Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

English spelling and the computer

By Roger Mitton

Abstract

The first half of the book is about spelling, the second about computers. Chapter Two describes how English spelling came to be in the state that it’s in today. In Chapter Three I summarize the debate between those who propose radical change to the system and those who favour keeping it as it is, and I show how computerized correction can be seen as providing at least some of the benefits that have been claimed for spelling reform. Too much of the literature on computerized spellcheckers describes tests based on collections of artificially created errors; Chapter Four looks at the sorts of misspellings that people actually make, to see more clearly the problems that a spellchecker has to face. Chapter Five looks more closely at the errors that people make when they don’t know how to spell a word, and Chapter Six at the errors that people make when they know perfectly well how to spell a word but for some reason write or type something else. \ud \ud Chapter Seven begins the second part of the book with a description of the methods that have been devised over the last thirty years for getting computers to detect and correct spelling errors. Its conclusion is that spellcheckers have some way to go before they can do the job we would like them to do. Chapters Eight to Ten describe a spellchecker that I have designed which attempts to address some of the remaining problems, especially those presented by badly spelt text. In 1982, when I began this research, there were no spellcheckers that would do anything useful with a sentence such as, ‘You shud try to rember all ways to youz a lifejacket when yotting.’ That my spellchecker corrects this perfectly (which it does) is less impressive now, I have to admit, than it would have been then, simply because there are now a few spellcheckers on the market which do make a reasonable attempt at errors of that kind. My spellchecker does, however, handle some classes of errors that other spellcheckers do not perform well on, and Chapter Eleven concludes the book with the results of some comparative tests, a few reflections on my spellchecker’s shortcomings and some speculations on possible developments

Topics: csis
Publisher: Longman Group
Year: 1996
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.bbk.ac.uk.oai2:469

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (1983). A dedicated comparator matches symbol strings fast and intelligently’.
  2. (1982). Accents of English. doi
  3. (1983). An intelligent spelling error corrector’. doi
  4. (1988). Computerized correction of phonographic errors’. doi
  5. (1992). Cut Spelling. Simplified Spelling Society. doi
  6. (1986). English accents and their implications for spelling reform’.
  7. (1988). English Spelling and Educational Progress. British Association for Applied Linguistics Committee for Linguistics in Education,
  8. (1994). Err analysis: som reflections on aims, methods, limitations and importnce, with a furthr demnstration: Part 1’.
  9. (1980). From Webster to Rice to Roosevelt’.
  10. (1969). i.t.a. : An Independent Evaluation. John Murray and Chambers for The Schools Council.
  11. (1978). Is there evidence for Chomsky’s interpretation of English spelling?’.
  12. (1982). Length-segmented lists’. doi
  13. (1976). Notes on the history of English spelling’. doi
  14. (1969). Regularized English’. doi
  15. (1966). Rules of Pronunciation for the English Language. doi
  16. (1994). Sources of information used by beginning spellers’.
  17. (1980). Spelling errors in handwriting: a corpus ENGLISH SPELLING AND THE COMPUTER and a distributional analysis’. doi
  18. (1992). The effect of collocational information on spelling correction. Birkbeck College,
  19. (1949). The English Language. doi
  20. (1983). The rules of spelling errors’. doi
  21. (1974). The string-to-string correction problem’. doi
  22. (1970). The Structure of English Orthography. doi
  23. (1944). The Teacher’s Word Book of 30,000 Words. Teachers College,
  24. (1970). Transition network grammars for natural language analysis’. doi
  25. (1988). Triphone analysis: a combined method for the correction of orthographical and typographical errors’. doi
  26. (1973). Written Language: general problems and problems of English. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.