Multilingual keyboard maps for X11

Here are keyboard layout definitions for multilingual users who need to input text in various different alphabets. The approach taken here is that your existing keyboard layout remains exactly the same, and the characters for the non-native alphabet are obtained by pressing a modifier key (e.g. ALT) and the phonetically corresponding letter in the Latin alphabet (if it exists).

This kind of solution is extremely practical if you only type very little in the foreign alphabet, and don't want to learn a native keyboard layout first. For the occasional typing of words in the Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, Hebrew or Runic alphabets, this is simple and useful.

Important Note: these mappings are designed to fit for most Latin-based keyboards, but bear in mind that

  1. Some alphabets have more characters than Latin alphabet.
  2. Some mappings are very intuitive (e.g. Greek Alpha, Hebrew Aleph, Arabic Alef, Cyrillic A are mapped onto ALT-[a]), but others can't be (like, e.g. the cyrillic soft sign), and a good mapping for those characters would probably be differ for every keyboard layout, and are best customised.
Hence, customise these keyboard mappings before you use them, so you can really input all the characters you need. All the files here are already prepared with that in mind, and you should find plenty of inactive annotated mappings you might want to use.

Complete Index

You can also simply look at all keyboard maps, and see whether you find something useful.

Loading the keyboard maps

The above keyboard maps can be loaded with a command like:
xmodmap .xmodmap-special2
where .xmodmap-special2 is the name of the keyboard map file, e.g. one of the above.

If you are looking for a way of opening xterms in which you can use those alphabets, you could try my multilingual xterm scripts.