Monday, August 28, 2006

Using the Korean Language Bar [AKA Windows Language Bar IME]

Category: [Learning Language Korean]

This lesson is intended to dive into typing Korean into your computer, even if it seems a little pre-mature as the letters and vocabulary have yet to be discussed. If you want, you can skip ahead to more modern articles (as they are posted) and return when you want to write a comment or email. This builds off the last lesson where the Korean Language was set up on your computer. If you've not done that, please check here and follow the instructions to prepare for this lesson.

As I alluded to before, I have the keyboard layout memorized, so don't be alarmed if you don't understand why I say to type what we'll type just humor me and go along with it. I recommend purchasing Korean character stickers to put on your laptop or desktop keyboard. These Korean Keyboard Stickers will speed your learning and always be there for reference. Separately, I'll diagram out what the Korean keyboard layout looks like as an image on this website in case you want to do a homemade style or do some Alt-Tabbing...

Now it's time to begin typing. Open Notepad using one of the following two methods (1. Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Notepad, You may need to click on the arrows if Windows automatically hid it on you) [2. Start -> Run -> Type Notepad and click OK].

You may find on your screen the language bar. It may be in a minimized state, so check whether you have the appearance similar to the first or second picture below.

english_bar     english_button

You may find the first near the top of the screen or in a different language. You may also find the second at the bottom of the screen near the clock. If you see the second, you should click on it and choose "Show the language bar" from the menu.

You should see the bar along the top of the screen and saying English. Please click on where it says English and you will see a list of the languages installed before. Click on Korean and you will see a bar similar to the image below (A shortcut for doing that is to hold down the left Shift key and press the left ALT key).


This bar consists of eight parts and they'll be discussed from the elft side to the right. The first part of those alternating dots is an area you can click and drag to move the bar. If you want to reposition it, please do so now. The second part is the current language selected. In this case it is Korean. The third part is the current entry method. By default Windows will install only one for this language, so clicking it is not an exciting feat. The fourth part is the current language entry. it will say A for english and 가 for Korean. The fifth part where it says Hanja is a conversion tool to change a Korean word to a traditional Chinese character. The sixth part is a pad where you can draw the character and select it from a list to type. A later lesson will teach you the drawing order for Korean characters. The seventh part with the '?' is the help system. The last part allows you to minimize the bar to the task bar near the system clock or to access the control panel language settings easily.

Now in notepad and using the Korean language bar, make sure it says 가 near the Han/Eng. If it does not you can click on it or use the hotkey to change the language quickly by pressing the ALT key to the right of the spacebar. I recommend using a larger font in notepad to see clearly, you can access that from the format menu and the font item in that menu.

Type r then type n then type r. As you type you will notice the character stays highlighted. This enables you to combine the characters, usually Korean uses 3 but other common configurations are 2 and 4. If you followed the above closely you will see 국 and it is still highlighted. This is pronounced "Gook" and means Country.

To see the Traditional Chinese version of the word Country you can now click the Hanja area of the bar and it will show a bar with choices to select. The first one, 國, is the Chinese character for Country. Please select it.

Now you can play around on the keyboard to see which characters are where, until I give a later lesson on what the Korean keyboard layout looks like. Additionally, to simplify your Korean typing life, you may wish to use these Korean Keyboard Stickers. Take care!


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