Keys for a Q Column Hanaba Welch Turkish Magic Carpet Ride

If you learned to type a long time ago on a non-electric Remington with blank green keys, you are ready for anything. Go ahead. Buy a used laptop from abroad. Don’t look at the keyboard. That’s why you took up typing. To learn not to look.

My laptop has a Turkish keyboard. I do not know. My allegiance is to the English alphabet. I have to stay true to myself and to my native tongue and fingers.

I can’t be swayed by funny letters. Eyes straight ahead. If my computer thinks it’s an English keyboard, so can I.

In the meantime, who owned this laptop before? A Turk? Was he wearing a fez?

I am transported to the film “Casa Blanca” in which Sydney Greenstreet, dressed in fez, transmits the peace of Allah with a well-practiced flowering directly from her fez. I am easily transportable.

Yes, Morocco is far from Turkey, but a fez is a fez. I imagine Shriners in their toy cars lending their crazy spice to the annual Bob Wills Parade (excluding COVID years) in Turkey, Texas.

We digress. This Turkish keyboard has become my magic carpet. He takes me all over the place. I raise my fez to anyone who can strictly stay the course looking for anything. Not me.

My current journey started exactly when I discovered the native language of my keyboard. Then I found out that it was a Turkish-Q keyboard as opposed to a Turkish-F keyboard.

Any Turk who learns to type (old-fashioned word, I know) probably decides very early on in the scheme of things whether to be an F person or a Q person.

I guess political overtones are involved, and I guess F typists are more likely to wear fez. After all, it is the F arrangement that is based on the Turkish language. It allows Turks proficient in F to win worldwide typing competitions.

What happens if a Turkish F marries a Turkish Q? In the days of the typewriter, the man of the house was probably deciding what type of typewriter to buy. And that was it.

Now that women are thriving in Turkey (yes, I learned all kinds of things about Turkey on this carpet ride), it’s handy that computers easily adapt to both types of keyboards.

Turkish brides are probably still careful to leave the family computer set to the husband’s keyboard choice if it is an FQ wedding. Again, just guess.

Enough about Turkey. (May be too much.)

Have you heard that our QWERTY key layout was driven by the need to slow typists down so the keys don’t stick? Urban legend. Kyoto researchers of all places believe the layout evolved based on feedback from telegraph operators, who somehow benefited from the QWERTY layout when it came to transcribing Morse code.

They explained to me how, but I didn’t quite understand.

New:

A new layout is KALQ. It’s for tablets and big phones. KALQ makes it easy to type with your thumbs only.

Prediction:

Lawyers will eventually sue KALQ on behalf of keyboards with only thumbs and worn out thumb joints.

QWERTY, on the other hand, should be sued for slowing us all down. Too late.

Hanaba Munn Welch, a Times Record News correspondent who divides her time between Abilene and a farm north of Vernon, appears on Monday. Its columns, in homage to the Childress Engine 501, still contain, surprisingly, 501 words.


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