A data entry apparatus (
) receives a first character key from a keypad (
). A set of characters associated with the first character key is displayed. A second character key from the keypad (
) is received, wherein a second set of characters is associated with the second character key. A character from the first set of characters is combined with a character from the second set of characters. A set of alternative n-grams is displayed, derived from the step of combining, in descending order based on a probability of frequency of use in a given language. When an alternative n-gram is detected as being actively highlighted, the n-gram is locked to create a locked n-gram and characters associated with subsequent character keys vary in their combinations with respect to the locked n-gram.