After an evaluation, GNOME has moved from Bugzilla to GitLab. Learn more about GitLab.
No new issues can be reported in GNOME Bugzilla anymore.
To report an issue in a GNOME project, go to GNOME GitLab.
Do not go to GNOME Gitlab for: Bluefish, Doxygen, GnuCash, GStreamer, java-gnome, LDTP, NetworkManager, Tomboy.
Bug 598958 - Spell checking doesn't allow US English words when using "English" language
Spell checking doesn't allow US English words when using "English" language
Product: empathy
Classification: Core
Component: Preferences
Other Linux
: Normal normal
: ---
Assigned To: empathy-maint
Depends on:
Reported: 2009-10-19 17:19 UTC by Kevin Sumner
Modified: 2018-05-22 13:45 UTC
See Also:
GNOME target: ---
GNOME version: 2.27/2.28

Screenshot of spell checking preferences with patch. (24.64 KB, image/png)
2010-04-13 09:48 UTC, Mike Ruprecht

Description Kevin Sumner 2009-10-19 17:19:21 UTC
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.

I am using Empathy on an Ubuntu 9.10 desktop on an x86-64 system.  I originally filed this bug with the Ubuntu team and they have indicated that it would be better filed upstream.  You can find the original bug report here:
Comment 1 ForgivenByJC 2009-11-17 14:34:59 UTC
I too am experiencing this issue.
Comment 2 Mike Ruprecht 2010-04-13 09:46:17 UTC
I wrote a patch for this that can be found here:;a=shortlog;h=refs/heads/dictionaries

My concern with it is that it makes choosing the language more confusing/complicated as there are quite a few more choices.
Comment 3 Mike Ruprecht 2010-04-13 09:48:26 UTC
Created attachment 158584 [details]
Screenshot of spell checking preferences with patch.

Here's a screenshot of the spell checking preferences with the patch mentioned above. As you can see, just English alone expands to 7 choices with it. Other languages could potentially have quite a few more.
Comment 4 Guillaume Desmottes 2010-04-13 12:56:23 UTC
Indeed that's annoying. Maybe we could consider the second option: enable all the variant of the language?
I'm not a language specialist so I'm not sure how good/bad this idea but I *think* that shouldn't be a problem at least in French.

Comment 5 Mike Ruprecht 2010-04-13 21:26:29 UTC
I do like the idea of having it simpler. I don't know how much of a problem it would be to have all languages selected. Kevin mentions above that Chinese differs greatly.

I was pondering some more and wondered if it would be a good median to have it be a treeview with all the base languages visible, with a checkbox, and expandable to list all the child variations. Checking/unchecking the base language would select/deselect all child variations. This way if you know what you're doing and need more control, you can expand the selection and check whichever you need in there. The users less familiar with locales can just pick the base language and not have to worry about all the variations.

On a related note, it seems like it would be nice to default to the user's specific locale.
Comment 6 Guillaume Desmottes 2010-04-14 07:39:22 UTC
Sounds like a great idea!
Comment 7 Craig Leinoff 2011-03-07 22:52:56 UTC
For what it's worth, in my distro (Ubuntu Lucid) I can't even edit this setting in gconf-editor. There is no "empathy" in /apps/ as per the original report.
Comment 8 Debarshi Ray 2012-03-06 12:31:08 UTC
Is this problem still present? I tried "color" and "colour" with current Git master and it did not complain with either.
Comment 9 Seth Woodworth 2012-06-18 19:43:32 UTC
In Ubuntu 12.04 Precise, Empathy ships with en_gb spellcheck dictionary only, and this does not seem to be configurable via Empathy or gconf.  In Fedora 16 (I haven't tried F17 yet), Empathy ships with no spellcheck at all.
Comment 10 GNOME Infrastructure Team 2018-05-22 13:45:27 UTC
-- GitLab Migration Automatic Message --

This bug has been migrated to GNOME's GitLab instance and has been closed from further activity.

You can subscribe and participate further through the new bug through this link to our GitLab instance: