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

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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  • No (Score:5, Funny)

    by mmcxii ( 1707574 ) on Friday July 05, 2013 @10:21AM (#44194355)
    What teh hell is his problem? We don't need anotehr key on out keyboards.
    • 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).
      • 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).

        • 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.
          • by gutnor ( 872759 )

            voiceless dental fricative

            Tell me you won a bet with that.

            • No, he looked at GGP's broken link and saw what it was supposed to be pointing to [wikipedia.org]. Then he read the article:

              [The thorn letter] has the sound of either a voiceless dental fricative, like th as in the English word thick, or a voiced dental fricative, like th as in the English word the. Modern Icelandic usage generally excludes the latter, which is instead represented with the letter eth; [...]

              Like all modern trivia, it was learned on an arbitrarily hyper-specific wiki entry.

          • A thorn can be either a voiced or voiceless dental fricative, even if modern Icelandic orthography only uses it for the former.

            Thorn was the original initial spelling for the English word now spelled "the". The "ye Olde Time Shoppe" signs are a reflection of the period when English typesetters were using "y" to represent thorn because they were using Continental fonts from countries like Germany, where the "th" is completely foreign.

            Bring back e thorn!

      • Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure he wrote this with an edh, which is the correct usage. Thorn, I thought , looked like a combination between "b" and"p".

        • My "at" was actually a "that" with a thorn, which was stripped by /.'s filters. But that is also correct usage if you're an English speaker instead of Icelandic.
    • by flyneye ( 84093 )

      I want to add punctuation for common conversational occurrences and sentiments that happen in real life without a written counterpart. Most could be drafted from programming symbols and could be used formally where emoticons are inappropriate. It be a paridigm change in literature, like 3D IMAX w/ DOLBY v.(?) is for cinema. Imagine being able to read the following and more into your usual intake. St-s-st-stuttering, for example already has sufficient representation, but, what about:
      1. belching

  • 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..
    • Thanks. I was about to point that out.
    • Also eth, for voiced "th". (I.e., "this'll" vs. "thistle".)

      Or he could just use y, which is what Ye Oldfashioned Sign was all about. (Though I suspect it was used in typography rather than signs, because it would be easy enough to paint an eth or thorn even if a typesetter didn't have them.)

      • 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.

    • Maybe he thinks Ye Olde Pub is an Asian restaurant. Noodles and seafood!

    • Use the "Y" key for the thorn. Didn't you RTFW?
    • I think a better goal would be to start adding to the language, to replace phonetic combinations such as Sh, Th (which existed before), and to start using more phonetically consistent letters, like "K" for the hard C sound, and C for the soft (no nore CK required). This also frees up S to be used as the SH phonem. English spelling really is ridiculous, and could use a good refactoring.

    • Even if there weren't already a "th" character, most texters of yore used "t" to mean "the" and it was very readable.

      T quick brown fox jumps over t lazy dog.

    • Thorn [wikipedia.org] and eth [wikipedia.org] are still used in Iceland, and their keyboards [wikipedia.org] have 'em.
    • 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..

      Ah, but his version is trademarked, and probably has considerably fewer fonts-not-designed-by-people-who-should-really-stick-to-managing-restaurants available, so why would you want to use Thorn?

  • 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...

    • Why not just use a theta?

      • Why not just use a theta?

        Because we're not Greek. English letters for the English language! Also, theta doesn't represent a voiced th, as in "them", which eth handles (thorn being the voiceless th).

    • by danlip ( 737336 )

      As far as I can tell from the preview, eth ( Ð ð ) comes through fine but thorn ( ) does not. Let's see how it looks once I post. But you can see them both here [wikipedia.org].

      Th as always been a bad choice, it represents 2 different sounds, neither of which really sound like the combination of t and h. I support the use of eth and thorn in English.

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Friday July 05, 2013 @10:27AM (#44194425) Homepage Journal

    Fuck off, asshole. The thorn character existed long before your birth.

    • by blueg3 ( 192743 )

      RTFS. The proposed character looks like a combination of T and h, but its meaning is the entire English word "the", not the sound "th".

      • by IANAAC ( 692242 )

        RTFS. The proposed character looks like a combination of T and h, but its meaning is the entire English word "the", not the sound "th".

        And if that's what the submitter is after, what he's doing isn't saving any time or keystrokes or time. He still has t hit the cap key, the "t" and the "h". Three keystrokes, regardless.

        In his case, incorporating T9 or something like it would probably help him more.

    • And the term "Subway" existed before the restaurant chain yet they have a trademark. You don't seem to actually understand how trademark law works.

  • That the guy needs to learn to type and not be so lazy as to balk at having to type in the letters "Th".
  • by Mystakaphoros ( 2664209 ) on Friday July 05, 2013 @10:27AM (#44194429) Homepage
    How about we just start typing everything in International Phonetic Alphabet?
  • Ok. He had his 15 minutes of fame.
    Can we move on to more important things---like just about anything else?

  • by TCaptain ( 115352 ) <slashdot.20.tcap ... NET.com minus pa> on Friday July 05, 2013 @10:36AM (#44194529)

    I would like to put forward a letter of my own to this man.


  • It should be labeled y of course.

    Unless we can have the proper thorn key http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorn_(letter) [wikipedia.org]

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Friday July 05, 2013 @10:42AM (#44194567) Journal
    I'd like to start a petition to include a "Teh" key on all standard keyboards, who's with me?
  • Touch Typing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ukab the Great ( 87152 ) on Friday July 05, 2013 @10:43AM (#44194589)

    He should really campaign for touch typing literacy first. Someone having to switch back and forth between looking at their screen and their keyboard will slow them down far more than a few extra keystrokes.

  • ... are condemned to repeat it.

    English evolves, as does the global use of Latin based alphabets. The current trend is towards fewer customized symbols, not more.

    TL;DR Yet another asshat with more money than sense.

    • plus the fact that most people don't even speak English to begin with - even on the Internet it may by now very well have become a minority language.

  • Icelandic still has them. If they were really important we'd return to using them. They're not and we don't. I'm all for them (and eth, Ð/ð) but there's no need. There's a much better case to be made for a glyph to represent and/or [typophile.com] but even the one offered doesn't flow; it's hard to distinguish from the ampersand and not easily written without multiple strokes which themselves lead to more confusion than clarification.
    • There's a much better case to be made for a glyph to represent and/or

      A slashed ampersand (or just "&/") might serve well to represent an "and/or": Cake, Pie, &/ Cookies

      • A real word would still be better. It should be made able to write a natural language completely without special symbols.
  • a "-1" key instead?

  • I'm doing so much damage in Battlefield 3 my fingers are getting tired.

  • "The main functionality of this is in the texting space,"

    ...where the cool kids already use the single character "d", as in:
    u c d boyz yet?
  • Seriously, why?! Don't we have enough unicode problems already everywhere?

  • should be &thlig; exactly like ß (&szlig)

    Wow. That guy invented ligatures!

    That was the one occasion where i acutally wanted to show the code for an entity rather than the resulting char...

    • I'm just impressed that /. actually rendered a non-ascii character. Please, take one internet out of petty cash as a bonus.

  • Thirty years ago when I still thought 'hope and change' was an actual thing, I was excited to discover the Unifon alphabet. It accomplishes the goals of this guy and much more. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unifon

  • Nah ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by rjmx ( 233228 ) on Friday July 05, 2013 @11:03AM (#44194759)

    The "Any" key would be far more useful.

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

    Man. Singular.

    I think "Man Seeks Free Mention Of His Restaurant In Media" might have been a better headline.

  • A keyboard for the Initial teaching alphabet [wikipedia.org]. That has not not only "th" but "ng" and others
  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Friday July 05, 2013 @11:05AM (#44194783) Homepage

    Ben Franklin thought of the 'th' character in 1768, published in 1779 in A Scheme for a new Alphabet and a Reformed Mode of Spelling [omniglot.com].

  • ...because 'ch' breaks sorting algorithms, then don't go back to '' (thorn [wikipedia.org], which /. is likely to eat because of the lack of UTF-8).
  • What's þe problem? I can't see any "problem" here.
  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Friday July 05, 2013 @11:21AM (#44194901)

    BECAUSE WE ARE STILL BEARING SOME OF THE SCARS OF OUR BRIEF SKIRMISH with II-B English, it is natural that we should be enchanted by Mr. George Bernard Shaw's current campaign for a simplified alphabet.

    Obviously, as Mr. Shaw points out, English spelling is in much need of a general overhauling and streamlining. However, our own resistance to any changes requiring a large expenditure of mental effort in the near future would cause us to view with some apprehension the possibility of some day receiving a morning paper printed in-to us-Greek.

    Our own plan would achieve the same end as the legislation proposed by Mr. Shaw, but in a less shocking manner, as it consists merely of an acceleration of the normal processes by which the language is continually modernized.

    As a catalytic agent, we would suggest that a National Easy Language Week be proclaimed, which the President would inaugurate, outlining some short cut to concentrate on during the week, and to be adopted during the ensuing year. All school children would be given a holiday, the lost time being the equivalent of that gained by the spelling short cut.

    In 1946, for example, we would urge the elimination of the soft c, for which we would substitute "s." Sertainly, such an improvement would be selebrated in all sivic-minded sircles as being suffisiently worth the trouble, and students in all sities in the land would be reseptive to- ward any change eliminating the nesessity of learning the differense be- tween the two letters.

    In 1947, sinse only the hard "c" would be left, it would be possible to substitute "k" for it, both letters being pronounsed identikally. Imagine how greatly only two years of this prosess would klarify the konfusion in the minds of students. Already we would have eliminated an entire letter from the alphabet. Typewriters and linotypes, kould all be built with one less letter, and a11 the manpower and materials previously devoted to making "c's" kould be turned toward raising the national standard of living.

    In the fase of so many notable improvements, it is easy to foresee that by 1948, "National Easy Language Week" would be a pronounsed sukses. All skhool tshildren would be looking forward with konsiderable exsitement to the holiday, and in a blaze of national publisity it would be announsed that the double konsonant "ph" no longer existed, and that the sound would henseforth be written "f" in all words, This would make sutsh words as "fonograf" twenty persent shorter in print.

    By 1949, public interest in a fonetik alfabet kan be expekted to have inkreased to the point where a more radikal step forward kan be taken without fear of undue kritisism. We would therefore urge the elimination, at that time of al unesesary double leters, whitsh, although quite harmles, have always ben a nuisanse in the language and a desided deterent to akurate speling. Try it yourself in the next leter you write, and se if both writing and reading are not fasilitated.

    With so mutsh progres already made, it might be posible in 1950 to delve further into the posibilities of fonetik speling. After due konsidera- tion of the reseption aforded the previous steps, it should be expedient by this time to spel al difthongs fonetikaly. Most students do not realize that the long "i" and "y," as in "time" and "by," are aktualy the difthong "ai," as it is writen in "aisle" and that the long "a" in "fate," is in reality the difthong "ei" as in "rein." Although perhaps not imediately aparent, the saving in taime and efort wil be tremendous when we leiter elimineite the sailent "e," as meide posible bai this last tsheinge.

    For, as is wel known, the horible mes of "e's' apearing in our writen language is kaused prinsipaly bai the present nes

  • by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Friday July 05, 2013 @11:25AM (#44194929)

    Of course this assumes every body speaks English, too. Depending on who you listen to, we should be downloading either Spanish keyboards if in the Americas or Mandrian keyboards for everywhere else. Or maybe just leave the keyboard alone. It might be antiquated, but really, the convenience of a "Th" key over all of the muscle memory and fine motor skills involved with the QWERTY keyboard for billions of people? The Dvorak keyboard was supposed to be a better design, too, but it never caught on, eithe.

  • You will be using a tablet with its crippled input capabilities. Because we expect you to consume content, not produce it. On the rare occasions that we want to hear from you, you can tweet us from your cell phone. 140 characters at a time is all we want from you anyway.

  • so I can become rich on the royalties. Yeah, we'll do that for yah!
  • Also, we need keys for 'sh', 'ch', 'gh', 'ing', 'ion', 'tion', 'etc', etc. This could become unwieldly, so we should probably just adopt a system of characters that covers all of the possible phonetic variations. To save time, we could have multiple characters for the same sound, which would imply certain meanings based on context.

    We'd probably end up with thousands of different characters; hopefully the people who make most of our components would be able to adapt.

  • Tech support said to press any key and call them back. I am still searching for the any key. Maybe this fellow can add that to the list of new keys?

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!