Computer Language Settings and Canadian Spellings

  • Roger Shuttleworth


The language settings used on personal computers interact with the spell-checker in Microsoft Word, which directly affects the flagging of spellings that are deemed incorrect. This study examined the language settings of personal computers owned by a group of Canadian university students. Of 21 computers examined, only eight had their Windows “Default Input Language” set to English (Canada); the remainder had it set to English (United States). Furthermore, only eight of the computers had the Microsoft Word “Primary Editing Language” set to English (Canada), whereas 11 had it set to English (United States). When asked to state their preferred spelling for words where the spelling differs between Canadian English and American English, a significant proportion of students preferred American spellings for some words. The study indicates that computer language settings may contribute to the increasing use of American spellings among Canadian students. The implications for ESL teaching are discussed.
How to Cite
Shuttleworth, R. (2012). Computer Language Settings and Canadian Spellings. TESL Canada Journal, 29(1), 121-130.