Ever wondered why Microsoft Office doesn’t recognise some of the words we use and take for granted in everyday life? That’s because it’s essentially compiled in American English, with the odd spelling concession here and there. Well, Microsoft wants to change that – launching a project to find quirky words from dialects across the UK to help make its 2007 Microsoft Office more “British”.
If you want to send in some words, you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org – and if found suitable, you could find them in a new dictionary of regional dialects which will available to download online and form part of a personal version of Microsoft Office 2007, where your own dialect can be typed without seeing the dreaded red under each word.
Jonathan Robinson, curator of English accents and dialects at The British Library, will judge which of the words will make it into the dictionary. “Britain has a rich heritage of different accents and dialects and, contrary to popular opinion, there is still a great deal of lexical diversity across the UK – where else would you find the words ‘cob’, ‘batch’, ‘bun’, ‘barm cake’, ‘stotty cake’, ‘scuffler’ and ‘bread cake’, all meaning bread roll?” said Jonathan. “But the English language is constantly changing. Due to a complex combination of influences, local words occasionally disappear from common usage or are replaced by others which become absorbed into our everyday vocabulary.”