This is the home page for GaelSpell, a powerful Irish language spell checker that has been freely available since the year 2000. The latest version recognizes more than 390,000 words, and we are continuously adding new words to the database. If you notice any missing words, we welcome all suggestions from the community.
You can use GaelSpell on all major computing platforms (Linux, Mac, Windows), or even directly in your web browser thanks to a nice interface created by Michal Boleslav Měchura, and powered by the GaelSpell web service. There is additional information available on the Download page to help you choose the correct version to download.
GaelSpell is open source software, available under the GPLv2. All of the code and data underlying the spell checker are available from our development site on Github.
Of course, because GaelSpell is a spell checker, it only checks spelling and not grammar, so it doesn't pay any attention to a word's context; e.g. it accepts “mo máthair” and “mo cuid Gaeilge”. If you want to catch errors like these, you might have a look at our grammar checker An Gramadóir.
- Large Word List. With better than 360,000 words in the database, GaelSpell accepts more than 96% of words in typical Irish texts, personal names and placenames included. The coverage is equivalent to a dictionary with around 39,000 headwords — almost three times as big as a typical pocket dictionary (e.g. the Oxford or the Collins Gem).
- Grammatical Completeness. I have written software which generates every inflected form of a dictionary headword when provided with a limited amount of grammatical information. For instance, by adding the word fuaimnigh to the underlying database as a second declension verb, more than 80 inflected forms are added to the word list (all verb endings plus lenition, eclipsis, prefix “d'” etc.)
- Accuracy. The only absolute rule when generating a spellchecker is that there should be no misspelled words in the basic word list. Every word in the GaelSpell database has been checked against print sources at least once, and the software that generates the inflected forms has been thoroughly tested as well.
- Frequent Updates. I have provided major updates on a regular basis since the initial release and plan to continue this for the foreseeable future. Candidates for addition to the word list are harvested via statistical methods as part of the Crúbadán web crawling project; this is an effective way of keeping up with the latest terminology.
- Phonetic support (aspell only). The file gaeilge_phonet.dat provides a complete “coarse” encoding of the pronunciation of Irish. This allows aspell to make more intelligent suggestions when it comes across a misspelled word. For instance, where ispell gives no suggestions for the pre-standard imfhiosach, aspell uses the phonetics file to encode this as “*M*S*K”, thereby recognizing and suggesting the correct spelling iomasach.