Saturday, November 25, 2006

Typing Yi/Lolo

Yi (or Lolo) is spoken by 4-5 million people in SW China and is written using 1165 characters representing individual syllables. For some interesting info, including lists of the syllables and sample text, see the Babelstone Yi Page.

The logical way to type Yi is with an input method like those used for pinyin Chinese. OS X includes a facility for creating custom IM's, so I made an experimental one for Yi. You type in the Latin letters for the syllable, hit return, and the right character is placed in your text.

To install this IM, download the file yi16.txt.dat from my iDisk. Then use the "Generate IM Plug-in" command in the Traditional Chinese input method menu, and select Yi in the latter. If you are using something earlier than Tiger, you follow a different procedure -- see this page for details.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tom,

I am using OS X 10.4.9 and am having problems creating a custom input method.

I enable traditional Chinese, select the custom IM, but get an "Open Failed" message, with the details "File open error. Please make sure the file name contains only Roman characters."

Can you offer any help?

Tom Gewecke said...

Send me a copy of your source file (tom at bluesky dot org).

Anonymous said...

Hi Tom,

This is an awesome find. I love it. I had problems for a week or so, but now the problem is solved.

Evidently, the file will not generate if the file is located on the desktop, because moving the file to the hard disk and then using the same instructions worked perfectly.

I am now wondering what text/file editor I can use to customize the input method... the Yi language input you provide works well, but it could be further improved.

Apparently, it does not support the finals b/c a Chinese character appears rather than the Yi character, probably due to a bug in the mapping. Each symbol has only one romanized equivalent, so I should be able to take your work and modify it easily.

I can still use the input successfully by avoiding the finals and selecting the number (1,2,3,4), but it would be much faster to use the finals.

Or perhaps the mapping can be fixed by you even faster?? ;)

If not, what kind of editor do I need to make these changes?

Tom Gewecke said...

There is no way to edit yi16.txt.dat. You need the source file, yi16.txt, which you can edit with TextEdit set to UTF-16. Unfortunately I cannot seem to find this file at the moment. If you email me, I'll see if I can send it to you or figure out where I got the basic table for it (tom at bluesky dot org).