The Jane Austen Word List

One of the things that’s tricky about writing historical fiction like Shades of Milk and Honey is getting the vocabulary right. There are a lot of words which are obviously anachronisms but there others which aren’t. Short of looking up every word in a novel, there’s no way to really know if a seemingly innocuous word like “hello” exists yet.

So here’s my planfor Glamour in Glass.

I’ve created a list of all the words that are in the collected works of Jane Austen to use for my spellcheck dictionary. It will flag any word that she didn’t use and I can then look those up to see if it was in use in 1815.  It also includes some of Miss Austen’s specific spellings like “shew” and “chuse.”

It won’t be perfect. For instance it won’t flag words whose meanings have changed, like “check” or “staid” but it will be an improvement.

For the curious, there are 14,793 words on the list.

My problem right now is that I’ve tried a couple of different sets of instructions to create a dictionary for OpenOffice and have been unsuccessful. I need help. So… Is there anyone out there that can help me with the conversion?

Here is the Jane Austen Word List as a .txt. file.

This is my attempt at making the Jane Austen dictionary extension for OpenOffice. It will go through installation, but not show up as a dictionary.

EDITED TO ADD January 19, 2013: I did wind up getting this working and it was a matter of setting my mine language as something other than English, then using the Jane Austen dictionary as the custom spellcheck dictionary for that language. I chose French for my purposes.

If you are curious about the words that I wound up cutting from Glamour in Glass, I’ve got a list of them.

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