A Timely Reminder

Discussion in 'Network Information, Suggestions and Feedback' started by Gerry Chester, Apr 24, 2005.

  1. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Upsetting as the work of the recent hacker has been, it cautions all of us to check how strong our firewalls are and, if one not in place, give serious consideration to installing one.

    Some years ago I was asked to comment on spell checkers. As Lee has made this facility available to us, perhaps I may be excused for posting the article here.

    By Gerry Chester
    (June 20, 1999)

    Spell Checkers are very useful tools, but they do have some limits.

    As learning to speak the English language is comparatively easy, it has become the modern day lingua franca. There are three principal reasons. First, conjugation of most verbs is simple. Second, irregular verbs are few. Three, unlike other languages, nouns do not have masculine or feminine genders.

    Learning to read and write English is not at all easy. The principal reasons being spelling variations, homophones and silent letters. These reasons create problems for even the most sophisticated of Spell Checkers.

    Differences between English and American spellings are many. For example, Colour/Color and Centre/Center. A Spell Checker originating in Britain may not recognize the American spellings and vice versa.

    There are hundreds of homophones in the English Language and its American version, creating major problems for Spell Checkers, although some of the more sophisticated will recognize a misspelled word that is out of context.

    For an example, copy and paste the following into an e-mail then check its spelling.

    "Children, sit down to dinner. Mum has cooked you a nice young friar and fries using not two much greece. "

    "Their are moor than fore spelling errors hear. Sea how many the spell checker will fined. "

    Spell Checkers will note a word that is phonetically misspelled provided it is not itself a homophone. For example, Ruff instead of Rough.

    Silent Letters
    There are thousands of words with silent letters which cause problems for a Spell Checker.

    For Example: This perfume has a lovely sent.

    Malapropisms occur too often as was the subject of a [recent] newspaper article, despite (or in some cases, because of) the use of a Spell Checker.

    "Lauch Faircloth, while senator from North Carolina, took the floor saying: 'When we drive the tobacco industry into bankruptcy as a piranha, what will we attack next?' (Of course he meant pariah.) The writer of Miss Manners column on etiquette, Judith Martin, last January wrote: 'That was seen as casting aspirations on other people's pleasure.' (She of course intended to write aspersions.)

    While rare in scholarly and scientific writings, contractions are commonly employed elsewhere.

    Spell Checkers will recognize a contraction as being incorrect when the required apostrophe is missing. For instance, shant.

    Where the absence of the apostrophe creates a word of its own right the error will not be noted. For example, Can't/Cant and We'll/Well.

    Typographical Errors
    Spell Checkers are very useful in spotting these, provided the error does not create a recognizable word, for example:

    Missed letters: List/Lit

    Transposed letters: Pest/Pets

    Mistyped letters: Deer/Dear

    Cheers, Gerry
  2. Wise1

    Wise1 There We Are Then

  3. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    Best spellchecker known to humanity: A good dictionary and a Mark One Eyeball.
  4. Wise1

    Wise1 There We Are Then

    Dictionary.com, without it my e-mails at work would be problematic!
  5. Cheshire Yeomanry

    Cheshire Yeomanry Junior Member

    I have 2 English Dictionary's, 2 Thesaurus's and 1 German dictionary, and still I struggle.

    Usually because I'm thinking faster than I can type. Thus typo's are a major reason for re-editing posts
  6. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by Lee Wisener@Apr 25 2005, 06:36 PM
    Dictionary.com, without it my e-mails at work would be problematic!
    [post=33503]Quoted post[/post]

    I occasionally swap e-mails with a lady who is a full university professor and she has a standard warning as part of her signature to the effect that she never spellchecks her e-mails as it defeats to object of sending them. Not sure I believe her logic, but it seems to work for her.

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