Fingerspelling!

How To Spell Words Out

The previous lessons have introduced many different sounds, all of which correspond to letters of the alphabet. Plover mostly uses these to create chords for typing whole words. But you can also use them if you just want to spell a word out letter by letter. The trick is to only use the left side of the keyboard except for vowels, and add the * key to each chord.

For example, to spell out the word 'plover', you would stroke P*, then HR*, then O* then SR*, then *E, then R*.

To capitalize any letter, add the -P key on the right side of the keyboard.

To spell out 'Plover', you would stroke P*P, then HR*, then O*, then SR*, then *E, then R*. And to spell out 'VIP', you would stroke SR*P, then *EUP, then P*P.

The Missing Letters

Some letters haven't been covered yet, because other phonemes include their sounds. For example, the letter "c" only makes the sounds of 's' and 'k', so it doesn't have its own regular chord.

Here is how to fingerspell the remaining few English letters:

  • "c": KR* (the KR chord is also used to disambiguate homophonic words that are spelled with 'c'; for example, 'cite' is stroked KRAOEUT because 'sight' already has the SAOEUT stroke, and 'site' has the SAO*EUT stroke).
  • "C": KR*P
  • "q": KW*
  • "Q": KW*P
  • "x": KP*
  • "X": KP*P

You might think the letter "z" would be fingerspelled S*, since this is how the 'z' sound is stroked in full words. But the letter "s" already uses the S* stroke in fingerspelling, so we also need a chord for the letter "z".

  • "z": STKPW*
  • "Z": STKPW*P

As you'll see, fingerspelling is very useful when creating your own dictionary entries. You may also use fingerspelling for proper names like 'Villa Villekulla' and other things that you don't plan to use enough times to warrant their own dictionary entry. You should practice fingerspelling until proper names aren't too much of an inconvenience to type.

One can also use fingerspelling in conjunction with chording. For example, to do 'Brexit' one could fingerspell 'B', fingerspell 'r', use TK-LS to remove a space, and then chord 'exit'.

One could also add proper nouns or other words to the dictionary from within Plover or by editing a JSON file (see Appendix: The Dictionary Format). See also this blog post which describes a method to speed up adding words to the dictionary.