Multilingual keyboard dyslexia

Over the last few years, I have moved from a French keyboard at work and at home to an Irish/UK keyboard at work and later at home, then back to a French one. Now I have an old net book at home with an Irish keyboard, a slightly more recent computer with a French keyboard and at work, I use a laptop with a Luxembourgish keyboard.

I used to be able to touch type. It was one of the most useful things that I learned at uni. When I moved to Ireland it got tricky, but in the end, switching from AZERTY to QWERTY and back became a minor annoyance. After all I do it on my phone every few minutes, to prevent the autocorrect from making me talk roubles. Rubbish. Whatever.

Over the last month, I have probably spent more time looking for one of the long list characters on my work keyboard, and even at home, than I have spent typing.

I had been warned, but as I sat there on my first day, already taking in the vast amount of new information that comes with the beginning of a new job, I couldn’t work out the logic behind the QWERTZWTF keyboard. It’s like all the worst bits of the QWERTY and the AZERTY had been mixed together. How on earth could anyone make sense of it?


Gradually a theory began to form. Here is how I think it happened.

Once upon a time, the very first computer in Luxembourg was installed in the Grand Duke’s office. He had probably badgered the Grand Duchess about getting one until she gave in, making him promise that he would not only use it but take proper care of it. But before he could use it, his beloved Dachshund/Great Dane/Alsatian (no idea what kind of dog he has) decided to maul the keyboard, chew it up and then proceeded to throw up dribble-coated keys all over the Persian carpet.

The poor Grand Duke then had to rush around with sheets of kitchen roll picking up and cleaning off the keys, ramming them randomly back into the keyboard before the Grand Duchess came back from getting her hair done.

Of course, to ensure that HRH his wife would never find out that he had messed up his prized possession, and being the Grand Duke and all, he then had all the other keyboards in the Grand Duchy changed to look like his.

I can’t think of any other logical explanation.

(I know it’s a Swiss/German keyboard and all that, but facts just aren’t as much fun as making stuff up. Just ask any licensed homeopath.)

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