1 2 3 4 Previous Next 50 Replies Latest reply: Nov 15, 2013 9:39 AM by David Neale1 Go to original post
  • 30. Re: British English Mail spell check
    Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (71,730 points)

    David Neale1 wrote:

     

    Glad to see this thread has become active again!

     

    It is a bind that "traveling" and other such Americanisms are not flagged as spelling errors when British English has been selected as the language of choice.

     

    I wonder if the British English dictionary you can install from the OpenOffice set is better in this regard.  If so, that might be an easier fix than getting Apple's dictionary improved...

  • 31. Re: British English Mail spell check
    David Neale1 Level 1 Level 1 (70 points)

    fane_j wrote:

     

    Which other Americanisms? Let's make a list.

     

    Here are some to be going on with:

     

    • thru
    • traveled traveler traveling
    • analog catalog dialog

     

     

    But, as you say, "they won't take a blind bit of notice."

  • 32. Re: British English Mail spell check
    David Neale1 Level 1 Level 1 (70 points)

    Tom Gewecke wrote:

     

    I wonder if the British English dictionary you can install from the OpenOffice set is better in this regard.  If so, that might be an easier fix than getting Apple's dictionary improved...

     

    That's an interesting suggestion, Tom. I don't know much about OpenOffice, so are you talking about the dictionaries listed at

     

    http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/en/dictionaries

     

    Are these available for use by anything other than OpenOffice itself? (It would be great if they are, as I see there is even a Welsh dictionary included.) I tried downloading the "English" dictionary and it is a file with the .oxt extension.

  • 33. Re: British English Mail spell check
    Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (71,730 points)

    David Neale1 wrote:

     

    Are these available for use by anything other than OpenOffice itself?

     

    Yes, see

     

    http://m10lmac.blogspot.com/2011/06/extra-spell-checking-dictionaries-for.html

  • 34. Re: British English Mail spell check
    David Neale1 Level 1 Level 1 (70 points)

    M10LMAC: excellent, many thanks!

  • 35. Re: British English Mail spell check
    Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (71,730 points)

    David Neale1 wrote:

     

    I see there is even a Welsh dictionary included.

     

    PS At the bottom of this page is I think some Welsh spelling and dictionary stuff for Mac (but not sure):

     

    http://www.cysgliad.com/default.aspx

  • 36. Re: British English Mail spell check
    owf Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    > But my Mac OS X doesn't. So your thesis seems to totter upon a single leg.

     

     

    Indeed it does: OS X does a good job of it. It may be a single leg, but it's the biggest leg, and the newest leg. And to my mind, that looks like Apple going backwards.

     

     

    > Are we talking here language or decimal separator? They're not quite the same thing. And, AFAICT, Excel is no different from Numbers in this respect. It seems to me that you want per document localisation settings. Fair enough, but the fact that Mac OS X lacks this feature does not mean that "internationalisation" is not understood. If I don't drive a Porsche Carrera it's not because I don't understand driving!

     

     

    Decimal separators: I couldn't really care less which language the UI is in. And, AFAIK, you're right: Excel behaves in the same way as Numbers (at least on OS X). Still, "Microsoft does it this way" has never really been an acceptable justification for best practices, has it? OpenOffice gets this one thing right, however (unlike so many other things on OS X, unfortunately).

     

     

    I've no idea what you're getting at with the Porsche Carrera. A right-hand drive only Rolls Royce, perhaps (but we drive on the left in England!) You're obviously multilingual, so you know as well as I do that language/format settings belong at the document level, if not lower. Apple's system-wide spell checker does an acceptable (for my simple purposes) job of this (paragraph level, as you say), but Numbers' inability to handle document formats that differ from the system ones is, in my eyes, a grievous design flaw.

     

     

    If you don't understand that people work with foreign-language documents, and that "foreign-language" actually means a lot more than just a different language, you don't understand internationalisation. It's as simple as that.

     

    > So would I. But the fact that the spell checker doesn't flag 'traveling' even when British English is selected suggests to me that there is a bug or omission in the British English spelling dict, not that the "system is basically broken". The omission suggestion is reinforced by the fact that 'modeling' and 'marvelous' are flagged.

     

    Interesting. I must admit, I haven't tested the system in any kind of depth because I already know that it's not working properly, as I have British English as my preferred language and the OS always wants to change it to US English.

     

     

     

     

    > Really? No more than a bit of statistical analysis?

     

     

    Basically, yes. What you do is start off with a corpus or database for each language your system understands (derived from analyses of many thousands of texts). You can do this by looking for common words or, doing a bit more work, look at the combinations of letters and/or the frequency of letters. For example, if you come up with the word "a" or "I", chances are it's English. If you find a "y", Spanish; an "à", French.

     

     

    I'm a novice in this aspect of programming, but this is something I've used in my own code because it's a problem that was solved long ago, and you can find very good algorithms with Google. You feed it some text and it gives you a language and a certaintly between 0 and 1 (i.e. 0% and 100%).

     

     

    The fault has nothing to do with *really* hard computing problems, but with a mistake in the simple-but-not-easy decision-making algorithm, which Apple is normally so incredibly good at.

     

     

    > Then could you please employ the respective bit of statistical analysis and tell me if the underlined passage is in American English, Australian English, British English, or Canadian English?

     

     

    Either you misread what I wrote, or I wasn't clear enough:

     

     

    It would be far from difficult to have the algorithm check the language list for a preferred variety once it's identified the language being used, and to load the dictionary for that variety instead.

     

     

    What I meant was, once the algorithm has identified the language, it should check the language order you've set in System Preferences>Language & Text>Language, then run down the list and load the dictionary for the *first* variety of the language it has detected. That is to say, if the algorithm identifies the language I'm typing as English, and I have British English as the preferred (i.e. uppermost) variety of English in the SP language list, it should be assumed that I'm using British English.

     

     

    Ideally, there would be a way (context menu, perhaps) for me to select text and alter the variety/language by hand.

     

     

    Identifying the particular variety of English/French/Spanish accurately via the algorithm would be difficult to impossible (you'd have to wait till the user typed a word that is exclusive to British/Australian/Canadian/US English and assume it's not a typo). It should work as I've just described.

     

     

    > Possibly. Or perhaps not. You're talking about "more than one language", of "regularly writing in different languages". Yet, you say it works when dealing with German and English, but not so much when dealing with British and American English… Do you begin to see a glimmer of relevance now?

     

    Again, you're missing the point I'm trying to make. The algo does a great job of figuring out which language you're writing, but once it's figured out the language, it completely ignores the preferred variety you've set, and loads its default dictionary (at least in the case of English).

     

    My point is, it's easy to figure out the right language—and the algo does this correctly—but almost impossible to correctly determine the specific variety—which the algo does not do, at all. What should be happening is that once the algo has determined the language, it should look to your language priority list in System Preferences and assume the first variety of the identified language is the one being used.

     

    That is to say, if you have British English above English, Austrian German above German or Canadian French above French, then when OS X detects that you're writing English/German/French (which it does very well), it should load its British English/Austrian German/Canadian French dictionary.

     

    I'm not accusing Apple of failing to achieve some voodoo magic here. This is a matter of 10–100 lines of very straightforward code to address an oversight in the dictionary-loading algorithm.

     

    Message was edited by: owf Edited for clarity.

  • 37. Re: British English Mail spell check
    fane_j Level 4 Level 4 (3,660 points)

    David Neale1 wrote:

     

    I tried downloading the "English" dictionary and it is a file with the .oxt extension.

    Co-incidentally, the issue has come up recently in this thread

    <https://discussions.apple.com/message/17043345#17043345>

  • 38. Re: British English Mail spell check
    owf Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    That's briliant! Thanks for the link!

     

    I didn't know that I could load my own dictionaries. Fantastic! (I can dump in all the technical rubbish I use when translating.)

     

    Do you perhaps know if this works in MS Office on OS X?

  • 39. Re: British English Mail spell check
    Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (71,730 points)

    owf wrote:

     

    Do you perhaps know if this works in MS Office on OS X?

     

    As far as I know, Office uses its own "Proofing Tools" and not the OS X spellcheckers.

  • 40. Re: British English Mail spell check
    fane_j Level 4 Level 4 (3,660 points)

    > I'm not accusing Apple of failing to achieve some voodoo magic

    > here.

     

    And I shouldn't care if you did. I'm not paid to be Apple's advocate. Nor am I here to argue that Mac OS X doesn't contain crufty code. It does, and plenty of it. What I am saying is that you haven't provided arguments to support your thesis. One word and a setting shared by Numbers and Excel doesn't mean that the "system is broken" and "Apple doesn't understand internationalisation".

     

    >I've no idea what you're getting at with the Porsche Carrera.

     

    At the difference between the "system is broken" and "Apple doesn't understand internationalisation". If I don't drive a 500k car it's not because I don't understand driving, it's because I can't afford it. Likewise, if Mac OS X doesn't come up to your expectations in this respect, it may be not because Apple doesn't understand the issue, but because it has to make compromises to fit this and every other task the system has to perform within a certain RAM, processor, and cost footprint.

     

    > Decimal separators: I couldn't really care less which language the UI is in.

     

    Neither does Mac OS X. The setting for decimal separators is independent of language. And we're not talking UI language here.

     

    > OpenOffice gets this one thing right

     

    Does it? I may be wrong (I use -- rarely -- LibreOffice), but it was my impression that the setting is per application, not per document. And that's because these StarOffice derivatives are not really Mac apps and do not take localisation settings from the system. Whether this is a desirable feature or not is debatable.

     

    > language/format settings belong at the document level, if not lower.

     

    I suppose you mean "higher", since the system level is lower than the document level. Be that as it may, it's not the issue at hand.

     

    > I haven't tested the system in any kind of depth

     

    Then perhaps that's what you need to do in order to make sweeping statements.

     

    >> Really? No more than a bit of statistical analysis?

    > Basically, yes.

     

    If so, why didn't you, instead of lengthy explanations, simply say, "This is ... English"?

     

    Doing "a bit of statistical analysis" on a sample of three words -- and doing it while I'm typing -- seems to me a little more complex than you seem to think.

     

    > if you come up with the word "a" or "I", chances are it's

    > English. If you find a "y", Spanish; an "à", French.

     

    You can't be serious.

     

    > The algo does a great job of figuring out which language you're

    > writing, but once it's figured out the language, it completely

    > ignores the preferred variety you've set, and loads its default

    > dictionary (at least in the case of English).

     

    Maybe it does so on your Mac, but, as I've explained already, that's not the case on mine. The fact that the British English spelling dict contains one or more errors doesn't mean the system "ignores the preferred variety".

  • 41. Re: British English Mail spell check
    fane_j Level 4 Level 4 (3,660 points)

    Tom Gewecke wrote:

     

    I wonder if the British English dictionary you can install from the OpenOffice set is better in this regard.

    I haven't tested this, but my question would be, can it work if Apple's spelling dict isn't disabled somehow? I notice that the spelling dicts I added are listed with the suffix " (Library)" added to their name. It would be interestng if someone tried it and let us know the result.

  • 42. Re: British English Mail spell check
    fane_j Level 4 Level 4 (3,660 points)

    Ah, on second thoughts, I think I should agree with owf. Apple truly doesn't understand internationalisation. And here's my evidence.

     

    In a different thread, I referred to the post hoc fallacy in its classic form -- the crowing of a male member of the genus Gallus and the rising of the sun. But Apple's automatic censor didn't like my terminology and replaced the aforesaid male member with four stars. Presumably, I should've used the intolerable Americanism "rooster". Or am I wrong? After all, Atomic Rooster was a British pop band. I'm confused. Help!

  • 43. Re: British English Mail spell check
    owf Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    > One word and a setting shared by Numbers and Excel doesn't mean that the "system is broken" and "Apple doesn't understand internationalisation".

     

    I like how you ignore my iOS example, the glaring example of this. Nice.

     

    > Likewise, if Mac OS X doesn't come up to your expectations in this respect, it may be not because Apple doesn't understand the issue, but because it has to make compromises to fit this and every other task the system has to perform within a certain RAM, processor, and cost footprint.

     

    That doesn't make any sense. I imagine you don't code yourself. This is trivial to fix and would use approximately zero additional resources.

     

    > Does it? I may be wrong (I use -- rarely -- LibreOffice), but it was my impression that the setting is per application, not per document.

     

    Yes, it does. You can set a default language in the prefs, but you can also set language down to character level in Writer and use any formatting you want in Calc.

     

    > I suppose you mean "higher", since the system level is lower than the document level. Be that as it may, it's not the issue at hand.

     

    No, I mean lower. Sentence or paragraph level is lower than document level. Whether document level is higher or lower than system level depends on your point of view.

     

    Shall we say "more granular"?

     

    > Then perhaps that's what you need to do in order to make sweeping statements.

     

    Broken is broken.

     

    > You can't be serious.

     

    I am because that's really how it's done (amongst other techniques). I don't know why you're arguing about something you clearly have no idea about. Figuring out a language is very easy to code. You can even do it with zip, if you want.

     

    > The fact that the British English spelling dict contains one or more errors doesn't mean the system "ignores the preferred variety".

     

    Except that isn't what's happening. It isn't loading the British dictionary when it should be doing.

  • 44. Re: British English Mail spell check
    fane_j Level 4 Level 4 (3,660 points)

    > you ignore my iOS example

     

    If by "system" in the "system is broken" you mean iOS, I'm afraid you are posting in the wrong forum. This is about Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard.

     

    > You can set a default language in the prefs, but you can also

    > set language down to character level in Writer and use any

    > formatting you want in Calc.

     

    Well then, you're happy. Use OpenOffice, or LibreOffice, or NeoOffice, and you won't have to deal with what you feel is a "broken system". You'll get the kind of setting you want, and you won't be struggling with Apple's imperfect British spell checking. Where's the problem?

     

    > It isn't loading the British dictionary when it should be doing.

     

    It does on my machine. (I believe that's the third time I'm saying it.) If it doesn't on yours, I assume you know the troubleshooting steps you need to follow.

     

    > I don't know why you're arguing about something you clearly have

    > no idea about.

     

    Thank you for introducing a true gentleman's touch in this conversation.