I’ve revived an old web application to help people practice typing Ancient Greek.
Being able to type Greek fluently, diacritics and all, is an often neglected skill for classical and biblical language students but it’s one that is increasingly important whether you’re doing searches, writing essays, editing electronic editions, or just chatting about (or even better, in) Greek online.
A few years ago, I wrote a simple web application to help me practice typing using the built-in Greek - Polytonic input source on macOS. I grouped all the characters (including with full diacritics) into an ordered sequence with 30 stages then wrote a script to find Greek words in the New Testament that only used letters and diacritics appropriate for each stage in the sequence.
Talking to a classics lecturer a couple of weeks ago, he brought up the increasing need for students to be able to type Greek, and I said: “oh, I have a web app for that”. But I realised it needed a bit of polish.
That polish is now done (with some help from my colleague Patrick Altman) and we’ve now launched
The instructions are currently still just for the macOS Greek - Polytonic input source but we’ve put in place some of the framework to support different instructions depending on your operating system and keyboard layout setup. We’ll add new instructions for new keyboard layouts over time.
Even with missing instructions, it should mostly be possible to actual do the timed exercises with any keyboard layout as you are just assessed on the Unicode characters you are producing, not how you produced them on your particular keyboard.
Hopefully, though, this will be a helpful resource to all those who want to be able to type Ancient Greek faster. And we’ll continue to improve it over time, both in terms of instructions for other layouts but also some more features, interesting stats, and fun games.
And there is no reason we can’t extend it to other writing systems too.