Spell check dictionaries
Mac Tip #258/30-August-2006
In recent Tips I showed how to set your preferred languages for both your computer and your software. My settings put Australian English as my first preference, so if I check spelling in a Cocoa application such as TextEdit, the Australian English dictionary is the default.
Note: ‘Cocoa’ and ‘Carbon’ refer to different techniques for making software. Some applications are ‘Carbon’, some are ‘Cocoa’ and others use other techniques. This is a bit like cooking fish: fried, grilled and baked are all different techniques.
‘Cocoa’ applications all share the same dictionary; other applications may not offer a spell check or may use their own dictionary.
Let’s say I open TextEdit, which comes installed on all new Macs. I type some text, in my case including some Māori words, one with a macron (the line above some vowels), some mis-spelled words, and the word ‘jandals’, which we often use in New Zealand but which apparently is not common elsewhere, even in Australia.
I Control Click on the document to call up a contextual menu and choose Spelling….
Once the spellcheck window appears I can choose the dictionary I wish to use. Australian English was already selected because that is the setting I’ve chosen for my computer, but if I wanted to choose another language then I could do that here.
- Using the spellcheck dictionary.
- My text, with many words underlined in red to show that they aren’t recognised by the spellcheck dictionary. Notice how the a with the macron above it in the word Māori has confused the spellcheck.
- Some suggestions from the Australian dictionary for the mis-spelled word funeral. I can select a suggestion and click the Correct button to replace the wrongly spelled word with the correct one.
- The Māori placename Turangawaewae is correctly spelt but the dictionary doesn’t recognise it. I click the Learn button to add the word to the dictionary.
Note: jandals are a type of footwear characterised by a flat sole held on to the foot with a y-shaped thong. In other countries they may be called thongs or flip-flops.
Next week: Other spellcheck techniques.