Time for a free grammar checker!

Time for a free grammar checker!

Post by Vladimir Alexie » Sun, 22 Mar 1998 04:00:00

Hi everyone!

In the CC field of this message you'll find just some of the people
who asked in the last couple of years for a free grammar checker on
Unix, preferably integrated with Emacs and Latex. I think that there's
a definite need for such a program. Here's are some resources and

- We have installed on our system a program called Writer's WorkBench
  by Bell Labs (AT&T?). This is the successor of spell, diction, and
  perhaps explain. Our version is 15 years old: wwb version,
  5/25/83. I don't think that Bell/AT&T care anymore about this
  program. I think there's a fairly good chance that they will release
  the source if we can only find someone who can be responsible for
  such a decision. Someone said that one Lorinda Cherry worked on this
  program, but I was unable to locate her.

  said she'll give them out if Bell/AT&T gives permission.

- Although mighty old and somewhat troff- and Bell-specific, WWB is
  still very useful. On http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~vladimir/wwb/ you
  can find some descriptions of its features and subprograms.

  written free versions of two of the programs, style and diction.
  ftp://cantor.informatik.rwth-aachen.de/pub/unix/diction.tar.gz. They
  don't subsume the analogous programs from WWB. His diction works
  with English and German, but has only 100 "suggestions", while the
  one in WWB has 600. His version of style seems weaker than the one
  in WWB.

- A grammar checker would be a lot useful if it works with Emacs,
  Latex, and Ispell (share dictionaries, run together). In particular,
  it could use the great de-latex-ification built into Ispell. The

  that he'd like to write a free grammar checker. Have you made any
  progress, Kenneth?

- The FSF has listed such a program on its task list, so it would be
  wise to coordinate any undertaking with them.

  program, so perhaps he can do some coordination. In particular,
  would anyone like to set up a mailing list for this matter?

- Are there any free programs for other OSes that could be used? There
  are a lot of DOS/Windows grammar checkers, but I don't know of a
  free one.

- What linguistic research and resources can be used? For example, it
  would be great to interface with a thesaurus, or use WordNet for
  some meanings, etc.

Of course, the free grammar checker should be better than anything
available commercially! :-)

Regards, Vladimir

PS: due to the wide audience this is being posted to, please be
considerate in your replies so as not to waste bandwidth and annoy
people. Until a mailing list is set, don't CC to all these people
(unless you have something very important to say). Keep the followups
to a few groups. I've chosen gnu.misc.discuss, but you may change this
to better reflect the specific content of your message.


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Is there something available like {i,a}spell
to check for silly grammatical errors.
That often I make or even even simpler ones?


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