Entering Japanese Text With Kinput2

kinput2 is a background process which aids X11 clients such as kterm, by providing a mechanism for entering Japanese text from the keyboard. The basic technique is as follows: In a situation where you wish to type Japanese text, such as insert mode within stevie, press Shift-Spacebar to activate kinput2, compose a string of Japanese text, then press Shift-Spacebar again to return. When you return, the application receives your composed text.

When kinput2 is engaged, text entered in lowercase is phonetically converted to hiragana. Uppercase text is converted to katakana. The nifty feature of kinput2 is that when you press Line Feed, whatever text you entered is converted from kana to kanji. Since the Japanese language is rich in homophones, the kanji which results may differ from what was desired. In this case, press Line Feed again, and a selection of kanji will be presented. Select the desired kanji with the mouse, or use the keypad arrow keys followed by the Return key.

The following example demonstrates kinput2:

Inserting text in stevie:

Press Shift-Space:

The box (which reads "Roama") indicates that kinput is active. Type "nihonnniikitai":

Press Line Feed:

Not quite what was wanted, press Line Feed again:

Select the desired choice and press Return:

Type "." then Shift-Space:

Additional kinput2 commands include

Tab		toggle Romaji, Narrow English, Wide English
Shift-Esc	select from various symbol characters
F1		convert entry to Katakana
F2		convert entry to Hiragana
F3		convert entry to Narrow Katakana
F4		convert back to Normal Katakana, after F3
F5		toggle Romaji, JIS Code keyboard entry
F6		toggle Romaji, unknown keyboard entry
Line Feed	convert to kanji (first time) display alternate kanji (second time)
Keypad arrows	navigate composed line and alternate choice menu
Right arrow	accept entry, limit conversion to subsequent text

Effective use of kinput2 may require some trial-and-error learning. A basic grasp of Japanese grammer is more or less mandatory in order to achieve desired kanji conversions.

Important: Don't enter too much before pressing Line Feed. Press the Right arrow as soon as you have characters you want to keep, and they will be excluded from conversion next time you use Line Feed. Also, you may want to enter words which most naturally translate to your desired kanji, rather than the actual words the kanji will represent. For example, an easy way to enter "isshokenmei" is "ichi", Line Feed, "sei", Line Feed, "kenmei". Merely typing "Issho" and Line Feed will not provide the desired kanji.

Eric Anderson -- CSE Systems Support Group

Go to next article in this issue

Go to previous article in this issue

Go back to October, 1993 Table of Contents