Re: Marilynne's Remark about SpellChecks

Subject: Re: Marilynne's Remark about SpellChecks
From: Gwen Gall <ggall -at- CA -dot- ORACLE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 1994 14:41:55 EDT

In-Reply-To: CNSEQ1:TECHWR-L -at- VM1 -dot- ucc -dot- okstate -dot- edu's message of 07-20-94 03:47

Marilynne says:

"I am fascinated! Do some of you really consider a word processor's spell
checker as authoritative as a respected dictionary? I tend to think of
spell checkers as slightly retarded and easily led."

Spell checkers are only as infallible as the people who write them, just as
is true of any computer program (and any dictionary for that matter).

The question is, is the source reliable? I am more likely to trust the inform-
ation I receive in the Unabridged Oxford English Dictionary (including the
version on CD-ROM--if I could afford it!), than an add-on spell checker to
a word processing program. I suspect the lexicographers who contriuted to
the former have a little more respect in the field than those who worked on
the WordPerfect one. (Not to single WP out, but it's the one I've used the
most, and I've come across some doozies of spelling errors!)

Does any UNIX user remember the "spell" command? Written by programmers...
and compiled by them...

As for "authoritative", I guess what I'm saying is that we have to use the
same judgement for our spell-checking programs as we use for our other
"authorities"--question their authority!


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