Spell checking doesn't allow US English words when using "English" language

Bug #445863 reported by Kevin Sumner on 2009-10-07
This bug affects 22 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
One Hundred Papercuts
empathy (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: empathy

When I have "English" selected for the spell checking language under Edit > Preferences > Spell Checking, US English spellings of words (e.g., "favorite", "behavior", and "analyze"), are marked as incorrect and their GB English counterparts (e.g., "favourite", "behaviour", and "analyse") are suggested instead.

I make Empathy recognize US English words locally by using gconf-editor to change the relevant entry at the path below from "en" to "en-US" and restarting Empathy.

There are two better fixes I can see for this:
(1) Break out the general "English" into the different dialects, e.g, one entry for "English (GB)", another for "English (US)", another for "English (ZA)", etc. I believe this to be the best of available options.
(2) Use the entry "English" as a "composite" option, which would actually add all en-* dialects to the spell checker.

This could potentially be a problem with other languages with major dialects, such as Chinese (zh-cn and zh-tw), but I have not verified this.

It should be noted that my system was installed with US English with no other languages or dialects installed.

ProblemType: Bug
Architecture: amd64
CheckboxSubmission: eccee3ffef08eb96dd59ef8dfc7812c8
CheckboxSystem: 36acc479c47ece291c12af9d42b8b11e
Date: Wed Oct 7 18:15:59 2009
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 9.10
Package: empathy
 PATH=(custom, user)
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 2.6.31-12.40-generic
SourcePackage: empathy
Uname: Linux 2.6.31-12-generic x86_64
 (gnome-settings-daemon:5757): GLib-CRITICAL **: g_propagate_error: assertion `src != NULL' failed
 (polkit-gnome-authentication-agent-1:5835): GLib-CRITICAL **: g_once_init_leave: assertion `initialization_value != 0' failed
 (nautilus:5822): Eel-CRITICAL **: eel_preferences_get_boolean: assertion `preferences_is_initialized ()' failed
 (gnome-panel:5821): Gtk-WARNING **: gtk_widget_size_allocate(): attempt to allocate widget with width -5 and height 24
 (gnome-panel:5821): Gtk-CRITICAL **: gtk_widget_event: assertion `WIDGET_REALIZED_FOR_EVENT (widget, event)' failed

Kevin Sumner (kevinsumner) wrote :
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Thank you for your bug report. The issue is an upstream one and it would be nice if somebody having it could send the bug the to the people writting the software (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Bugs/Upstream/GNOME)

Changed in empathy (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Low
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Thank you for sending the bug to GNOME

Changed in empathy (Ubuntu):
status: New → Triaged
John Franklin (hondaman-nc) wrote :

I too am experiencing this issue.

Nominating for Lucid. This is a really crappy user experience if you're outside the UK, can someone please fix?

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

is the issue specific to empathy or do you get the same in ie gedit or other GNOME softwares?

Kevin Sumner (kevinsumner) wrote :

There is at least an option in gedit's language settings (Tools > Set Language...) to use US English, which isn't the case in empathy. That said, gedit's generic "English" option doesn't recognize US English-specific words either, which runs counter to how I would think it should work: "English" should recognize all English dialects, and the specific entries ("English (United States)", "English (Australian)", etc.) should only recognize their specific words.

From a 'Joe User' standpoint, if I select "English" or "US English" during the install, these bits should be configured accordingly. From an interface standpoint, shouldn't the language options set in System > Administration > Language Support be obeyed by all Gnome applications, by default at least? Mine is currently set to "English (United States)" and gedit and empathy are both ignoring it.

Changed in empathy (Ubuntu Lucid):
assignee: nobody → Canonical Desktop Team (canonical-desktop-team)
Changed in empathy:
status: Unknown → Confirmed
Changed in empathy (Ubuntu):
assignee: Canonical Desktop Team (canonical-desktop-team) → nobody
Changed in empathy (Ubuntu Lucid):
assignee: Canonical Desktop Team (canonical-desktop-team) → nobody
Changed in empathy:
importance: Unknown → Medium

I ran into this on a fresh installation of Natty via the alternate iso. Took care of it this way:

Click on "Applications" in the Dock.
Type Language in the text field at the top
Click on Language Support (blue UN flag)
If you are asked about installing more software do it.
Fiddle with the controls until you have the language you want and click:
Apply System Wide.
Reboot or re-login?

Luke Hoersten (lukehoersten) wrote :

This is still a problem on 11.10.

Changed in hundredpapercuts:
status: New → Triaged
Ryan Farmer (ryanfarmer-t) wrote :

Still a problem in Ubuntu 12.04. VERY annoying.

Benjamin J Norton (leomcsnarf) wrote :

Ubuntu 12.04 Yes, it is VERY annoying. I installed gconfig-editer and changed the language setting in empathy to en-US but it did not fix. Why can't this be fixed already?!

internic (internic) wrote :

This bug still effects my in system running 12.04.1. When using spell checking in empathy, US spelling variants are marked incorrect while British variants are not (e.g., "honor" if flagged while "honour" is not).

In System Tools -> Language Support, "English (United States)" is at the top of the list in "Language" tab and selected in the "Regional Formats" tab, and I have tried selecting "Apply System-wide" in both tabs and restarting Empathy with no effect. gedit spell checking shows the language setting as "English (United States)" and seems to be behaving properly, so the issue doesn't seem to be in all Gnome programs.

The workaround suggested at the top of this page doesn't work either. gconf-editor shows no entry at /apps/empathy/conversation/spell_checker_languages and adding an entry as described has no effect after restarting empathy.

Paul Buonopane (zenexer) wrote :

As of Ubuntu 12.10, the relevant dconf path is /org/gnome/empathy/conversation/spell-checker-languages. Change the value to whatever language you want (e.g., "en-US").

Changed in hundredpapercuts:
milestone: none → papercuts-s-empthy
Pander (pander) wrote :

Apparently Empathy is using Enchant for spell checking. It should properly inspect which dictionaries are installed and differentiate between en_GB and en_US and other dictionaries available.

One can set manually /org/gnome/empathy/conversation/spell-checker-languages in dconf to "en_GB,en-US,nl" if you would like to check spelling in English (British), American and Dutch. However using multiple dictionaries at the same time is *NOT* recommended by the spell checkers, even though the options is offered with Enchant and underlying checkers.

For proper spell checking, fix this bug as follows:
1) Offer in the Spell Checking tab in Preferences an option "Check spelling as you type" (boolean) which enables/disables spell checking
2) When this option is enables, a 1-out-of-N selection is enabled for all available dictionaries. The user can select only one a time.
3) Offer in the chat dialogues a quick way to switch between the available dictionaries if spell checking is enabled. Via right click, get immediately a list of available dictionaries at the bottom of the popup menu. Do not put these in a separate submenu in order to switch dictionaries quickly. This is stored the same setting as the setting in Preferences.
4) Later on, implement a default dictionary as above and a per contact or room dictionary setting that is stored separately.

Rolf Leggewie (r0lf) wrote :

lucid has seen the end of its life and is no longer receiving any updates. Marking the lucid task for this ticket as "Won't Fix".

Changed in empathy (Ubuntu Lucid):
status: Triaged → Won't Fix
Changed in empathy:
status: Confirmed → Expired
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