Nuosu Yi Characters in Android


Android systems can use MultiLing keyboard (free) by Honso, along with its add-on modules, MyAlpha and Plugin Yi, to type Yi characters. This provides a full input solution, and a partial display solution. This does not require root access to the Android system.

After installation MultiLing Keyboard will lead you through the next steps: Enable MultiLing, Switch IME to MultiLing, Download Plug-ins, Enable Languages, and Set Keyboard settings. Then restart Android and you should be able to type and read Nuosu Yi characters in notes, text messages, etc. as long as you continue to use MultiLing. But if you switch to another input program the Nuosu Yi characters will appear as boxes until MultiLing is active again.


To get “always on” display of Nuosu Yi characters on Android, one of the system fonts called DroidSans.ttf or DroidSansFallback.ttf must be replaced with a font that can display the Nuosu Yi characters. This requires root access to the Android system.

1. Get root access for read and write to /system/fonts/ in your Android system, where the Android system fonts are located.
2. Backup the existing fonts DroidSans.ttf and DroidSansFallback.ttf to a safe place in case you need to revert to them later.
2. Choose replacement .ttf font(s) and copy the files to a working directory.
3. Rename the replacement font(s) to DroidSans.ttf and/or DroidSansFallback.ttf as appropriate .
4. Copy renamed font(s) to /system/fonts/ replacing the existing file(s).
5. Restart the Android system.

Chinese and Yi characters together

Most people who want to read or write Nuosu Yi language also want to read and write Chinese language. This will require simultaneous font coverage.

To get both Chinese and Yi characters, substitute NuosuSIL.ttf for DroidSans.ttf. This will provide glyphs for Latin codepoints and Nuosu Yi codepoints. The serif typeface is not ideal, but it provides the desired functionality. The default DroidSansFallback.ttf will continue to provide glyphs for Chinese codepoints.

© SIL International and Southwest University for Nationalities.