Replacing en-gb spelling dictionary with en-gb-oed

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Richard Flynn, May 2, 2007.

  1. Richard Flynn macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2006
    Does anyone know how to entirely replace, or add, an entire OS X spelling dictionary? I've got a bit annoyed with the 'British English' dictionary because (understandably) it requires spellings in -ise, -isation, -iser, etc. However, the preferred Oxford English Dictionary spellings, which I prefer to use consistently in my writing, are in -ize, -ization, -izer, -ized. There are also some other precise points, e.g. judgment (Oxford spelling) vs. judgement (Cambridge spelling).

    I've got a bit annoyed with having to add words which are spelt as I want them to my custom word list. Also, it's helpful to have a proper dictionary to flag up the time when I drop the ball and want to write 'advertize' (which is absolutely wrong, since it's not a Greek word in origin).

    The IANA has created a separate designation for Oxford spellings called en-gb-oed (the 'ordinary' British spellings are en-gb). Someone has produced a complete en-gb-oed wordlist designed for use in Mozilla products (Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.), which you can find here. The list, when unzipped just contains every word on a separate line.

    So, my question is, is there an easy way to convert this into an OS X-compatible spelling dictionary, either by replacing the contents of British English (en-gb), or by producing a new language option, Oxford English (en-gb-oed)?

    I know this is a bit niche, but I don't think I can be the first person to want to do this sort of thing.
  2. ukzembla macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2010
    Did you ever find a solution to this? I'd be very interested to hear from you if you did!

    - Alex
  3. mw9 macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2011
    I am not the original poster, but anyway:

    I've solved this well enough using cocoAspell:
    together with an OED dictionary:

    Basically cocoAspell integrates GNU Aspell into OSX's spell check service, hence allowing use of the OpenOffice OED dictionary. It must be the only English dictionary enabled, otherwise 'non-OED' forms will also pass the spelling check. All done with the 'Spelling and Grammar' right click.

    I have some notes somewhere on how to install the OED dictionary into cocoAspell, if you are interested. I find version 2.0.4 of cocoAspell works both on Tiger & Leopard. The current version for Leopard is 2.1, but that hasn't been working well for me. I have not investigated why.

    Perhaps OpenOffice itself would do the job, with the dictionary installed. I don't know how OO implements spell checking on OSX.
  4. rhebus macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2011
    Thanks very much! cocoAspell also provides natively a British English with -ize dictionary, which suits my needs perfectly without needing a separate en-gb-oed dictionary download.
  5. mw9 macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2011
    It may suit your needs. However I have noted that the 'British with -ize' dictionary supplied with cocoAspell v2.04 believes, for example, that 'analyse' should be spelt 'analyze'. There are probably a number of other misspellings as well.
  6. ukzembla macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2010
    Thanks for all the information, I've only just checked this thread again now. Actually, if you're on Snow Leopard, there's a better way:

    1. Get the OpenOffice Concise OED zip using the link above (
    2. Copy the .dic and .aff files from the zip into (~)/Library/Spelling
    3. Go into System Preferences / Language & Text, select "Text", "Spelling" dropdown, click "Setup", enable "English" (Library), and (if you want) deselect all other variants of English. Then in the "Spelling" dropdown, take it off automatic and select "English (Library)". Even if you disable the other dictionaries, automatic doesn't seem to want to play, unfortunately.
    4. When you're spell-checking a document in a native Cocoa app (I tried using Bean for a last-minute spell-check of a doc I wrote in Word, not sure if Word can be made to support the Mac dictionary), go to Edit / Spelling and Grammar and make sure that "English (Library)" is selected, not British, Automatic, or whatever else.

    It will pick up "analyze", realise as wrong, "coloration", "colour" as right, etc. It's made my life a lot easier, I hope this helps someone!

    One more point: does anyone know how the .dic / .aff files work? I have an idea, but I'm puzzled by the fact that "Dostoevsky" is in the .dic file (no morphological flags afterwards), but "Dostoyevsky" (with a y) is not, and yet both are flagged as being spelt correctly.


  7. mw9 macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2011
    I can tell you that 'Dostoyevsky' is flagged as spelt incorrectly under my OED/cocoAspell v2.0.4 set-up on Leopard ('Dostoevsky' is shown as correct). So I would guess that your puzzle lies outside the OED dictionary and its morphological rules. Might you have some user dictionaries confusing matters ?
  8. ukzembla macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2010
    I guess that cocoAspell works a little differently to the new Mac implementation. I think it must be pulling in info from elsewhere but I can't think where (unless it's the Mac default dictionary, but then surely "realise" would be acceptable as a variant too). I've checked my user and system spelling libraries and they're both empty except for the OED dictionary. And, conversely, "anthropophagi" comes up as a spelling mistake based on the concise OED, but it is in the Mac default dictionary. So where can it be getting the info for Dostoevsky??? Anyone have any ideas?

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