Can't use a bilingual keyboard!

OK, I have a problem, and it seems that it isn’t one that everybody shares, it also seems that it isn’t going to go away if I ignore it!

I have a UK standard keyboard, and I type averagely well on it. The trouble is, I’m learning Russian, which (on LingQ at least) requires toggling between Latin and Cyrillic. I have uploaded the Cyrillic keyboard layout into Windows, and bought some little stickers to stick onto the keys, so you can see both layouts when you look at the keyboard. With a nifty keystroke combination you can toggle between the two languages very quickly.

The problem is that my brain can’t cope with a bilingual keyboard. I’m schizotypal you see. My brain can’t ignore irrelevant information. It can’t process the instruction “now ignore the red characters and focus on the black ones…now do it the other way round”. It tries to process both character sets simultaneously and it gets very confused. Using a bilingual keyboard literally makes my head hurt and my stomach turn over.

I have got round this in English by learning to touch-type, so I don’t have to look at those ghastly keys. I’m not very good at it, and I’ve been doing it for nearly a year. So far I have avoided writing more that the odd word of Russian, because it seems ridiculous to have to admit that I can’t type!

Do I have to spend next year learning to touch-type in Russian or is there anything else I could try? I’ve considered buying a Russian keyboard, and that would probably help, but only when I’m writing all in Russian. When I switch to English I would have to touch-type, plus my family use my computer and they won’t like having a Russian-only keyboard. Could I plug in two keyboards and swap them over, or buy keyboard covers or something?

I’ve considered buying a Russian keyboard, and that would probably help, but only when I’m writing all in Russian.

Helen, I don’t sure that keyboard with only russian letters exists… Standard Russian keyboard is bilingual: with black Latin letters and red Cirillic letters.

I think, the touch-typing is rather good idea :slight_smile: I use VerseQ. It is cheap and interesting software for mastering Russian (and English) touch-typing.

Also you can print russian keyboard layout and look at this list while typing. But it seems for me much more difficult than touch-typing…

You could wish to choose just another keyboard layout.

Standard Windows Russian keyboard made after standard typewriter keyboard, so there’s absolutely no connections between Russian and English leter on the same button. Hence you have to learn two different typing system.

Instead of it, you have an option to choose phonetic layout, where English letter O shares the button with Russian О, A with Russian А, F with Russian Ф, D with Russian Д, and so on.
Perhaps this could help.

There’s a nasty thing with standard Russian layout, where Latin C and Russian С letters reside on the same button.

This is absolutely indistinguishable to human eyes (they are graphically identical!) but leads to problems when typing code in some programming language (because they are different letters).

I find it very difficult to use foreign language keyboards. What I do is type in English and then go back and use the French, Spanish, German or whatever keyboard and fill in the accents, umlauts and cedillas. That is much faster.

With Russian this does not work obviously so I use a virtual Russian keyboard that allows me to type as if it were the Latin alphabet, and the Russian letters appear. The extra uniquely Russian letters have to be added. In Mac this is easy to do, as a view of the keyboard is available. This is much easier than trying to learn the location of keys in unfamiliar keyboards, at least that has been my experience.

I forgot you were in Europe Steve! I was thinking it would be the evening before I got any comments from you…

I’ve uploaded a phonetic keyboard layout and will work with that. I was resisting it because purists say you should use the keyboard layout of the country whose language you are learning. I guess two years is long enough to keep trying at something that doesn’t work for you :wink:

Now I can take those wretched Cyrillic stickers off the keys!

спасибо Владимир!

In language learning beware of purists. I use bilingual dictionaries, virtual keyboards, use Romanization systems in Korean and Japanese,that make sense to me, not the ones created by the native speaker language purists, and this usually makes things easier for me. Easier is good.

Although I don’t type in Russian on a daily basis, you could wake me up in the middle of the night and I will type Russian using the Cyrillic keyboard setting (without stickers).

My trick? I have learned to type by copying lessons from a regular textbook, introducing “identical” letters (and sounds) first and gradually progressing to less similar. It took me a few hours. After a few mistakes, the location of А, Ф, Д et.c. were pretty obvious.

So, start with easy words and increase the difficulty gradually.

With the phonetic Russian keyboard I can now touch-type. It’s very, very slow but it doesn’t hurt my brain so much, so I will stick with it.

I realise that if I were to go and live in Russia I will have to learn to type Russian all over again. However I think I will cross that bridge when I come to it. At least now I can submit typed work to my tutor without having to go and have a lie-down afterwards!

ps useful tip: baby wipes clean glue off computer keys!

I learned touch-typing in English and Hebrew, two completely different keyboards, and it really worth it. I can now enjoy concentrating on my text or textual conversation, without thinking about my fingers. It takes only some days to learn all the lessons and them you need just to practice by typing, typing, typing - without looking on the keyboard. Yes, on the beginning is a bit difficult and slow, but the speed improve rapidly if you type enough and become completely automatic.
I think is better to learn a standard typing from the beginning. There is now essential difference and it will be more difficult to relearn if you’ll need to use a standard Russian keyboard. You can do it! Think that you go to Europe and must to adapt your habits.

I’d like to support inablau.

Since I’ve been living in Germany I use a German-Keyboard and type De-En-Ru without problems just using Windows.
It’s no matter what is written on a key, given that you are familiar with touch typing.