An important skill you will need for the AP Japanese and Chinese exams is keyboarding. If you are too slow on the keyboard, you will not get the score you deserve. Typing Japanese and Chinese is fun so get started now and be ready on exam day! Here’s how to set up your existing English Linux, Windows or Macintosh computer.
Your Existing Computer Is All You Need
If your computer works with a relatively recent version of Linux, MacOS or Windows operating system, it should work fine with any language, including Japanese and Chinese. While the instructions follow emphasize Japanese, setting up Chinese is very similar.
The AP test is given on Windows. Go ahead and practice typing Japanese or Chinese on your usual operating system, but you should at least briefly try typing Japanese or Chinese on Windows, just to make sure you know all the Windows bind keys (shortcut keys) you need.
Set Up Japanese on Apple Macintosh MacOS
As with most everything in MacOS, setting up Japanese is easy. Just follow Christopher Bolton’s Japanese for Your Mac.
Set Up Japanese and Chinese on Microsoft Windows
IME (Input Method Editor) is the feature that allows you to type Japanese and Chinese on your English version of Windows. The web is full of fine articles that will help you set up Microsoft IME. I thought these were good:
- Windows 7:
- Declan Software Guide to Installing the Japanese IME has instructions for Windows 7, plus virtually every other Windows version
- Windows XP:
- College Board’s official Installation Guide for AP Chinese & Japanese is obviously a good choice
- Super straightforward installing the Japanese IME on Windows XP, by a Dartmouth student
- Windows XP might ask you for a Windows XP installation disk when you try to install files for East Asian languages. If you have the disk, use it. If not, here’s how to install East Asian languages without the DVD/CD-ROM on these early Windows XP versions.
- Windows NT, Windows Me, Windows 95:
- Declan Software Guide to Installing the Japanese IME has instructions for virtually every Windows version
Set Up Japanese and Chinese on Linux
At our house we type virtually all our Japanese on Linux and it works just great.
For other Linux distributions like Ubuntu, my guide to using Japanese and Chinese Input Method on Fedora Linux is probably accurate enough, but I have not tested it. See Scott Robbins’ Inputting Japanese text in Linux and some BSDs for specific details on how to install Japanese language input on other Linux distributions and BSD UNIX.
Korean Is Even Cooler
Typing Japanese and Chinese rules, but Korean is even cooler. Just for fun, check out how Korean Hangul characters are built up from alphabetic letters just as 漢字 are assembled from 辺. This video shows how the Korean letters squish together as they are typed.
Image “With Students in Tokyo 1961″ by Robert Huffstutter.
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