Re: odd spelling-checker action

Subject: Re: odd spelling-checker action
From: "Huber, Mike" <mrhuber -at- SOFTWARE -dot- ROCKWELL -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 16 Mar 1998 09:41:11 -0600

Spell checking could be a lot better. I'd like the spell checker on my
email (MS Outlook) to recognize names in my address book (or at least in
the To: field) as valid. I've had email systems insert things like "RE:"
and then complain about those very things.

But I agree that the more serious problem is that the dictionaries are
too wide. I just had one of my reviewers catch me - I skipped a "u" and
turned "value" into "vale." I'm extremely unlikely ever to use the word
"vale" on purpose in a technical context. If it's in a help file it's
almost certainly a slip of the fingers. I'd rather have it caught by the
machine than by a person.

There is a real low-tech version of the AI that Dick suggests: custom

I've toyed with the idea of getting rid of the basic dictionary
altogether, and building a custom dictionary that includes all the words
that appear in my work. The first few pages would be slow going,
clicking Add all the time. But the vocabulary I use at work is pretty
limited (this isn't a practical solution for fiction) so I'm guessing it
wouldn't be long before I had it all entered.

I'd like to be able to flag certain word pairs that are easy to switch.
My head knows the difference between "form" and "from," but my fingers
don't. It would have to be configurable, though. Maybe I'm odd, but "to,
too, two" has never been a problem for me and I'd hate to have to click
OK for those words all the time.

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Dick Margulis [SMTP:ampersandvirgule -at- worldnet -dot- att -dot- net]
>Sent: Saturday, March 14, 1998 12:27 PM
>Subject: Re: odd spelling-checker action
>My theory is this: Given the horsepower we now have on our desktops, it
>should be possible to implement a much smarter approach to spell
>checking. (This is related to, and may turn out to be an extension of,
>the approach used in grammar checkers, which could also use some
>tweaking.) Look in any printed dictionary. Words have multiple meanings
>and where those meanings pertain to a technical field, the lexies have
>conveniently specified that fact.
>I think it would be feasible (any software developers out there
>listening?) to apply some artificial intelligence to catch words that
>are real (that is, they exist in the dictionary) but that are out of
>place (that is, they are unlikely to occur in the midst of all the other
>words in this text). As a first pass, I'm willing--as a user--to click
>menu choices to indicate what field I'm working in (mechanical
>engineering, zoology, metaphysics, whatever), if that helps.
>Has anyone else been thinking along these lines? Know of any work being
>done? Is this way too esoteric a topic for this list?

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