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bug#17742: Acknowledgement (Support for enchant?)

From: Reuben Thomas
Subject: bug#17742: Acknowledgement (Support for enchant?)
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2016 18:26:43 +0000

On 13 December 2016 at 16:37, Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> wrote:

I'm sorry, I don't think this is good enough for any language but
English.  I looked at a few Hunspell dictionaries I have, and almost
all of them have some non-[:alpha:] characters in what becomes
CASECHARS when ispell.el sets up itself for that dictionary.  So this
seems to be really important for correct spell-checking of almost any
language.  Moreover, these settings must be in sync with the words in
the dictionary, so it isn't just some general setting determined by
the dictionary's language, it must come from the dictionary or its

​I agree, this is something that seems to be lacking in Enchant.​
I understand that Enchant doesn't yet support these features, but in
that case we must provide our users with some way of customizing these
settings, we cannot silently use defaults that are most probably
inappropriate, even if they are 90% correct.

​The way to customize it is surely the same as currently, namely​ to customize ispell-dictionary-alist?​
Do the dictionaries used by Enchant really fail to provide this
information?  Aren't they Aspell dictionaries or similar?

​​Enchant has no dictionaries of its own, it's just a proxy for hunspell, aspell &c. So, as I said before, it would be possible to find out which back-end is being used for a particular dictionary, and then to try to use the existing ispell.el code to scan for that dictionary. However, this is not an ideal solution, because it is going "behind Enchant's back".

Given that even management of personal word lists needs a patch to Enchant, it seems to me better to first try to engage with the Enchant maintainers on this. There's also one obvious question, namely, what do other Enchant users do? Enchant is used in Abiword (free word processor), Pidgin (free IM client) etc. So, I shall look into this.

However, I think that this patch can be installed anyway, as out of the box Enchant will never be used (as I have commented in the code, auto-detection of Enchant is not safe until a new version is widespread, as unlike old versions of ispell and aspell, a current version of Enchant is not merely lacking functions, it is useless), and for some Emacs users, it could be useful, as it allows access to spellcheckers currently unsupported by Emacs (albeit, as you note, probably requiring customized dictionary setup).


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