Language input keys

Language input keys, which are usually found on Japanese and Korean keyboards, are keys designed to translate letters using an input method editor. On non-Japanese or Korean keyboard layouts using an IME, these functions can usually be reproduced via hotkeys, though not always directly corresponding to the behavior of these keys.

Keys for Japanese Keyboards

KB Japanese
Japanese (OADG 109A) keyboard layout with Hiragana keys.
KB Japanese Mac - Apple Keyboard (MB869JA)
Japanese Apple keyboard

The OADG 109A and older 109 keyboard layouts which are the standard for Microsoft Windows have five dedicated language input keys[1]:

  • halfwidth/fullwidth/kanji (hankaku/zenkaku/kanji 半角 / 全角 / 漢字) at the top left key of the keyboard;
  • alphanumeric (eisū 英数), combined with non-language specific key ⇪ Caps Lock;
  • non-conversion (muhenkan 無変換), on the left of the space bar;
  • conversion (henkan 変換), on the right of the space bar;
  • katakana/hiragana/rōmaji (カタカナ / ひらがな / ローマ字), on the right of the space bar, next to 変換.

Apple keyboards designed for Mac OS X have two language input keys: alphanumeric (英数) and kana (かな).

The keyboards for NEC PC-9800 series, which was dominant in Japan during the 1980s and early 1990s, have three language input keys: kana, NFER (no transfer, same as nonconversion), XFER (transfer, same as conversion).[2]

For non-Japanese keyboards, the following shortcuts can be used for typing Japanese on English keyboard with Windows:

  • Alt + Shift switch between languages (IMEs)
  • Ctrl + Caps Lock switch to Hiragana
  • Alt + Caps Lock if in alphanumeric mode change to Hiragana, then switch to Katakana
  • Shift + Caps Lock switch between full-width Hiragana ↔ full-width alphanumeric (romaji)
  • Alt + ` (Grave Accent) switch between kana ↔ half-width alphanumeric (romaji)
  • Alt + ~ (Tilde) toggle kana/direct input
  • ↵ Enter no conversion, all previous characters are accepted "as is" (all propositions from IME are rejected)
  • Space convert current word (last characters) to the first word in the list of proposals
  • 2 3 4 5 6 convert to the 2-6th word in the list
  • F6 convert selected word/characters to full-width hiragana (standard hiragana): ホワイト → ほわいと
  • F7 convert to full-width katakana (standard katakana): ほわいと → ホワイト
  • F8 convert to half-width katakana (katakana for specific purpose): ホワイト → ホワイト
  • F9 convert to full-width romaji, all-capitals, proper noun capitalization (latin script inside Japanese text): ホワイト → howaito → HOWAITO → Howaito
  • F10 convert to half-width romaji, all-capitals, proper noun capitalization (latin script like standard English): ホワイト → howaito → HOWAITO → Howaito


Half-width/Full-width/Kanji (半角 / 全角 / 漢字 hankaku/zenkaku/kanji) toggles between entering half-width or full-width characters (if 2 versions of same character exists), and also between IME on (for Japanese, see Kanji key) and off (for English, see Alphanumeric key). Prior Windows 98 and older systems, the key was only with Half-width/Full-width function.


Used to switch between entering Japanese and English text. It is not found as a separate key in the modern Japanese 106/109-key keyboard layout. On the Common Building Block (CBB) Keyboard for Notebooks, as many 106/109-key keyboards, the Kanji key is located on the Half-width/Full-width key, and needs the key ALT. It is found as a separate key on the IBM PS/55 5576-001 keyboard. On the IBM PS/55 5576-002 keyboard, it is mapped to the left Alt key.


Alphanumeric (英数 eisū) toggles alphanumeric characters. In the Japanese 106/109-key layout, it is located on the Caps Lock key. Pressing Alphanumeric/Caps Lock key alone actually means alphanumeric function, a user has to press ⇧ Shift+英数 / Caps Lock key to get caps lock function.


Conversion (変換 henkan) is used to convert kana to kanji. In the Microsoft IME, Conversion selects conversion candidates on highlighted input, and ⇧ Shift+変換 is used to display the previous candidate, or zenkōho (前候補). The alt version of this key is also pronounced zenkōho (全候補), which means "all candidates", shows all input candidates.


Non-conversion (無変換 muhenkan) specifies that the kana characters entered are not to be converted into kanji candidates.


Katakana,hiragana,rōmaji (ひらがな / カタカナ / ローマ字 katakana,hiragana,rōmaji) used to switch between hiragana or katakana characters. It can also be found for switching between hiragana, katakana and rōmaji as shown below. Alt+ひらがな / カタカナ / ローマ字 or Ctrl+⇧ Shift+ひらがな / カタカナ / ローマ字[3] (this feature is printed as Rōmaji (ローマ字) on the same key) toggles between rōmaji input and direct kana input in some IMEs (e.g. Microsoft IME).


Keys for Korean Keyboards

KB South Korea
Dubeolsik (두벌식) layout, the national standard layout of South Korea

The standard keyboard layout for IBM PC compatibles of South Korea is almost identical to the U.S. layout, with some exceptions:

  • Hangul characters are printed on the keys.
  • On the top of the \ key, the backslash is replaced with the (Won sign) or both of them are printed. The backslash has the shape of the Won sign including system fonts such Gulim (굴림) and Malgun Gothic (맑은 고딕). Note that vertical bar | (⇧ Shift+\) is also replaced as the broken bar ¦ on some South Korean keyboards, but the broken bar in Unicode (U+00A6) is not inputted by most of Korean IMEs.
  • The keyboards with 1x \ and ← Backspace keys, and the J-shaped ↵ Enter key are overwhelmingly used in South Korea.
  • There are two additional keys: 한/영 Han/Yeong (or 한영 HanYeong) and 한자 Hanja (or 漢字 Hanja) keys. They do not exist as independent keys on some keyboards.

Han/Yeong (한/영)

It toggles between entering Korean (Hangul) and English (ISO basic Latin alphabet).

Many computer systems support alternative keys or key sequences for keyboards without the Han/Yeong key. It is absent from the keyboards of most portable computers in South Korea, where the right Alt key is used instead. On the right Alt key of these devices, only "한/영" (Han/Yeong) or both "한/영" (Han/Yeong) and Alt are printed.

Hanja (한자)

It converts Hangul to Chinese characters (hanja) or some special characters.

Many computer systems support alternative keys or key sequences for keyboards without the Hanja key. It is absent from the keyboards of most portable computers in South Korea, where the right Ctrl key is used instead. On the right Ctrl key of these devices, only "한자" (Hanja) or both "한자" (Hanja) and Ctrl are printed.

Notes and references

  1. ^ "OADG 109Aキーボード JISによる参照キーボードに!". Archived from the original on 23 February 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  2. ^ "Keyboard Collection". Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock Indicators Are Reversed". Microsoft Support. Retrieved 29 January 2015.

External links

Computer keyboard

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Keyboard keys (buttons) typically have characters engraved or printed on them, and each press of a key typically corresponds to a single written symbol. However, producing some symbols may require pressing and holding several keys simultaneously or in sequence. While most keyboard keys produce letters, numbers or signs (characters), other keys or simultaneous key presses can produce actions or execute computer commands.

In normal usage, the keyboard is used as a text entry interface for typing text and numbers into a word processor, text editor or any other program. In a modern computer, the interpretation of key presses is generally left to the software. A computer keyboard distinguishes each physical key from every other key and reports all key presses to the controlling software. Keyboards are also used for computer gaming — either regular keyboards or keyboards with special gaming features, which can expedite frequently used keystroke combinations.

A keyboard is also used to give commands to the operating system of a computer, such as Windows' Control-Alt-Delete combination. Although on Pre-Windows 95 Microsoft operating systems this forced a re-boot, now it brings up a system security options screen.A command-line interface is a type of user interface navigated entirely using a keyboard, or some other similar device that does the job of one.

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII is a 1997 role-playing video game developed by Square for the PlayStation console. It is the seventh main installment in the Final Fantasy series. Published in Japan by Square, it was released in other regions by Sony Computer Entertainment and became the first in the main series to see a PAL release. The game's story follows Cloud Strife, a mercenary who joins an eco-terrorist organization to stop a world-controlling megacorporation from using the planet's life essence as an energy source. Events send Cloud and his allies in pursuit of Sephiroth, a superhuman intent on destroying their planet. During the journey, Cloud builds close friendships with his party members, including Aerith Gainsborough, who holds the secret to saving their world.

Development began in 1994, originally for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. After delays and technical difficulties from experimenting on several platforms, Square moved production to the PlayStation, largely due to the advantages of the CD-ROM format. Veteran Final Fantasy staff returned, including series creator and producer Hironobu Sakaguchi, director Yoshinori Kitase, and composer Nobuo Uematsu. The title became the first in the series to use full motion video and 3D computer graphics, which featured 3D character models superimposed over 2D pre-rendered backgrounds. Although the gameplay systems remained mostly unchanged from previous entries, Final Fantasy VII introduced more widespread science fiction elements and a more realistic presentation. The game had a staff of over 100, with a combined development and marketing budget of around US$80 million.

Assisted by a large promotional campaign, Final Fantasy VII received widespread commercial and critical success and remains widely regarded as a landmark title and one of the greatest games of all time. The title won numerous Game of the Year awards and was acknowledged for boosting the sales of the PlayStation and popularizing Japanese role-playing games worldwide. Critics praised its graphics, gameplay, music, and story, although some criticism was directed towards its English localization. Its success has led to enhanced ports on various platforms, a multimedia subseries called the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII and an upcoming high-definition remake for the PlayStation 4.

IBM PC keyboard

The keyboard for IBM PC-compatible computers is standardized. However, during the more than 30 years of PC architecture being frequently updated, many keyboard layout variations have been developed.

A well-known class of IBM PC keyboards is the Model M. Introduced in 1986 and manufactured by IBM, Lexmark, Maxi-Switch and Unicomp, the vast majority of Model M keyboards feature a buckling spring key design and many have fully swappable keycaps.

Keyboard layout

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Mechanical layout is the placements and keys of a keyboard. Visual layout is the arrangement of the legends (labels, markings, engravings) that appear on the keys of a keyboard. Functional layout is the arrangement of the key-meaning associations, determined in software, of all the keys of a keyboard.

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