Content-type: text/html Man page of phrase


Section: User Commands (1)
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phrase - Manages databases used with the phrase input method  


phrase [-user class|-system class]



The phrase command is used with the following options only to download phrase data to the VT382-D Traditional Chinese terminal. For this terminal, phrase input is supported directly by hardware. See DESCRIPTION for more information. Download the phrase information for the specified class from the system phrase database to a Chinese terminal. Download the phrase information of the given class from the user phrase database to a Chinese terminal.


The phrase input method is supported in the Korean, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese environments. Phrase input is a shorthand input method that automatically converts a keyword into a phrase. An English text example would be to map the keyword dec to the phrase Digital Equipment Corporation. In this case, when a user enters dec in phrase input mode, Digital Equipment Corporation immediately appears on the screen.

Phrase input is supported by either hardware (specific Asian terminals) or software. For the VT382-D Traditional Chinese terminal, phrase data must be explicitly downloaded to the terminal. When entered with either the -user or -system option, the phrase command performs the download operation for this terminal.


For other Asian terminals in the VT382 family, phrase input is supported through the SIM service. For these terminals, the stty command both enables the SIM service and also specifies the set of phrase information to be used with the phrase input method. See stty(1) for more information.

For the DECwindows Motif or CDE environments, phrase input is supported through the input method server. In these graphical user interface environments, the phrase input method is enabled through the input method application. Using the SIM service with terminal emulators in these environments is not recommended because the SIM service uses the 26th line of a terminal screen. Terminal emulator windows do not contain a 26th line.

Without options, the phrase command invokes the utility that manages and maintains the database that is used with the phrase input method. By using this utility, you can add and modify phrase keywords and the corresponding phrase strings in the database. You create keyword/phrase mappings within the context of phrase classes, which you can also create through the utility.

Phrase Database Contents and Locations

This section describes the entities that the phrase utility creates and manages and the locations of phrase databases on the system.

A phrase, or phrase definition, is a combination of graphic characters in the range of hexadecimal values 0x20-0x7e and 0xa1-0xfe. The length of a phrase definition can range from 1 to 80 bytes.

Each phrase is associated with a keyword, or phrase name, which is a string of English alphanumeric characters. The length of a phrase name is limited to 8 or fewer bytes.

A class is a group of related phrases. Each class is identified by a class name. This name must be unique, must contain only ASCII printable characters, and is limited to a length of 8 or fewer bytes.

Regardless of whether phrase input is being supported by hardware or software, recognition of phrase names and conversion of phrase names to phrases is done only within the context of a particular phrase class. Therefore, phrases are always added, deleted, or modified in a class-specific operation.

There are two kinds of phrase databases: systemwide and user specific. There is only one systemwide phrase database and this is created and maintained by the system manager when logged in as root. Non-privileged users have only read access to the systemwide phrase database. On the other hand, each user can create and maintain a personal phrase database. A user can access another user's personal phrase database only by using a copy operation (assuming file protections allow this). In other words, a user cannot directly use the phrase input method with the private phrase database of another user.

A system or user phrase database is actually a set of locale-specific databases. Phrase data files for different locales reside in different subdirectories of the same base directory. (The base directory depends on whether the phrase database is systemwide or user specific.) In each locale subdirectory, two files, phrase.dat and class.dat, contain the phrase database information for that locale.

The base directory locations of the system and user phrase databases are determined by the sim service entry in the /var/i18n/conf/cp_dirs file. This is true even when the phrase input method is not being supported by the SIM service. See cp_dirs(4) for more details about this file.

Menu User Interface

When the phrase utility is invoked without any options, it enters into a menu-driven mode. In this mode, you select the appropriate menu option to make the utility perform a particular function.

The main menus appear on a horizontal bar at the top of the screen. Selecting some items on a menu may display a submenu from which you then select a function. In the upper right corner of the screen is the name of the current database, which can be USER or SYSTEM, and the name of the current phrase class.

When a menu option is highlighted, it can be selected by pressing the Return key or the space bar. If the highlighted option is not the one you want, you can highlight another option (if any) by pressing the arrow key or a hot key. The hot key is shown within parenthesis () or as an underlined letter. You can return from the current set of menu options to the previous menu or exit the utility altogether by pressing Ctrl/X.

The following list summarizes the options on each main menu. Options followed by an asterisk (*) produce submenus in which you choose either the system or user database.

FILE Copy from Database (*) Load to Terminal (*) Exit

CLASS Create a class (*) View phrase in a class (*) Rename a class (*) Delete a class (*) Select current class (*)

PHRASE Create phrase Modify phrase Delete phrase

LANGUAGE Local language English

Functional Behaviour

When invoked without options, the phrase command runs the phrase utility rather than attempting to download data to a VT382-D terminal. The phrase utility automatically accesses the appropriate default database (systemwide for the root account and user for non-privileged users). If this database does not exist, the utility will create the database from data entered during the utility session.

Before invoking the utility, make sure that your locale setting is the correct one for the phrases that you plan to enter. Refer to Chinese(5) and Korean(5) for names of appropriate locales. Refer to locale(1) for information about setting locale.

When using the phrase utility, you must first set the class name. By default, the class name is set to DEFAULT. However, you can choose a different class name by selecting the ``Select current class'' item of the Class Maintenance menu.

The phrase utility supports a number of housekeeping functions. For the following descriptions, remember that database ownership is determined by user identity; only the root account owns the system database. You can create a phrase database entry by specifying a phrase name and a corresponding phrase definition. The phrase entry is created in the database that you own and in the database subdirectory determined by the current locale setting. The phrase belongs to the class that is currently set.

Duplicate phrase names are not allowed within a given class, but phrases in different classes can have the same phrase name. In the database that you own, you can modify phrase definitions but not phrase names. (You can delete a phrase and recreate it to associate a new name with a particular phrase.) You can delete phrases in the current class from the database that you own. You can create classes in the database that you own by selecting the ``Create a class'' item on the CLASS menu and selecting either the user or the system database to work with. Then you can enter a new class name and start to specify the names and definitions of the phrases to belong to this class. You can delete classes from the database that you own. You can copy phrases from another user's database or the system database to your own user database. To copy phrases, select the ``Copy from Database'' item on the FILE menu. If you choose to copy from another user's database, you must enter the absolute path to the base directory of that user's database. If the specified path includes a valid database to which you have read access, a class selection menu is displayed from which you can choose the classes you want to copy. If the names of the classes to be copied are in conflict with existing classes in your own database, you are offered the option to rename the current conflicting classes. If conflicting classes are not renamed, the phrases that they contain are not copied.


The following information applies to Chinese terminals that use the SIM service for phrase input support.

For most users, when the phrase utility is used to update the phrase database, the appropriate simd daemon is notified of the database update. However, this notification mechanism does not work in a distributed environment. In other words, when the updated phrase database on a remote system is mounted on the local system through NFS, the daemon on the local system is not notified of the update.

To work around this problem, the local user can enter the following command to stop and restart the simd daemon so that it can access the changed remote database:

% stty -sim % stty sim

In order for these commands to work, no other users on the local system can be using the SIM service to access the remote phrase database when the commands are entered.


Commands:  locale(1), stty(1), simd(8)

Files:  atty(7), cp_dirs(4)

Others:  Chinese(5), Korean(5), sim(5)



Phrase Database Contents and Locations
Menu User Interface
Functional Behaviour

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Time: 02:43:05 GMT, October 02, 2010