Anyone who's ever tried to read about fantasy characters will know that the names tend not to play well with spellcheck systems. George RR Martin famously hates spellcheck for that very reason, which is one the excuses he uses for writing on an old DOS machine. Thanks to Microsoft he might have a compelling reason to upgrade.
Characters from Game of Thrones are not being flagged as being spelt incorrectly in Microsoft Word. Unless you did actually spell their names incorrectly.
The changes to Microsoft's dictionary were spotted by historian Greg Jener, who tweeted about it. Obviously that caught peoples' attention, and they fired up Microsoft Word to check for themselves. Anyone will know that Word is wilfully ignorant of fantasy characters, including those found in Lord of the Rings. But Game of Thrones?It turns out those are all peachy as far as Word is concerned.
Sadly for Martin, not all of his characters are accepted. Slate noted that a number of characters who do not appear in the TV show are still flagged as misspelled, as are some of the locations found in both the books and on TV.
Slate also got in touch with Microsoft asking for comment, and a spokesperson for the company confirmed the change:
Glad you noticed that we are not just about common words. We regularly update the spellers to keep them fresh, including additions from the latest, most frequent names from movies, books, and TV shows. To do this, we research what people are talking about, what’s trending in the business world, current affairs, and other popular domains. We can’t add everything that comes up, so we reference different sources and determine which words to include.
One of the 2014 lexical updates included the addition of characters from the Game of Thrones. Names relating to the TV show surfaced through several data sources which qualified them to be added. Up until 2014 we updated the English speller quarterly with 12,000 words added last year. Since January 2015 we’ve been updating the English speller on a monthly basis, and are on track to add an additional 32,000 words in 2015.
So maybe it might won't be enough for George RR Martin to ditch his DOS machine in favour of something more modern, but it does mean that anyone attempting to write some Westerosi fan fiction will find far less squiggly red lines than normal. [Slate via Slashgear]