[whatwg] Spellchecking mark III

Bil Corry bil at corry.biz
Wed Jan 21 07:02:43 PST 2009

Mikko Rantalainen wrote on 1/21/2009 5:03 AM: 
>> For another example, consider the case where I post on a Swedish forum 
>> in English, knowing that the general level of English in Sweden is 
>> excellent and in any case better than the level of my Swedish.
> I agree. However, if the forum maintainer would rather have no text at
> all instead of text in "wrong" language, then the forum maintainer
> should use <input type="text" lang="se"> and the UA would correctly flag
> any non-swedish word as incorrect.

I see value in being able to provide a hint to the UA that it should or should not spell check certain content, but the ultimate control should reside with the user.

I hate the idea of a web site dictating which dictionary must be used to spell check the user's content.  Spell checking is for the benefit of the user, not the web site, and forcing a dictionary in a language that the user doesn't speak is completely useless and would only serve to annoy (i.e. it wouldn't prevent the user from submitting content in any language of their choosing).

Beyond that, it has other problems.  Say I visit a site in the UK and it forces the UK dictionary; as an American speaker, I'll be confused as to why my UA is flagging "color" as misspelled and will simply turn off spell checking entirely since it's "broken." 

Additionally, not all UAs ship with dictionaries for every single language (do any?), so the UA wouldn't be able to spell check when a dictionary isn't available for that user.  I guarantee that if my UA shipped with all of them, I'd remove them all except the languages I converse in to prevent the web site from forcing a particular dictionary.

Then there are some languages that do not have a dictionary available at all, such as Tamil in Firefox:


I don't see any benefit to the user in forcing them to use a particular dictionary and the only benefit to the site is it might annoy someone into using a particular language (assuming they even have the dictionary for that language).

- Bil

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