A Study on the Keyboard of Jawi Script (Arabic-Malay Script)
Malay society is rooted on the Islamic concept. That Islam influenced every corner of that Malay society which had ever been an edge of the civilizations of the Indus and Ganges. Once the letters of that Hindu religion namely Sanscrit was adopted to this Malay society for the purpose of getting the Malay language, that is, Bahasa Melayu down to the practical literation but in vain.
The Sanscrit was too complicated for Malay society to imitate and put it into practice in everyday life because it was totally different type of letters which has many of the similar allographs for a sound. In the end Malay society gave it up and just used the Malay language without using any letters for herself.
After a few centuries Islam entered this Malay society with taking Arabic letters. It was not merely influencing Malay cultures, but to the religious life according to wide spread of that Islam.
Finally Arabic letters was to the very means that Malay language was written by. It means that Arabic letters had been used for Arabic language in former times, but it became a similar form of letters for a new language which was named as Malay language.
This Arabic letters for Arabic language has no problems whereas Arabic letters for Malay language has some of it. Naturally speaking, arabic letters was not designed for any other language but just for Arabic language itself. On account of this, there occurred a few problems in writing Malay consonants, just like p, ng, g, c, ny and v. These 6 letters could never be written down in Arabic letters. Those 6 ones were never known before in trying to pronounce by Arab people. Therefore, Malay society had only to modify a few new forms of letters for these 6 letters which had frequently been found in their own Malay sounds. As a result, pa was derived from fa, nga was derived from ain, ga was derived from kaf, ca was derived from jim, nya was derived from tha or ba, and va was derived from wau itself.
Where must these 6 newly modified letters be put on this Arabic keyboard? This is the very core of this working paper.
As a matter of course, these 6 letters were put on the place where 6 Arabic signs which were scarecely written in Malay language. Those 6 are found when they are used only in the ‘shift-key-using-letters.’ These newly designed 6 letters were put instead of the original places of fatha, kasra, damma, sukun, tanween and so on.
The main differences between the 2 set of 6 letters are this: 6 in Arabic orginal keyboard are only signs for Arabic letters, on the other hand 6 Malay’s are real letters. In others words, 6 newly modified Malay letters were substituted for unused 6 Arabic signs in Malay keyboard.
This type of newly designed Malay Jawi Script keyboard is still used in Malaysia, Brunei and some other Malay countries.
But this sort of keyboard also needs to go forward to find out another way of keyboard system which is in accordance with the alphabetically ordered keyboard system. It means that alif is going to be typed for A key, and zai shall be typed when Z key is pressed.
This keyboard system is called ‘Malay Jawi-English Rumi matching keyboard system’, even though this system should probably be inconvenient for Malay Jawi experts who are good at Arabic ‘alif-ba-ta’order.