keys (on Macs) and hitting the punctuation key.
|Xaad Kil, Xayda Kil||Haida|
|The SENĆOŦEN keyboard has changes somewhat to ensure compatibility with Windows Vista and Windows 7. The new keyboard is included in the general Windows Download above. Please read the keymap (pdf) as some keys have changed. The old SENĆOŦEN keyboard requires Keyman keyboard software and is still available here although I no longer provide tech support for this layout.|
|Lǝk̓ʷiŋíʔnǝŋ||Northern Straits Salish|
No keyboard required
|Kwak̕wala / Kʷak̓ʷala||Kwakiutl|
See individual entries for downloads.
|Dəxʷləšucid||Lushootseed with slash-ł
Lushootseed with tilde-ɫ
|Nxaʔamxčín (Moses-Columbia)||Mac Download
|Q̓ʷayáełq̓ (Upper Chehalis)||Mac Download
|Seliš (Salish)||Mac Keyboard
|Language Family||Native Name||English Name||Keyboard Map||Download|
|Tlingit||Lingít (Yukon)||Inland Tlingit (Yukon)||Keymap||•Windows Keyboard