January 07, 2008

Will it be Mike Hoecake vs. Barrack Boatman in November?

If Microsoft has its way -- via the Cupertino effect -- maybe so. The spell-check options suggested by Microsoft Word 2003 for "Huckabee" include "Chickadee", "Checkable", "Chickoree", "Hoecake", and "Huskies". And web search turns up things like this:

... in 2005 he appeared on "The Jane Pauley Show," in a spot on obesity, where he met, Arkansas Gov. Mike Chickadee, who lost 100 pounds through diet and exercise ...

Proposed substitutions for "Barack" include "Barrack" and "Barracks"; and for "Obama", suggestions are "Bema", "Bam", "Boatman", "Abeam", "Ocala".  It's out there:

Barrack Bema (D-IL) I'm thinking about how Barrack Bema supported Condoleezza Rice's nomination for Secretary of State.

[Actually, though it spoils the joke a bit, there are very few Governor Chickadees and Senator Bemas out there.]

[Also see "Surging Candidates Have Spell-Check Issues", which is based on the spell-check facilities of (some version of) Outlook. (Hat tip: Victor Steinbok)]

[Update -- Thierry Fontenelle (from the Microsoft Natural Language Group) writes:

The latest versions of the Office speller include the word "Obama"and users can freely download an update from the following sites, depending on their version of Office:

1) Office 2007: the Service Pack 1 (SP1) update includes the fix: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/downloads/default.aspx

2) Office 2003 users can request the fix following the steps described on http://support.microsoft.com/kb/935305/

3) Two KB articles from the Microsoft Knowledge Base were posted in Spring 2007 and address this topic:
a. For Office 2003: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/935305/
b. For Office 2007: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/933699

4) Individual users who have not installed these updates can also right-click the flagged word, and then click Add to Dictionary.


Posted by Mark Liberman at January 7, 2008 10:16 PM