Why Does T9 Offer Silly Non-Words?

I was alerted by Stefan @ IntoMobile of this little video
regarding the silly words that are pre-programmed into the T9 predictive text dictionary. The video is actually pondering why curse words are not included, but I am more interested in the silly non-words that are included such as shiv, pigt, and others. Don’t pretend like you haven’t noticed that some real words are not included, while other, purely nonsensical words are pre-programmed.

I’d like to know two things, really, in regards to T9:

1. Who in the world is in charge of these pre-programmed dictionaries? Seriously, and why on EARTH would they include non-words in a system that is designed and created to SIMPLIFY the process of typing in conversations on your mobile? When you really put some thought behind it, it’s completely illogical and against the whole reason for T9 in the first place. I found their website at www.t9.com, but there’s nothing about who, why, or anything useful in that regard.

2. Why on EARTH has no manufacturer (or third party, for that matter) come up with a solution for me to be able to edit this dictionary? Sure, there’s some hacks to reset the dictionary on S60 handsets, should I accidentally save ‘yot’ instead of ‘you’. I know that I can (and do) open up a blank SMS template and add the few custom words I know I’ll use to the dictionary. However, why isn’t this a simple .txt file that I can open up and remove words and add words as I see fit?

Hopefully, you use T9. If you don’t, you’d better be using Motorola’s horrid iTap system, so long as you’re not multi-tapping things in still. Have you not wondered before who in the world is responsible for this nonsense?

3 Responses to Why Does T9 Offer Silly Non-Words?

  1. EvilTapMaster January 24, 2008 at 4:26 am #

    Question 1: because some compression algorithms capable of performing on a very constrained device have the strange property of allowing you to compress more good words in a given amount of memory if you also throw in some non-words.

    Question 2: Why no solution for editing? Because both phone makers, as well as carriers, who dictate phone features, do not place a high enough priority on the ability to sync and move files from/to the phone. But yes it is a great idea.

    Bonus Question: Why are offensive words censored? Because, unlike a spelling checker, for example, these words pop up as suggestions, even when not intended by the user. You aren’t prevented from inputting “naughty” words, but they don’t want to be responsible for having those words invade your eyeballs if you haven’t asked for them.

  2. Ben Smith January 24, 2008 at 2:07 pm #


    See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hcoT6yxFoU

  3. olly January 24, 2008 at 4:10 pm #

    In general I agree with everything, but to nitpick: shiv is an acceptable alteration of “chiv” (a homemade knife). 😉


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