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Non-english languages in Unix

With locale set to a unicode locale (for example en_US.utf-8) various input methods are available

English/European input method

Hit <control> and <spacebar> together to select this input method.

With this method selected, you can enter accented characters and other special characters with special <compose> key sequences. For example enter é (e-acute) with <compose> e ' that is, hit the <compose> key, followed by "e", followed by a single quote " ' "  The <compose> key is a special key on a sun keyboard or ctrl-shift-f1 on a PC-style keyboard. Unfortunately this does not currently work with Exodus from IT Services PCs.

Common accents that you can apply with this method include:

  • Grave uses backtick (`)
    eg <compose> u ` gives ù
  • Circumflex uses Shift-6 (^)
    eg <compose> i ^ gives î
  • Acute uses single quote (')
    eg <compose> e ' gives é
  • Umlaut uses diaeresis double quote (")
    eg <compose> u " gives ü
  • Cedilla uses comma (,)
    eg <compose> c , gives ç

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Simple non-European input methods

Several more input methods can be selected with <compose> key combinations. These input methods allow you to type in the appriate languages in a fairly natural way. You can't do this in a terminal window, but various applications will allow input in these languages. They include dtmail for email, and dtpad for text editing. Unfortunately, neither supports right to left text input.

<compose> tt - Thai input method

<compose> gg - Greek input method

<compose> hh - Hebrew input method

<compose> cc - Cyrillic input method

<compose> ar - Arabic input method

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Complex input methods

For these input methods, you need to know the hexadecimal (or octal) codes for the characters that you wish to enter. You can enter any unicode hexadecimal (or octal) code.

<compose> uh -unicode hexadecimal input

<compose> uo - unicode octal input

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Lookup method

This method is simple, but tedious. However, it can be used to enter any character in the unicode character set.

<compose> ll (compose key followed by the letter el, twice) select a character subset with the appropriate letter, or with the mouse. You will see the first 80 characters of that character subset displayed.  Use <control>-n and <control>-p (next and previous) to see more characters in the set. When you see the character that you want to type, select it with the appropriate key press or with a left mouse click.

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Chinese, Japanese, and Korean

The following four methods are not available in Solaris-7. However, the languages can be used with the lookup input method and the unicode hex and octal input methods described above.

<compose> ja - Japanese input method

<compose> ko - Korean input method

<compose> tc - traditional Chinese input method

<compose> sc - simplified Chinese input method;

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created on 2010-01-01 by Andy Clews
last updated on 2010-06-30 by Chris Limb