Lesson 7: Orthography Rules And Suffix Keys

This Aerick's video on remaining Plover lessons and the dictionary file format:

Aerick's 3rd Plover Video

Orthography Rules

Sometimes, Plover may give you a pleasant surprise when it writes what you intend, even without the requisite strokes in the dictionary file. How does this work?

The Plover software uses "orthography rules" for some translations. Let's look at an example: "cherries". Plover's dictionary contains an entry for one cherry, "KHER/REU": "cherry". To write cherry, you'd stroke KHER/REU. At the time of writing, Plover's dictionary has no entry for "cherries". If you tried to write KHER/REU/-S using the suffix -S, what would you expect? If Plover didn't use orthography rules, KHER/REU/-S would produce the incorrect spelling, "cherrys". As Plover does use orthography rules, you'll find that Plover automatically translates KHER/REU/-S to 'cherries', even though there's no dictionary entry for it.

You mostly don't have to think about English orthography rules because Plover takes care of it for you! Plover also uses an American English word list to check against for possible translations. Plover supports the following English orthography rules.

+'ly': 'artistic' + 'ly' = 'artistically'

Adjectives ending in 'ic' can sometimes be made into adverbs by adding 'ally'. For example, 'artistic(stroked AR/TEUS/TEUBGcan become 'artistically' (stroked AR/TEUS/TEUBG/HREU), and 'logic(stroked HROPBLG/EUBGcan become 'logically' (stroked HROPBLG/EUBG/HREU).

'te' + 'ry': 'statute' + 'ry' = 'statutory'.

The adjective suffix 'ory' can be appended to various nouns and sometimes verbs to make an adjective form by replacing the 'te' with 'ory'. For example, 'statute(stroked STAUT) can become 'statutory' (stroked STAUT/REU). The noun suffix 'ory' be also be added to words by replacing 'te' with 'ory'. For example, 'ambulate' (stroked APL/HRAEUT) can become 'ambulatory' (stroked APL/HRAEUT/REU).

't' + 'cy': 'frequent' + 'cy' = 'frequency'

Adjectives ending in 't' can sometimes be made into nouns by replacing the 't' with a 'cy'. For example, 'frequent' (stroked TPREBGcan become 'frequency(stroked TPREBG/SEU), and 'regent(stroked RE/SKWREPBTcan become 'regency(stroked RE/SKWREPBT/SEU). This rule also applies to adjectives ending in 'te' that can be made into nouns by replacing the 'te' with 'cy'. For example, 'adequate' (stroked AD/KWAT) can become 'adequacy(stroked AD/KWAT/SEU).

+'s': 'establish' + 's' = 'establishes'

This rule can address "sibilant pluralization", such as replacing 's' with 'es'. For example, 'establish' (stroked STAEBcan become 'establishes' (stroked STAEB/-S). This rule can also address soft 'ch' pluralization. For example, 'speech(stroked SPAOEFPcan become 'speeches' (stroked SPAOEFP/-S). Finally, this rule can address a consonant plus 'y' pluralization. For example, 'cherry' (stroked KHER/REU) can become 'cherries' (stroked KHER/REU/-S).

±'y': 'die' + 'ing' = 'dying'

This rule can address adding 'ing'. For example, 'die' (stroked TKAOEUcan become 'dying' (stroked TKAOEU/-G). This rule can also address adding 'ist'. For example, 'metallurgy' (stroked PHET/HRURPBLG) can become 'metallurgist' (stroked PHET/HRURPBLG/EUFT). Finally, this rule can address adding 'ful'. For example, 'beauty(stroked PWAOUTcan become 'beautiful(stroked PWAOUT/-FL)

±'e': 'narrate' + 'ing' = 'narrating'

This rule can address adding 'en' to words ending in 'e'. For example, 'write' (stroked WREUcan become 'written' (stroked WREU/*EPB). This rule can also address adding 'e' to a word already ending in 'ee'. For example, 'free' (stroked TPRAOE) can become 'freed' (stroked TPRAOE/-D). Finally, this rule can replace a silent 'e'. For example, 'narrate' (stroked TPHAR/RAEUT) can become 'narrating' (stroked TPHAR/RAEUT/-G).  

consonant doubling: 'defer' + 'ed' = 'deferred'

Sometimes, consonants are doubled when adding certain endings, such as 'ed', 'ing', 'er', or 'est'. For example, 'defer(stroked TKEFRcan become 'deferred' (stroked TKEFR/-D), 'sit' (stroked SEUT) can become 'sitting' (stroked SEUT/-G), 'rub' (stroked RUB) can become 'rubber' (stroked RUB/*ER), and 'big' (stroked PWEUG) can become 'biggest(stroked PWEUG/EFT).

Orthography Rules and Suffix Keys

Additionally, Plover has special behavior for these suffix keys: -Z-D-S-G. Let's look at another example: "settled". At the time of writing, Plover's dictionary contains an entry for the present tense verb of settle, "SELT": "settle". It has no entry for the outline SELTD. And yet, you can stroke SELTD and it will produce the word, "settled". When one of the suffix keys is tucked into an existing outline, it's automatically appended. It's as if you had written SELT/-D. Given -D translates to the suffix '^ed', you might expect this to result in the incorrect spelling, "settleed". Once again, the orthography rules save us, producing the correct spelling, 'settled'.

In rare cases, Plover's use of orthography rules might produce a different result to what you're expecting. Without a dictionary entry to delete, you may need to add a new entry to override the automatic behavior.