Microsoft plans dialect spell checker

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Microsoft plans dialect spell checker

GLOBAL - Microsoft is asking users to log-on to its Dialect website or send an email to dialect@microsoft.com as part of its bid to keep regional language alive in the Office spell checker.

The idea came from Microsoft Australia which has compiled its own dictionary of Australian slang. The scheme closes shortly and a dialect-inclusive spell checker will be available in July if all goes to plan.

Microsoft hopes that the initiative will be a boon to users who have had correct words underlined by an overenthusiastic spell checker that only speaks London English.

The company describes the idea as an attempt to be more inclusive so that everyone gets the chance to personalise their own software.

It is not as straightforward as submitting a word to see whether it gets in, however, as Microsoft will be on the lookout for spoofers and people coining dubious neologisms.

Microsoft has enlisted the aid of the British Library in compiling and authenticating all the new words that are submitted.

Some regions have been faster than others in coming forward with contributions. Devon and Cornwall have been particularly strong, whereas Cambridge appears to be lagging behind.

For this reason, among others, Microsoft has extended its original deadline of the end of May.

The UK has a particularly rich seam of slang and localised language, with some identical words having different meanings in different regions.

The regional dictionaries should be available to download in July.
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