19 October 2005

French keyboards and other fun things in the BNF

I'm sitting in the Département de la Musique at the Bibliothèque Nationale (BNF) right now, resting my brain. The weather just turned foul, grey and rainy--thankfully, here we have skylights so we actually get some sunlight! (At the new site of the BNF, called the Site Tolbiac or the Site François-Mitterand, all of the reading rooms are about 40 feet underground.)

While resting, I thought I'd explain part of Amy's complaint about the French keyboard (only part, since I don't think they're that bad, especially when typing in French). Anyhoo, here are the important differences between American and French keyboards--

The A and Q keys are reversed
The W and Z keys are reversed
The numbers across the top require the shift key
The "punctuation" on the number keys across the top goes like this: & é " ' ( - è _ ç à (yes, that means the apostrophe is on the 4 key.
The M key is to the right of the L key
To the right of the N key are , ; : ! (pushing shift provides ? . / §)

There is also the "Alt Gr" key (not to be confused with the "Alt" key), which provides a third option for some keys--most importantly enabling € and @

So, all in all, not so bad, as long as you dont't mind looking at the keyboard when you type. Take that my 7th grade typing teacher whose name I've forgotten!


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