16 December 2010

Typing in Two Languages

BY 'TWO LANGUAGES' I don't mean two literal languages, I mean typing on two different types of keyboards.

I love typing and I've been good at it ever since my parents put me into a typing class at the local college one summer when I was about 13 or 14 years old. I was even able to test out of typing class in high school my freshman year (Note: readers under the age of 30 will probably not understand that last sentence. Yes, we used to take a full year of typing classes -- on typewriters, no less). One of the early realizations I made when first traveling overseas is that, because many countries have unique alpha-numeric needs, they often have their own 'version' of the standard typing keypad. France is no different. Unlike the US and UK (to mention a couple), France does not follow the QWERTY format and that can make typing on a French keyboard quite an adventure. But since I often use both American and French computers I have had to work on my 'French' typing skills -- trying to remember that the 'a' is where the 'q' normally is, and the 'm' isn't on the bottom row where it should be, and you have to hit the damn Shift key if you want to type numbers. Oh, and where in the world is the '@' sign?!?

But I've gotten to the point where I am almost as fast on French computers as on my trusty QWERTY one. If you are unaware of the French keyboard, consider the following sentence -- which I will type on a French keyboard but using the American (QWERTY) keyboard set up:
Ze zish you q ?erry Christmqs, qnd q hqppy nez yeqr: Seqsons greetings to qll our friends qnd relqtives bqck in ?qrylqnd:
Quite a few differences...and I didn't even get to the numbers. If I typed the lyrics to a popular Jackson 5 song, it would look like this:
QBC, eqsy qs &é"
But I'm comfortable with both formats now so it's not much of a problem. The only real irritating thing is when I am on my US computer and I revert to the French keyboard. Oye!

(How many typos in this post...did anyone count?)


Anonymous said...

"Seasons" should be spelt "Seqons"

Anonymous said...


chcmichel said...

Like you, I took typing, although in high school which got me an office job in the army when I was drafted; much better than the alternatives.

I get confused like crazy with the French keyboard. I'll get on my cousins computers when we are at their homes and have to peck my emails.

I am impressed you have mastered both and can keep them straight.

French for a While said...

See, I even get confused when I try to misspell words.