Making Tongan Keyboard Entry easier

Been typing away at that Tongan Language thesis??
How about trying to make those letters home look more grammatically correct??
Does your pinky finger cramp up from typing all those apostrophes/fakau’a??

M�l� e ng�ue mo e ‘eve‘eva holo he Internet. Neongo ‘a e si’i ange ‘o e ngaahi mata’itohi faka-Tonga� mei he mata’i tohi faka-Pilitania pe faka-‘Amelika�, ka ‘i he fakah� ‘o e ngaahi faka’ilonga toloi� pe fakamamaf� ‘oku faingata‘a ange ‘a hono ng�ue‘aki ‘o e kipooti komipiuta ki he taipe’i ‘o e ‘u fetu’utaki faka-Tonga�.

This Word for Windows (works with release 6.0 and release 7.0) macro converts English language characters/letters unused in Tongan correspondence into accented letters.

The new look of your keyboard when the macro has been activated.

Download the macro

Installation instructions

Copyright/Distribution Information

Installation problems?

Typing English is infinitely easier than typing Tongan, even for those whose Tongan is infinitely better than their English.

It seems strange in today’s world of computing that Tongan Language typing is still performed on "US" Keyboards. By staying with the "old way of doing things" Tongan Language typing is extremely cumbersome, requiring fancy finger dancing to type the accents in Tongan letters like � � � � �.

US Keyboard Layout
US Standard Keyboard Layout

All very strange since there are plenty of keys on the keyboard that are untouched by the Tongan Language.
Examples: q w r y d j z x c

US Keyboard Layout ex-unused keys
THe US Keyboard with the letters not used in Tongan Language taken out

The English/US language uses a 26 letter alphabet A ~ Z. The Tongan Language uses a 16 letter alphabet A, E, F, H, I, etc. These sixteen letters are complemented by 5 accented letters, �, �, etc. Combined, the Tongan lettering uses 16 + 5 = 21 letters, yet we only use 16 letters on the typewriter.

To use of a typewriter for Tongan Language communications requires a lot of hand travel to the platinum to move the paper up and down for making accented letters. Most people gave up and pen the accents in after the typing.

Physically changing the keys on the typewriter is unthinkable because (a) most people using a typewriter correspond in English and Tongan, (b) it requires pulling apart the typewriter and putting in "print hammers" which do not exist.

So, I had nothing else to do so I wrote this macro to put the accented letters/characters on top of those letters not normally used in Tongan. I’ve been playing about with my creation for about a year, and it works well for my needs. If you decide to try it, please keep me informed whether it is useful and whether there are any changes you would like me to include.

What Becomes What?

After you run TonganKeyboard, when you type keyboard letters shown in the table, Word will get the "new" letters shown to the right hand side. Most keys remain the same, the changes are highlighted with a circle in the table.

Tongan Typefaces

I have not yet found an appropriate font for PC Compatibles that properly displays/prints the "toloi" or the "fakamamafa" in the Tongan language. Tau’olunga Komipiuta in Tonga offer a set of Macintosh based fonts that have not been tested for the PC Compatibles. Macintosh’s that I have seen with the "toloi" generally use a font named "TimesMaori" which seems to work well with dot matrix print outs.

If anyone has a spare copy of FontMonger, I would be glad to create the font(s) 8-)

If you have Word 6.0 for the Macintosh, give the macro a try and let me know how it works out. If there’s enough interest I’ll take a look at writing a generic program to make this work for any Windows program.