13 July 2007

The Word on the (Dutch) Street: OpenTaal

This is obviously good news, but I can't help finding the idea of an "official" spelling list rather quaint:

The OpenTaal project (Dutch for "OpenLanguage") has published the first open source word list to be certified by the Dutch Language Union as corresponding to official spelling. Simon Brouwer, project leader of OpenTaal, says, "This is a milestone. Users of open source software can trust their Dutch spell checker now. They have the guarantee that their word list is consistent with the official spelling."


In 2005, the Dutch language area got new spelling, which consists mainly of corrections to the spelling of 1995. Starting in August 2006, the new spelling would be mandatory for the government and schools. This revived the project of creating an open source word list. At the end of 2005 the Dutch government program Open Standards and Open Source Software (OSOSS) initiated the OpenTaal project to coordinate the various Dutch open source projects that had an interest in the new spelling, with the aim of developing a Dutch word list conforming to the new spelling. This would give users of open source software like OpenOffice.org, TeX, Thunderbird, and Firefox an up-to-date spell checker. OSOSS contacted the Dutch Language Union, which agreed to assist the project.

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