Lost in keyboarding
Do you know what can cause surprise, confusion and irritation all at the same time?
Ask how my British boyfriend felt when he borrowed my laptop and used an AZERTY keyboard for the first time.
For those who have never experience the joys of AZERTY and don’t quite understand what it is… AZERTY is the type of keyboard we use in France and is named after the first 6 letters of…the keyboard.
Azerty and Qwerty
Quite different from QWERTY, isn’t it? Wait till you actually try it! The AZERTY keyboard is probably the second most illogical thing involving French language ever. The first one being a text translated into French using Machine Translation. Imagine a world where you need to hit the Shift button every time you want to type a full stop, or any number. Now, you’re starting to understand what my boyfriend felt.
This curse is shared with our lovely neighbours in Belgium. Nos q,is les Auebecois… sorry, nos amis les Québécois have been wise enough to adopt an adapted version of QWERTY instead. So as all French speaking African countries and, well, almost the entire world.
Don’t worry, there are still loads of countries that can offer you the opportunity to spend an hour finding the “@” button. In Switzerland, where nearly 20% of the population speak French, people have adopted the QWERTZ keyboard. This is the same keyboard (with little modifications) as Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic and other countries in Central Europe. In Russia, you can still find the Cyrillic keyboard JCUKEN, although QWERTY is also used. And think twice before considering yourself safe in countries using the QWERTY layout. It doesn’t mean that you won’t struggle to find the right punctuation!
So if you are planning to travel without your laptop or tablet, it may be sensible to google which keyboard layout is in use in the country before leaving.
Otherwise you could find yourself in an airport internet café making an attempt to print your budget airline e-ticket. Sweating buckets while trying to type your email address in the little time that your €1 coin has allocated you.