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The Preferred Australian English Spelling
Developed by Kelvin Eldridge.

Word Check
Now with spelling suggestions and a link to definitions


Now Available
The preferred Australian English spelling for
Microsoft Office 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013 on Windows,
Microsoft Office Office 2008 and 2011 on Apple Mac OS X,
Internet Explorer 10/11 on Windows 7/8,
Apple Mac OS X system dictionary.


The Preferred Australian English spelling (e.g. organise) is always considered correct,
 but using a secondary spelling (e.g. organize), is often considered incorrect.

Products available

The Preferred Australian English spelling for Microsoft Office (Windows and Mac)
The Preferred Australian English spelling for Internet Explorer (Windows)
The Preferred Australian English spelling for Apple Mac OS X (in development)
Word Check
Outlook Express British and Australian spelling

   
   


Contents

Introduction

The Kelvin dictionary
Australia's first prescriptive spellcheck dictionary

Introduction

For most of my life I've found many words strangely have two or more ways they can be spelt. As an example, the following are ten pairs of such words from thousands which exist.

Do you know the correct spelling?

leucaemia, leukaemia
whiskey, whisky
daks, dacks
transshipment, transhipment
bonzer, bonza
wagon, waggon
organise, organize
co-operate, cooperate
ice cream, ice-cream
sulphur, sulfur

You may be surprised to learn that all of the words are considered to be correctly spelt in Australia. Based on my observation and testing, most people, even quite educated people, will know the preferred Australian spelling of about five to eight of the words. Feel free to test yourself. Write down your choice and then check the word using Word Check.

As I've been creating the dictionary I've made some surprising observations:

  • There are many words commonly used in Australia which are not included in software such as Microsoft Office/Word. When adding a list of words I've researched, I've often found Microsoft doesn't include 10-15% of the words. Microsoft's spellchecker is one of the best available to Australians, but this research shows there is still room for improvement. Word Check includes many words which aren't found in Microsoft's software but are well documented in authoritative references.
  • I've found quite a few errors in the leading authoritative references. It is rare that we get to crosscheck the authoritative references we all take for granted.
  • The authoritative references don't always agree on the preferred spelling of a word in Australia.
  • There are words in the Australian English dictionary used by Microsoft Office using the American spelling.
These observations are not meant to reduce the value of the existing spelling tools and references we use as they are very good and generally most people aren't aware and don't know what they don't know. I've used Microsoft Word and Office for decades and it was only in 2006 that I realised the issues existing in the Australian English spellcheck dictionary. To me this is an opportunity for us to do better.

The Kelvin dictionary is my preferred way to spell based on thousands of hours of research. How you wish to spell is your personal choice. If you want to take advantage of my work, Word Check and the Microsoft Exclude file are available for you to use. With your support I hope to continue my work and providing improved spelling tools for Australians.

The Kelvin dictionary

Australia's first prescriptive spellcheck dictionary

Until the mid 1900s dictionaries guided people on how to spell. They were known as prescriptive dictionaries. Then things changed. The dictionary makers started to document how people spelt which was a far easier option.

Modern dictionaries document the words we use and are known as descriptive dictionaries. The dictionaries no longer guide us on how to spell. If you check a word in a modern dictionary you will often see the word spelt in more than one way. The first listed spelling is the spelling which occurs more often in current usage.

In Australia there are thousands of words with this dual spelling, and many with three, or even four spelling variations. The dual spelling of words leads to confusion and inconsistent spelling in documents.

I have found it is not considered wrong in Australia to spell using the preferred spelling of a word, but it is often considered wrong to spell using a secondary spelling. For example it is never considered wrong to use "colour", but "color" is considered wrong by many, if not most Australians.

For decades I was confused with the dual spelling of words. My work with the dictionary files gave me an understanding of how the Australian English language has evolved and I found I had the skills needed to create the first Australian English prescriptive spellcheck dictionary which no one else had created.

The prescriptive spellcheck dictionary (known as the Kelvin dictionary) is what I have always wanted. No more confusion as to when to spell using "ise" or "ize", or any of the thousands of words with multiple spellings.

As I identify and research each additional word, the Kelvin dictionary will become an increasingly valuable resource for all Australians.

The Kelvin version is great for:

  • Every Australian (and I have noticed some other countries such as New Zealand) wishing to spell using the most commonly used spelling variation.

  • Those whose native language is not Australian English, where two ways to spell a word adds complexity.

  • The next generation of spellers who are confused with the dual spelling of a word. (I have on occasion asked my daughters to ask their teachers to spell some words. Different teachers in the same school spell differently, which can only cause confusion for the next generation.)

  • Those who want consistent spelling in a document. (When you cut and paste text to create a document, your readers will pick up words being spelt in two ways, which in general reduces the perceived quality of your document.) Using two different ways to spell a word in the one document is always considered incorrect.

  • Those who are in tertiary education. Some academics incorrectly believe there is only one way to spell a word and enforce their incorrect beliefs on their students.

  • Those who are applying for jobs. The real word is very different from the world of academia. Some people have said to me "schools don't care about spelling". In the real world spelling can affect your chances of getting a job, or your perceived ability. Don't take the chance your resume ends up on the desk of a word snob, affecting your future opportunities.

The Kelvin dictionary provides my preferred way to spell. It should however be kept in mind how you spell is your choice.

   
           
   

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