Should You Type Space After Comma? and Tiny Space Bar on Japanese Keyboards

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Apple keyboard Japan
Apple keyboard Japan. Notice the space bar, span about only 3 key spaces. On English Apple keyboard, it spans 5 to 6. 〔➤ Apple Computer Keyboards Gallery & Review

Is Space After Comma Inefficient?

In Chinese or Japanese language, space is rarely used. This is quite interesting linguistically.

For example of Chinese, here's the opening passage of 西游记 (Journey To The West)

诗曰:混沌未分天地乱,茫茫渺渺无人见。自从盘古破鸿蒙,开辟从兹清浊辨。覆载群生仰至仁,发明万物皆成善。欲知造化会元功,须看西游释厄传。

The gap after punctuation is part of the punctuation character. 〔➤ Intro to Chinese Punctuation〕 〔➤ Unicode Full-Width Characters

It's interesting because it's a more efficient syntax. In English, why should you type a space after comma? It's redundant. The comma character itself serves the purpose of pause, and the space or gap serves no semantic purpose, but presentation. The comma character should contain a trailing gap itself, or, the rendering system should automatically render a gap after it. Same with exclamation !, question mark ?, period ., although the period is abused for many purposes. 〔➤ What Does it Means When a Programing Language Claims “Whitespace is Insignificant”?〕 〔➤ Symbol, Semantics, Design: Unicode for “e.g.” (exempli gratia)

You could write a program to convert English punctuation to the equivalent Chinese version,and rid of extra space。For example,this very sentence you are reading,is using Chinese punctuation and there's no space after comma or period。The problem with this is that it goes against convention,and you'll encounter many little problems。For example,search engine might get confused。

Here's a emacs lisp code that lets you convert. Emacs Lisp: Convert Punctuation Between English/Chinese Forms

Similarly, in programing language, often you have style guides on whether to add a space. For example: x=3+4 vs x = 3 + 4, {7,9,10} vs {7, 9, 10}. Software should automatically render the space.

Tiny Space Bar on Japanese Keyboards

Because {Chinese, Japanese} don't use space character much, as a interesting consequence, on Japanese keyboards, the Space bar is tiny.

Japanese keyboards 93624
Japanese keyboards. img src 2304×1728
Japanese keyboard layout
Japanese keyboard layout. img src

the interesting thing about this is that, standard PC keyboard's huge Space bar is really a waste of space. It should be split into at least 3, for {⌫ Backspace, Return ↩, Space}. (the Japanese keyboard breaks it into 4.)

Keyboard Designed with Short Space Bar

Here's a example of a keyboard designed with short space bar, yet isn't Japanese layout.

filco majestouch minila FFKB67MEB 80966
Filco Majestouch Minila. (Cherry MX Brown switch) amazon

For more keyboards with short space bar, see:

See also: Keyboards without Numeric Keypad.

thanks to Jaehyun Yeom for telling me that Korean do use space a lot.

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