SinSpell: A Comprehensive Spelling Checker for Sinhala

07/07/2021 ∙ by Upuli Liyanapathirana, et al. ∙ 0

We have built SinSpell, a comprehensive spelling checker for the Sinhala language which is spoken by over 16 million people, mainly in Sri Lanka. However, until recently, Sinhala had no spelling checker with acceptable coverage. Sinspell is still the only open source Sinhala spelling checker. SinSpell identifies possible spelling errors and suggests corrections. It also contains a module which auto-corrects evident errors. To maintain accuracy, SinSpell was designed as a rule-based system based on Hunspell. A set of words was compiled from several sources and verified. These were divided into morphological classes, and the valid roots, suffixes and prefixes for each class were identified, together with lists of irregular words and exceptions. The errors in a corpus of Sinhala documents were analysed and commonly misspelled words and types of common errors were identified. We found that the most common errors were in vowel length and similar sounding letters. Errors due to incorrect typing and encoding were also found. This analysis was used to develop the suggestion generator and auto-corrector.

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