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When I type in a CJK language, I would still like to be able to use emacs key bindings such as M-x, as well as vi keys in evil-mode normal-state. Is there a way to make emacs register the keyboard input as a US keyboard only when a modifier is pressed? Also, maybe more difficult, is there a way to make evil normal state register keypresses in the US keyboard (without manually mapping every single command to its CJK equivalent)?

  • One way to achieve this is to use a US keyboard layout all the time, and use Emacs' input methods to type CJK text (e.g. C-u C-\ chinese-py etc). It would be nice to have Emacs handle this automatically when a non-Latin keyboard layout is selected in the OS, though. – legoscia Jun 11 '15 at 14:59
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You need to select an input method. It will allow you to use, say, a QWERTY keyboard layout for commands, but switch between QWERTY and CJK for inserting text.

The keybinding for toggle-input-method is set to C-\ by default. You can also customize the default-input-method variable.

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