📜 Installing Nederlands & English Dictionary (bi-linguial) in Emacs Windows 10

March 19, 2021  Getting Dutch/Nederlands Aspell dictionary for Aspell6

Problem: I needed Nederlands and English dictionaries (woordenboek) within Emacs using Aspell on Windows.

Note that I use the version of Apsell that comes pre-compiled with Rtools (rtools40).

> @(#) International Ispell Version 3.1.20 (but really Aspell 0.60.7-rc1)

Unfortunately, the Dutch (and I assume many other language) dictionaries pre-compiled for Windows on the GNU official site are no longer maintained and are not compatible with aspell6.

Fortunately, the LyX team still maintain Windows dictionary installers compatible with Aspell6. For archiving purposes, I’ve upload a mirror of the Nederlands Aspell here.

Solution. After installing aspell6-nl-0.50-2.exe I simply copied all Nederlands language files contained in C:\ProgramData\Aspell\Dictionaries\ to C:\Rtools\lib\aspell-0.60\. You could also choose to add the new Apsell dictionaries directory to your Emacs aspell-dictionaries list (but I’m sure there’s complexities here).

This enabled me to now have quick switching between Dutch and English. Sadly, I still do not have bilinguial buffers!

 :prefix "<f5>"
 :prefix-command 'keybinds-notes
 "<f5>" 'deft
 "m" 'openfile-manuscripts
 "f" 'openfile-forrest
 "n" '((lambda () (interactive) (ispell-change-dictionary "nl"))
       :which-key "nederlands")
 "e" '((lambda () (interactive) (ispell-change-dictionary "en_US"))
       :which-key "engels"))

The error message I was receiving when I installed from official GNU is shown below. Note, that the rws was not included in GNU installers.

(setq-default ispell-program-name "aspell")
(ispell-change-dictionary "nederlands") ;; or "nl"

;; > ispell-init-process: Error: The file "c:\Rtools/lib/aspell-0.60/nl.rws" can not be opened for reading.
;; > WARNING: Unable to enter Nroff mode: Unknown mode: "nroff".