Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
I have developed a spell checker that catches just about all the eggcorns I have ever encountered (in most contexts). It is free and available online at www.spellcheckplus.com. The site is a work in progress and will improve over time, with feedback from users. As such, any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Last edited by tnadasdi (2007-06-08 14:01:32)
I gave that spell checker on that website a test drive, and don’t find many grammatical corrections provided for a dozen or so eggcorns I tried out.
The spell checker is capable of catching the neologism variety of eggcorns because these words are easily flagged (by the fact that they are not in the dictionary). For instance, the word “eggcorn” will generate a response to consider “acorn” as the correct spelling.
But, there are many eggcorns that involve word-substitution, and these are not so easily detected. For instance, the phrase “He took it for granite” does not generate a recommendation to replace it with “He took it for granted” because both “granite” and “granted” are dictionary words.
I think there is much work that still needs to be done before the myriad eggcorns in the Eggcorn Database and the Eggcorn Forum are caught by any spell checker.
Thanks for the feedback. The rule that caught this eggcorn was too limited. I expanded it and it should now work. Of the 575 in the list, SpellCheckPlus.com can catch approximately 500, but I do need to add more contextual info on occasion. To be sure, the purpose of the site is not to replicate what other spell checkers do, but rather to flag acceptable words in unacceptable contexts.
Last edited by tnadasdi (2007-06-08 15:33:26)
Yeah. Go for it. I wrote to Microsoft a while back to suggest that they ought to improve their spellchecker to catch eggcorns, and they seemed rather dismissive, but recently I found out that they have developed the “blue squiggle” to deal with this kind of error.
http://blogs.msdn.com/naturallanguage/a … 37359.aspx
But I’ve no idea how effective their product is, and they need competition. There must be money in this kind of added-value software.
Sure, Microsoft seems to have some interest, but SpellCheckPlus.com will have quite a few advantages: a) it’s free! ; b) it will have some second language learner capacity; c) my guess is it will be more successful at identifying eggcorns and will generate fewer false positives and d) it is pedagogical in orientation.
I invite anyone interested to take SpellCheckPlus to task so that I can make it a better tool for all.
I imagine if Microsoft developed a blue squiggle—as Dadge calls it—to catch eggcorns, it probably wouldn’t take them all that long to enter a whole eggcorn database into their system. How long could it take to incorporate 1000-some pieces of information into a software database? If they already have a method to detect grammar errors, the hard part’s already worked out.
Besides, I think what some of us want more than anything else right now is a labor-saving device which can read all the posts in the Forum, identify the legitimate eggcorns, prioritize and categorize them, generate a succinct comment about the new imagery of each, and transfer the most viable web-based examples into the Eggcorn Database. Now that’s something someone might be willing to pay money for!
Last edited by jorkel (2007-06-19 21:02:06)
I don’t doubt MicroSoft’s ability to catch eggcorns (though the context delimitation is tricky for the non linguist). However, it is one thing to simply flag an error and offer suggestions, it is quite another to have people actually learn from the feedback they are provided with. MS Word is not a language learning tool (L1 or L2). It is an editor and the two are very different.