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Firefox Spell Checker and the Tale of a Missed Dictionary

For the past few weeks I was under the impression that there was something wrong with Firefox’s spell checker.

The only reason however I was bothering with installing the spell checker in the first place was because pedantic Firefox couldn’t help but add red squiggly lines to my foreign queen’s English in this blog’s post editor. Mind you this after I’ve just finished doing another spell and grammar check in Microsoft Word.

Well I guess I’m partly to blame for misguiding it since the last time I capitulated to its annoying update notifications, I ended up downloading the first installer I could find online, which as it turns out was the US installer.

Anyway I realize I could easily disable the spell checker however it does come in handy in some unplanned situations like when editing emails online.

So rather than disable it altogether, I opted to do the reasonable thing and install the UK spelling dictionary. Thankfully, I only had to right-click inside the post editor and in the context menu select Languages > Add Dictionaries…

add dictionary

That obviously took me to the Firefox Language Add-on page and naturally, as anybody else aching to do away with such a minor issue, I saw the first link there nicely titled English (something) Language Pack and without a thought wasted no time clicking it. 

english us language pack

“Feels nice when they read your mind like that…” so I thought to myself as I distractedly watched it download and install the pack.  Yet to my utter shock, the dictionary never did install, and this is after I had generously given up my few precious tabs to that bully of a restart. Ugh! Guess I’ll have to redo it.

So after numerous tries of downloading and installing what I thought was a spelling dictionary add-on, I randomly decided today, that is after being prompted by unsightly aftermath of red squiggly lines on another post, to find out just where that language pack was disappearing to.

Just as I had thought, the bloody thing had settled quite nicely in the Language settings playing second fiddle to its buddy, English (United States). Clearly I wasn’t liking this music so I put it in first fiddle and strolled back to the post editor.

To my amazement, no change. Might as well be trying to install a High Valyrian Language pack! Anyway, I went back to the Language Add-on site and of course I couldn’t find even Low Valyrian there, but I did one thing: my stupid senses.

All this time I had been missing the proverbial trees for the forest, the silent dictionaries for the rowdy packs of languages.

english uk language pack

With that said, not all my efforts were to nought. Thanks to changing the locale to English (UK) in the settings meant now that the recommended dictionary would be the UK one instead of the US one. Without that little change I’m afraid you wouldn’t even be reading this.

To my defense, the countless more like me that have had to question their sanity to the point of espying chromy pastures, the few unwarily readying themselves to frolic into the groves of this red panda and that damned lot that silently suffers at the foot of that towering babel of an add-on page, it barely registers to an untrained eye that there could be a world of difference between a language pack and a dictionary, more so when the first link is to a language pack.

In other words, the dictionaries are sorely in need of their own page!


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Kelvin Kathia

Kelvin Kathia is a writer that's passionate about sharing solutions to everyday tech problems. He's the founder and editor of Journey Bytes, a tech blog and web design agency. Feel free to leave him comments or questions regarding this post, or by leaving him a message on the contact page. If you found his content helpful, a donation is much appreciated.