Handwriting and typing Cyrillic

I finally finished learning the handwritten cursive version of the Cyrillic alphabet for Russian today – I’ve been learning it a few letters at a time, so it has taken a while. Now I can write down the Russian words and phrases I’m learning more easily – writing the printed versions of the letters seems decidedly awkward to me. I might even investigate Russian calligraphy.

Now I just need to map my fingers to the Russian keyboard layout so that I can type Russian as well, instead of picking the letters one at a time from BabelMap, as I’ve been doing. I just found an online typing tutor that helps you learn various keyboard layouts for English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Russian. There’s a similar site with even more keyboard layouts here.

After many years of trial and error, I can touch type English fairly well, and type the other Western European languages I know as well. I can also type Chinese using pinyin, and Japanese using romaji. When typing Czech though (not something I do very often), I get accented letters like ě, č, ů and ž from BabelMap.

When learning a new language, especially a new alphabet, do you usually learn how to type it?

This entry was posted in Language, Language learning, Russian.

5 Responses to Handwriting and typing Cyrillic

  1. Delodephius says:

    I do learn to type when learning a new alphabet, but I download or create my own keyboard layout so that keys on the English QWERTY keyboard I have type the corresponding letters of the alphabet I’m learning, i.e. when I write in Cyrillic in Russian the key ‘a’ types the Cyrillic ‘а’, when I press ‘b’ it types ‘б’, or ‘g’ types ‘г’, and so on. Same for all languages, Arabic, Devanagari, etc. I never had the problem of having to learn a different layout like most people do, and I only use BableMap for characters that are quite rare to even be on any keyboard.
    Plus, as I said, I created my own keyboard layouts with Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator, like for Glagolitic, Runic, Avestan, Gothic.

  2. prase says:

    И хаже инсталлед а кез… I mean I have downloaded a keyboard layout which has placed the Cyrillic letters on the positions of corresponding Latin letters. There are few strange correspondences one has to learn: я-q, ь-x, ж-v, but still much easier than trying to find the letters on the standard Russian layout (which is difficult although I have bought my laptop in Russia and it has both alphabets printed on the keys).

  3. pennifer says:

    I originally learned to touch-type in Russian on a QWERTY phonetic keyboard, but was forced to switch to a standard Russian keyboard for annoying work computer reasons at that time. Both times I simply faked it until I made it. Long, slow, very painstaking, but I corresponde a LOT in Russian and can’t stand not to touch-type. Best class I took in high-school was 2 yrs of business typing, hands down. Practice, practice, practice!!!

  4. Olof says:

    I have also created a keyboard layout with most of the letters I need for foreign languages. No language I type has another alphabet than the Latin one though, except for maybe Chinese, which I type in pinyin with and have a tool that automatically converts it to hanzi.

  5. michael farris says:

    I use pre-constructed systems for just two languages, Polish (the Polish programmer’s keyboard, see here:


    and Vietnamese, for which I use telex:


    For other latin-based alphabets I do everything in word with my own shortcuts.

    For non-latin I downloaded a Greek keyboard that mimics querty which I find easy to use. I was looking for a cyrillic counterpart but haven’t yet. There are some online services that convert transcription based texts.

    Mostly though with a non-Latin script I like to fool around with my own romanization. For Bulgarian I use the ISO standard but with y instead of a-breve and use ja and ju at the beginning of a word or after a vowel (instead of a-circumflex or u-circumflex).

    Currently I’m fooling around with Arabic, trying to use an etymological romanization for spoken varieties.

%d bloggers like this: