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Man Campaigns For Addition of 'Th' Key To Keyboard 258

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-Th-first-to-try-messing-with-Th-keyboard dept.
beaverdownunder writes "Melbourne restauranteur Paul Mathis has developed a one-character replacement for the word 'The' – effectively an upper-case 'T' and a lower-case 'h' bunched together so they share the upright stem – and an app that puts it in everyone's hand by allowing users to download an entirely new keyboard complete not just with his 'Th' symbol, but also a row of keys containing the 10 or 15 (depending on the version) most frequently typed words in English. Mathis has already copped criticism from people who claim he is attempting to trademark a symbol that is part of the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet (pronounced 'tshe,' the letter represents the 'ch' sound found in the word 'chew')."
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Man Campaigns For Addition of 'Th' Key To Keyboard

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  • Thorn (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dynamoo (527749) on Friday July 05, 2013 @10:23AM (#44194383) Homepage
    Thorn already exists [wikipedia.org] as an obsolete form of "th". I don't think it will work it I try to enter it here, but here goes..
  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Friday July 05, 2013 @10:23AM (#44194389)

    I insist on the return of thorn [wikipedia.org] and eth [wikipedia.org] to the language! If only slashdot's character support wasn't utterly broken, I could type them here...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 05, 2013 @10:44AM (#44194599)

    Seriously, I still fail to understand why the Qwerty keyboard still is the norm, even in virtual keyboard in mobile devices.

    What's the problem with pushing a better keyboard like Dvorak? wouldn't that be a better improvement over just adding 'th' or other minor fixes?

    Because the original studies were biased at best, and follow up studies found there are no cost benefits to retraining with Dvorak [reason.com]:

    In the first phase of the experiment, 10 government typists were retrained on the Dvorak keyboard. It took well over 25 days of four-hour-a-day training for these typists to catch up to their old QWERTY speeds. (Compare this to the Navy study's results.) When the typists had finally caught up to their old speeds, the second phase of the experiment began. The newly trained Dvorak typists continued training and a group of 10 QWERTY typists (matched in skill to the Dvorak typists) began a parallel program to improve their skills. In this second phase the Dvorak typists progressed less quickly with further Dvorak training than did QWERTY typists training on QWERTY keyboards. Thus Strong concluded that Dvorak training would never be able to amortize its costs. He recommended instead that the government provide further training in the QWERTY keyboard for QWERTY typists.

    The GSA study attempted to control carefully for the abilities and treatments of the two groups. The study design directly paralleled the decision that a real firm or a real government agency might face: Is it worthwhile to retrain its present typists? If Strong's study is correct, it is not efficient for current typists to switch to Dvorak. The study also implied that the eventual typing speed would be greater with QWERTY than with Dvorak, although this conclusion was not emphasized.

    Much of the other evidence that has been used to support Dvorak's superiority actually can be used to make a case against Dvorak. We have the 1953 Australian Post Office study already mentioned, which needed to remove psychological impediments to superior performance. A 1973 study based on six typists at Western Electric found that after 104 hours of training on Dvorak, typists were 2.6 percent faster than they had been on QWERTY. Similarly, a 1978 study at Oregon State University indicated that after 100 hours of training, typists were up to 97.6 percent of their old QWERTY speed. Both of these retraining times are similar to those reported by Strong but not to those in the Navy study. But unlike Strong's study neither of these studies included parallel retraining on QWERTY keyboards. As Strong points out, even experienced QWERTY typists increase their speed on QWERTY if they are given additional training.

    Ergonomic studies also confirm that the advantages of Dvorak are either small or nonexistent. For example, A. Miller and J Thomas, two researchers at the IBM Research Laboratory, writing in the International Journal of Man-Machine Studies, conclude that "no alternative has shown a realistically significant advantage over the QWERTY for general purpose typing." Other studies based on analysis of hand-and-finger motions find differences of only a few percentage points between Dvorak and QWERTY. The consistent finding in ergonomic studies is that the results imply no clear advantage for Dvorak, and certainly no advantage of the magnitude that is so often claimed.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Informative)

    by elfprince13 (1521333) on Friday July 05, 2013 @11:08AM (#44194811) Homepage
    Not only at [slashdot.org], but we already have two letters to solve ðis [wikipedia.org] problem (although it would help if /. didn't delete the first one).
  • by Goaway (82658) on Friday July 05, 2013 @11:23AM (#44194917) Homepage

    The comfort comes from that comfortable feeling that you are special and better than everyone else because you use a special keyboard.

  • Re:No (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hans Adler (2446464) on Friday July 05, 2013 @11:29AM (#44194969)

    You abused it anyway. Thorn is not for the sound in 'that' (which is the same as the sound in 'this'), but for the one in 'with'. Just think about whether someone with a heavy accent would replace th by d or by f. ('dis' and 'dat' require an ed, 'wif' requires a forn).

  • by Hans Adler (2446464) on Friday July 05, 2013 @11:35AM (#44195025)

    As Gutenberg was German, the first printing presses only had letters as required for German. Discarding the umlauts from the printing presses imported from Germany was easy, but creating new letter types for eth and thorn was tricky. An initial workaround for eth was to use y because in certain handwritings the two looked similar. Later they used th for both eth and thorn.

  • Re:No (Score:4, Informative)

    by elfprince13 (1521333) on Friday July 05, 2013 @11:37AM (#44195041) Homepage
    A thorn can be either a voiced or voiceless dental fricative, even if modern Icelandic orthography only uses it for the former.
  • Re:Thorn (Score:4, Informative)

    by BattleApple (956701) on Friday July 05, 2013 @12:08PM (#44195369)

    That's not an 'f'. It's a "long s" used in the beginning or middle of a word.
    see here [newtestamentchurch.org] note the crossbar on the long s is only on the left side, and they use "s" at the end of a word. The regular "s" was only used in the middle of a word if it came directly after a long s

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