Tuesday, 12 January 2010


It was Sibley blog-regular, Gill, who introduced me to the wonders of predictive texting (thank you, Gill!), but there are still things about it that I just don't get.

For example, the other day I was trying to text a friend wishing his mother well in facing an operation; but, for some reason, every time I typed the word mum it offered me nun with 'mum' only being available as an option.

I'd always supposed that where there were several options available, the word that predictive texting would offer you first would be the most common, or frequently used, of the various possibilities.

Now, the only reason I can think of for nun being more frequently employed than mum would be if Sisters in silent orders are getting round the non-speaking rule by texting one another on their 'cell phones'!

Even so, surely, they must have the occasional need to refer to their relevant Mum Superior...

Image: Photographer unknown. If you know, let me know so I can give credit where credit is unquestionably due.


scb said...

I find your phone's thought processes fascinating, and a bit worrisome. Interesting that it wants to turn all mums into nuns. (Although perhaps some days when the kids are being particularly bratty, perhaps mums DO want to turn into nuns, or wish they had earlier...)

With American spelling tending to dominate other ways of spelling, have you checked to see if it's happy with "mom" instead of "mum"? Although we both know that "mum" is the correct spelling, of course... ;)

ogessis -- what the phone does when predicting what text you are really trying to key in.

Suzanne said...

I have given up trying to understand the wheres & whyfor's of electronic equipment! I text in both French & English so I have to do away with predictive texting. But I think the problem probably exists in French as well! Not to mention the trouble I have changing my PC dictionary from English to French & back again!
sityp: predictive texting for rhum

Brian Sibley said...

GILL emails...

"Thank you for the credit re predictive texting! I have also wondered about 'nun' being the default word for 'mum'.

"However, things do seem to be changing, on my old handset putting in 'book' came up with 'cool' as a default, now it gives me 'book' as requested. Can it be that text is improving literacy skills and encouraging literary involvement, rather than the reverse? Would be nice to think so."

SharonM said...

Yes, predictive texting does tend drive me to using 'inappropriate language'.

On the subject of Holy people and mobile phones, I remember going to visit Buckfast Abbey when I was on a week's holiday in Devon in 2001. The cousin of a friend was a priest and he was at the Abbey at the time and it was arranged that he would give me a guided tour (which was highly interesting).

The first thing I remember on arrival at the Abbey was speaking to a monk and thinking it rather incongruous when he produced a mobile phone from his cassock.

Matt J said...

Happy New Year Brian! Big show coming at the Cartoon Museum, London to celebrate Ronald Searle's 90th birthday-starts 3rd March-maybe see you opening night?

Jen said...

What a great pic. Hope you find the photographer.Predictive text drove me nuts so turned it off.It could not even cope with the name Jenny- it always came up with 'Jellies'.

Renne: what you need after eating too many Venetian sweets

Brian Sibley said...

SCB - Well, I checked out your mum/mom theory (seemed likely to me) but when I typed 'MOM' it offered me 'NON' instead!

SUZANNE - Multilingual texting! Now, that's just showing off!! ;-)

GILL - A phone that gives you 'cool' instead of 'book' is really not good; so glad you've now got a more civilized instrument.

SHARON M - Talking of monks on mobiles, heard a news item on the Beeb today about a vicar who held a service to bless people's mobile phones. I do hope he began his sermon by saying, "My text for today..." :-)

MATT - We'll be there!

JEN - Turned to jelly by predictive texting! Appalling! Excellent Word Verification definition for RENNE, by the way. :-)

Phil said...

I go a phone with a (tiny) slide out QWERTY keyboard. Now I can text just as I type - with two thumbs!

Off-topic, but probably of interest to all here: new Gormenghast book discovered:


Good to see they turned to an expert for comment!

It made me wonder what works Mrs Dickens (was there a Mrs Dickens?) may have hidden in the attic, or Ann Hathaway for that matter.

sally: to compose a work in the style of one's spouse.