|Using the language bar|
|Written by Logan|
|Monday, 19 May 2008 19:03|
The language bar is this little guy right here:
I’ll go through and explain what all the components are, and how to use them.
The language icon
This is quite simple. It is an abbreviation for the language you are currently using. You can click it to change the language to whatever you would like, or you can press “LEFT ALT + LEFT SHIFT” on your keyboard to cycle through your installed languages without having to use the mouse.
Keyboard IME and entry type
Don’t mess with these. They are already set to the best options by default in Windows, at least for the Japanese language anyway. If you want to fool around with them on your own, be my guest, but just try to remember what the default options are.
This is what makes the Japanese IME so great. Its default is as shown in the picture- an “A” means English entry. Changing it to the “あ” will allow you to type in Japanese. You can change it by either manually using the mouse to change it, or by pressing “LEFT ALT - ` ” on the keyboard. ” ` ” is that key to the left of the 1 on your keyboard. TRY TO USE ONLY THE “あ” MODE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. The reason for this is because the hiragana entry mode will automatically convert to other characters intelligently by pressing space. If I type “ro-gann”, it displays as ろーがん by default but will change automatically to my katakana spelling ローガン by pressing space. You can automatically switch back to English without switching modes by capitalizing the first letter of your sentence. After you finish your english sentence and press enter to resume the next sentence, it will pick back up again in Hiragana-mode. Pressing space multiple times while a part is underlined will bring up multiple possibilities.
Despite having an incredibly rare problem every so often, hiragana mode is the single most useful mode, and you should use it as much as possible. The other modes are half-size katakana, which can be useful for squeezing them in places, or a few others. Try them out. The most useful keyboard combinations are “LEFT ALT + CAPS LOCK” to enable katakana mode, and “LEFT CONTROL + CAPS LOCK” to enable hiragana mode. (Please note, once you have set katakana mode, you cannot alt-` back to hiragana mode. You will have to use ctrl-capslock first to get it back to switching to hiragana mode.)
This mode sets the auto-conversion filter’s tendencies. When you press space, it matches your typed hiragana up against an internal list and decides what it is best to convert to. If you find that you are trying to type a name and it isn’t working properly, change the conversion mode to names, or anything else on the list when you need it. It is very helpful in certain situations.
This is the gizmo that makes all the kids cry with happiness. You will love this. There are tools in here that will make your studying about a THOUSAND times easier if you don’t know kanji very well. “Handwriting” or “手書き” pops up a window with two boxes. First press clear (or 消去 if you’ve enabled Japanese as your default, you fool) and then you can draw your kanji in the left box, and it will come up with matches on the right. This is incredibly handy for when you can’t get the automatic conversion filter to figure out what you are trying to type, or for when you are trying to look up a kanji you can’t find in the kanji dictionary. It’s great. It also has a radical lookup on the left, and a few other gizmos. Check them out!!
This area contains another link to your IME Pad, and also the options/configuration sections of the toolbar. If you want to mess with them, you are welcome to try, but I’m telling you from the start, it’s tough to muddle through. I’ve already told you all the default key combinations for switching between modes, so that should help you out enough to not need the options.
If you lost your Language bar and can’t find it
This has happened to me a few times before. It just dissappears never to be found, sometimes. You can get it back by opening the “Regional and Language Options” section in Control Panel, and clicking the “Languages” tab at the top. Click “Details…” and then click “Language Bar…” in the preferences section of the new window that pops up. UNCLICK “Show the language bar on the desktop” and then click “OK”. Click “apply”, then RE-open “Language Bar…” and CLICK “Show the language bar on the desktop” one more time. Press “OK” and then “apply” again, and your bar should be restored!
That’s all for this tutorial, get to using your newfound tools!
I hope this helps!