Many First Nations languages require a number of characters that are not available on the standard English keyboard, but these letters do have standard unicode values.
Unicode is a universal cataloguing system by which computers consistantly organize all of the different letters and characters of the world’s writing systems. To accommodate the extra letters, some of the standard keys have been given new values, or modified so that they also function as accent keys.
To type these characters, you must install a keyboard driver (a program which reorganizes how your physical keyboard works – as well as a good unicode font).
For some Unicode characters to appear at all, you must be using Windows XP or Mac 10.2 or higher. Earlier PC and Mac operating systems do not support unicode technology sufficiently. Even if you are using a recent operating system, not all of your applications will necessarily be unicode compliant.
To download the keyboard for your language, go to FirstVoices.com and select the language you want from the drop-down menu. Go to the welcome page for that language to find the right keyboard.
To access other keyboards not available at FirstVoices, visit Languagegeek.com.
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