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Word to feature UK dialects

A Microsoft project to create downloadable dictionaries to reflect the UK's rich local dialect heritage is drawing to a close. Users around the UK have been asked to submit their favourite regional dialect words, and the software giant said it has had thousands of responses so far. It said that the local dialect dictionaries designed to work with Microsoft Office will be available for free download in July.

Jonathan Robinson, curator of English accents and dialects at The British Library, which is assisting Microsoft on the task, said: "Britain has a rich heritage of different accents and dialects and, contrary to popular opinion, there is still a great deal of lexical diversity across the UK - where else would you find the words 'cob', 'batch', 'bun', 'barm cake', 'stotty cake', 'scuffler' and 'bread cake', all meaning bread roll?"

Darren Strange, Microsoft Office 2007 product manager, said: “It's the diversity of Britain's dialects that has led us to develop the new dictionaries. So in future, your Microsoft Outlook will be able to recognise e-mails where you ask your 'marra' to get you a 'buttie' instead of inserting red lines beneath all the unfamiliar words. "We wanted to give everyone the chance to adapt and personalise their software, and at the same time recognise the diversity of dialects we use here in the UK that makes us completely different to any other country in the world."

Microsoft is now in the process of sifting through the thousands of responses with a view to compiling dictionaries specific to certain areas. Some areas such as Devon, Yorkshire and Lancashire have been well represented in the project while others, such as Cambridge, have so far elicited few entries.

Microsoft has extended its original end-of-May deadline, giving people one extra week to submit words. Those wishing to contribute should send their entries to dialect@microsoft.

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