English Spelling and the Computer


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Book Details

Weight .286 kg
Dimensions 14 × 1 × 21.5 cm
Author Name

Roger Mitton










English Spelling and the Computer

Year Published





286 Grams

Which of these spellings are wrong: immediatly, occurence, wierd, definate, liesure, accomadation, concensus, exagerrate, neice, miniscule, harrass, innoculate, supercede, ecstacy, saccreligiou? Answer: all of them.

English Spelling and the Computer provides a thorough examination of English spelling focusing in particular on the difficulties faced by present day spellers. Most people make spelling mistakes and while word processors with spellcheckers do offer some help, they do not catch all the errors and explains why they are made. A knowledge of the history and development of English spelling is useful for understanding the problems of spelling and the difficulties spellcheckers are trying to address. The  book therefore begins by examining the history of spelling and goes on to consider the arguments for and against reform. This is followed by an analysis of a large corpus of spelling errors including both the errors that people make when they do not know how to spell a word and the errors they make when they know how to spell the word but for some reason write something different.

The second part of the book describes how spellcheckers store their dictionaries, detect errors, retrieve sets of suggestions and rank-order them for the user. Roger Mitton describes the techniques used by spellcheckers and shows why they come up with their occasionally curious lists. The technical material in this part of the book is carefully explained, so familiarity with computer programming is not essential for grasping the main concepts.

The book will appeal to students of English language, to teachers of pupils with spelling problems and to psychologists with an interest in spelling, as well as to computer scientists specializing in the processing of text.


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