When I was in Iceland, I was immensely pleased when the good people at the Mac store showed me how to get my American Mac to use an Icelandic keyboard. There are a few unfortunate things missing from the Icelandic keyboard that necessitates me sometimes switching back over to the English keyboard, namely the brackets. Although my brain has mostly accustomed to knowing where the punctuation marks are on each keyboard, it is still strange switching back and forth.

I was telling my dissertation advisor about switching between keyboards, so he showed me how to get English Extended set up, and how to use it. That keyboard has the advantage of keeping all punctuation keys in the place I am used to them, and the commands for the special characters are really easy to remember - alt+t for þ for instance. As the name suggests, it takes what I already know, and adds in the additional characters I need, without me having to conceive of two entirely different keyboards.

I also have a Spanish keyboard set up on this Mac for some reason I do not remember (why the heck would anyone do that, seriously?). Accidentally hitting that really confuses me, since the same key then goes from being ; (English) to æ (Icelandic) to ñ (Spanish).

I do not imagine very many people switch between keyboards, and I have to say, generally speaking, it would be better not to.


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