Naija Type

Created with Sketch.

In the past it’s been hard to type Nigerian languages correctly on systems, tablets and handsets but no more. Here’s a free keyboard you can install on all your devices to make it really easy to type hooked letters, special vowels, letters with accents, underlines and underdots and more. Naija Type: An Android Keyboard for typing many Nigerian languages.

Press and hold to show alternative letters then move to the letter you like and release.

Download the Android App

Or find Naija Type on Google Play (updates may lag a few days).

Alternatively – for iOS, Windows and Mac

Install Keyman (iOS, Windows, Mac) then download and install the keyboard:

Optional Dictionaries

For predictive completion of text:

Zipped versions:

Install on Android

  1. Browse to this page on your Android handset/tablet
  2. Or find Naija Type on Google Play (updates may lag a few days)
    • Install it, enable it and open it to activate the keyboards.

Install on iPhone/iPad, Windows or Mac

Then download the kmp file above and use Keyman to install the keyboard.

On a touch device, add the dictionary files you want from above.


How to type

On touch devices (tablets, phones) get special letters by holding down a long time on a key then slide over to the symbol you want (don’t lift your finger). The q key contains some combining characters to go above or below whatever you previously typed. The full stop/period key contains lots of punctuation.

How to type on handsets with Naija Type: demonstrating Ishɛ and Hausa

On desktop/laptop type a letter similar to what you want and then type the semicolon key to change its shape. Keep pressing semicolon for more options. Add marks above vowels and some consonants by typing the top left key (`) in a similar way, and add a ~ over a letter by typing the base letter first then typing shift-~.

Demo video for typing on Windows/Mac and on touch devices with the Naija Type keyboard. Includes brief guide to installation on Windows too. Includes subtitles in case my voice is difficult.

Built with KeyMan and Keyboard App Builder.


Get in touch

I can’t guarantee a response, but if you have observations and suggestions please write to me at naijatype@m.rowbory.co.uk.

Could someone help me explain this helpfully in Hausa or Yòrúbà? I’m not meaning a direct translation from the English here but think through how you would help explain to a Hausa reader what to do. Get in touch if you have ideas.

Known issues

  • Typing and predictive text in the App gets slower and slower for longer documents. Keyman 14.0.277 fixes the issue. Until Keyboard App Builder is updated with the latest Keyman, the Android app will be slower than using Keyman.
  • When upgrading a keyboard sometimes it seems the new languages don’t show predictive text; I don’t know why. Try removing Keyman and reinstalling.
  • Large languages like English have a 20-25s pause while the lexical model is loaded for predictive text.
  • Due to this bug/unfortunate Keyman behaviour, the letters on the keyboard may appear too big if your phone’s system font size is set too large. Sorry if this affects you; again I have to wait for the wonderful Keyman people to help fix that.
  • The @ key isn’t as accessible as you might like when typing email addresses.
  • Some Google Play screenshots are outdated.

Alternatives?

If you find Keyman doesn’t work for some reason, try this InKey installation:

  • Decompress it.
  • Put the folder on your desktop or a flash drive.
  • Open the folder.
  • Look for the InKey application (inkey.exe) file and run that.
  • Double-tap control key to activate and switch keyboards.
  • Type in a similar way to Naija Type. But you have to switch between 3 different keyboards.

Ideas for future development

  • Suggest or supply apostrophes automatically in English and Hausa?
  • Make English capitalise suggested words where appropriate.

Release notes

  • 1.8.3 (Keyboard 30)
    • Corrected several touch keyboard bugs associated with typing whitespace at the end of a sentence.
    • Improved the case handling of all dictionaries.
    • Numerous other little fixes.
  • Keyboard 29
    • Corrected bug that prevented nasal and tone from fixing onto underline and underdot letters.
  • Keyboard 28
    • Major rewrite to the physical keyboard layer to make it behave better and be easier to maintain.
      • Rotations through multiple variations of shapes allowed before the underline and underdot versions.
      • Better handling of shift around the end of sentences.
    • Added u-bar characters to touch and physical keyboards
    • Still waiting for a crucial Keyboard App Builder update to incorporate a very significant Keyman 14.0.277 performance update. Then I’ll build a new App. For now the best performance you can get is to install Keyman and the keyboard files above separately.
  • 1.8.1 (Keyboard 27)
    • Bug fixes and sizing tweaks on the bottom row of the keyboard.
  • 1.8 (Keyboard 26, Revised lexical models based on KeyMan developer 13)
    • Keyboard visual styles updated so iPhone matches Android
    • Added missing nasals (on long press)
    • Bug fixes.
  • 1.7.8 (Keyboard 23, + Duya 1.0, Nyankpa 1.0, Pangu 1.2)
    • Doesn’t capitalise immediately on full stop for a better URL experience.
    • Various appearance improvements.
    • Retitled Close Keyman to Close Naija Type.
    • Added Duya and Nyankpa.
    • Corrected missing Andika font.
    • Added / to punctuation popup.
  • 1.7.2 (Naija Type Keyboard 20, Fulfulde 1.0, English 1.0, Pangu 1.1, Ishɛ 1.2, Hausa 1.2)
    • Light design (let me know if you like it or not) with less clutter
    • Fulfulde
    • Keyboard switching button restored
    • Updated documentation
    • Improved keyboard descriptions (for predictive text)
    • Available on Google Play
  • 1.5 (Naija Type Keyboard 16, English 1.0, Pangu 1.1, Ishɛ 1.2, Hausa 1.2)
    [28 April 2021]
    • Better punctuation handling:
      • Double space to do period/full-stop + space.
      • Space + ! turns into ! + space and same with comma and ? because a space is added at the end of a suggested word. This allows us to type the punctuation without ending up with spaces in the wrong place.
    • Moved the long-press space bar close option to the middle.
  • 1.4.1 (Naija Type Keyboard 15, English 1.0, Pangu 1.1, Ishɛ 1.2, Hausa 1.2)
    [26 April 2021]
    • Added English. Now predictive text includes Ishɛ, Pangu, Hausa and English.
    • Changed the menu button (long press on space bar)
  • 1.4
    [26 April 2021]
    • Predictive text includes Ishɛ, Pangu, Hausa.
    • Numerous corrections (thanks, James M)
    • Emoji
  • 1.3
    • Removed the globe icon and moved it to a long press on space bar option.
  • 1.2
    [22 April 2021]
    • Moved comma to left of keyboard.
  • 1.1
    [21 April 2021]

Older versions

Sources

Naijatype on Github. Get in touch if you have suggestions or just fork the project. Sorry documentation is slightly lacking.

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