The Dutch spelling reform in Microsoft Office

[Une version en français de ce blog est disponible ici:]


A few days ago, a Dutch-speaking school from Gent, in Belgium, asked us whether the Dutch spell-checker available in Microsoft Office 2003 takes into account the spelling reform promulgated in October 2005 by the Nederlandse Taalunie, the official linguistic body for the Dutch language in the Netherlands and in Dutch-speaking Belgium. We were happy to answer these teachers that, in March 2006, an updated Office 2003 Dutch speller accepting the new official spelling was made available to our users. It received a Quality Label from the Nederlandse Taalunie and it is based upon the Woordenlijst van de Nederlandse Taal (also known as “het Groene Boekje”, the “green book”).

This speller is also integrated in the forthcoming Office 2007 system. Here are other relevant links, in case you want to install this updated speller for other Office versions:

Spelling reforms are always interesting for linguists and people who develop proofing tools. It is not a phenomenon that only affects Dutch, of course. I recently alluded to the French speller made available to Office 2003 SP2 and Office 2007 users which takes into account the French spelling reform. Other languages such as German are also impacted by similar reforms promulgated by official authorities. Language evolves constantly, as we know, and we need to monitor these changes to make sure our tools match our users’ expectations and needs. Isn’t it fun?

-- Thierry Fontenelle (Program Manager)