The Bobdot Converter

You can use this page to convert some text, such as a story, article or poem, into the Bobdot spelling system, described here. The Bobdot converter makes use of diacritics and respelling in order to show sounds in respelled text similar to the sounds covered by the Phondot system. The Bobdot system is unique in one respect. Its particular use of diacritics has the additional result that the stressed syllable is always apparent.

The Bobdot converter was developed by Alan Beale. If you are interested in improved spelling systems for English, check out his web site www.wyrdplay.org, which includes a converter for four other systems in addition to Bobdot.

Converter Input

You can enter text to be converted in one of three ways. You can type the text in directly to the text entry box below. You can paste text from another window on your computer into the text entry box. Or you can upload a file from your computer's hard disk for conversion.

If you upload a file, the file must be a text file (.txt) or an HTML file (.htm or .html). Other kinds of files, including Word files (.doc) or PDF files (.pdf) will either be rejected by the converter, or will produce nonsensical output.

Please do not abuse the converter by asking it to convert extremely large files or binary files.

Converter Output

The converter output is displayed as a web page. You can use your browser's Save As function to make a copy of the page. The page has two parts: first, a description of any problems encountered by the converter and then the actual converted text. If you save a copy of the page, you can use Microsoft Word or any other program capable of editing HTML to remove all text other than the converted text.

The Bobdot converter is not perfect. For some words, the converter will be unsure of the correct output. Words like this will be flagged in the converted output, so they can easily be found and edited if you save the results.

The conversion is based on a dictionary of pronunciations. It is possible that you may pronounce some words differently than shown in the dictionary, and so would write them differently yourself. Such differences should not be regarded as errors in conversion. If there are any such differences in output you save, you are free to edit the results to indicate pronunciations you believe to be more correct.

Note that Bobdot calls for the use of "citation pronunciation". The dictionary used by the converter does not yet represent all words in this form, and so you may see some deviations from correct Bobdot in its output.

In addition to the likelihood that there will be some words that cannot be converted properly, it is unfortunately possible that the converter could simply fail due to a programming error. If this happens, instead of converted output, your browser will display some error messages in programming jargon. If this should happen to you, please send the error report and a copy of your input file to Bob Boden (bobjoy4 at hotmail.com) for analysis.

In the first part of the converter's output, before the actual converted text, you will see up to three lists of words which gave the converter trouble.

  1. The first possible list you may see is a list of unknown words. These are words which do not appear in the converter's dictionary. Usually, these words are proper names. In the converted file, any unknown word is left unchanged, and is surrounded by red vertical bars, like |this|, so that you can edit it if you wish.

  2. The second list you may see is a list of ambiguous words. These are words which can be converted in more than one way, or words where the program (which does not understand English grammar) is not certain of the correct conversion. The word tear is an example of the first sort of word. The converter cannot tell if you mean the verb tear (spelled ter in Bobdot) or the noun tear (spelled tir in Bobdot).

    A different kind of ambiguous word is the word hoped. The converter is not sure if this is the past tense of hope or of hop. It may seem obvious to you which is correct, but the converter knows there are words like worship and counsel where a final consonant is not doubled in the past tense.

    In either of these cases, the converter makes a list of all the possible ways the word could be converted, and encloses the list in red braces to catch your attention. The two examples above would be displayed as: {ter|tir} and {hopt|hópt}

  3. The third list of words which you may see is a list of uppercase words. These words might be ordinary words that have been uppercased for emphasis (HELP!), or they might be acronyms like US or IRA. In some cases, the conversion of an acronym might not be suitable. For instance, if the acronym IRA were converted as the proper name Ira, the spelling ÍRUH would be misleading.

    When the converter encounters an uppercase word like this, it assumes it has been uppercased for emphasis, and converts it normally. If there are any words on the list for which this is not appropriate, you can edit the output yourself after saving it.

Running the Converter

Enter the text to convert

Or supply the name of a text or HTML file to convert