Jan 12th , 2011

Spelling Check

Error-free texts are always appreciated, if not downright expected. But although the products of clean and fluent writing demand skill and experience, many people today are under the impression that accomplishing this task should no longer be considered a problem. They believe that all one needs to do is to run a simple spelling check, and that should suffice.
The notion that spelling checkers are infallible is very questionable. And the troubling effect is that blindly adopting this view can tempt people to neglect to learn how to spell and edit their texts by themselves. This attitude is not problematic just because it makes people forget about the potency that only a thorough knowledge of language enables. It is also questionable because, in the first place, it assumes that writing is always done with electronic aids, which either have built-in spelling check features or can use resources online. Second, it presupposes that people actually use, and know how to use, spell check tools properly, without perhaps at times even making things worse. Finally, Spelling Check still rely on the users to input their queries and select their corrections. So, ultimately, the responsibility remains in the hands of the writers.
Learners must be aware that they can trust spelling checkers only to a certain limited extent. This responsible awareness should instruct them to remember that, on top of sensibly using spelling check aids, they should keep their mind open and learn to edit and to do their spelling for them. With the variety of means available today, the idea of investing in this basic self-education should not deter anyone. There are many ways in which learning how to spell can be done – some more didactic, but some more fun!
One of the more attractive ways of practicing spelling is by playing all sorts of spelling games. Games for spelling come in many varieties. Some are meant to be played alone, like many colorful or animated online versions for kids or language learners; some are played together with friends or with family, an environment that can add the support and mutual encouragement; Some are framed as spelling challenges or even prize awarding competitions, which, in some cases, are staged in front of audiences or even broadcasted, like the famous north-American “Spelling Bee” phenomenon. And so, whether educational, communal or capital in motive, games are considered to be an effective and encouraging technique for learners. But, in the end, the motivating idea is the independence that can come from taking responsibility for your own work.

Posted in Spelling  |  Tagged , , ,


5 Responses to Spelling Check

  1. Tony Lockhart says:

    I’m trialling your software but I’m a bit puzzled as it does not seem to remember words which I give approval to. Am I missing something?

  2. sharong says:

    Hi Tony,

    If you want Ginger to remember words that you approved, you have to add them to your personal dictionary (right-click on the word in the Ginger panel and choose add to dictionary). Once you do that, Ginger will not think that the word is wrong.

    If you are referring to remembering corrections it performed to your texts, it doesn’t do that but for a good reason. Ginger helps you reduce error repetition and improve your writing. It does that by (a) not correcting mistakes automatically and (b) helping you to learn from your mistakes using its learning platform.

    Word corrections are context sensitive and cannot just be done automatically. Tools that do that often get corrections wrong.

    I hope this explanation helped :-)


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