Early this evening my wife and I were heading to meet friends for dinner. Her niece texted her in Korean to the effect of ‘what are you doing?’. My wife was driving, so she told me to text back (in English) ‘We are going to have dinner with church friends’. My wife uses the autocomplete function in Korean and English. When I finished typing with, the suggested next word was froliend. What kind of autocomplete program has froliend in its dictionary?

When we got home, I searched online for that spelling. Google returns about 19 results (‘omit[ting] some very similar entries’). In some cases, the word does not actually appear on the linked webpage; in others, it is the result of mis-scanning old books or newspapers (for example ‘from end to end’ > ‘froli end to end’). When it does actually appear, most of the results are clearly (and all of the results are arguably) a misspelling of friend, but how? i, o and l are in close proximity on the keyboard/touchpad, but any typist bad enough to type those three together would surely make similar mis-typings throughout. (There are other mis-typings, but not to that extent). Also, one result is a sketch drawing with the words ‘i want a best froliend..who becomes my baby and my lover and one day my husband :)’ (that is, the words appear on the drawing, not on the webpage).

The typed results are :

(in a forum discussing an episode of a tv program) AShley makes a (gasp) froliend named griffin but he tells her he’s gay

(in a Yahoo Answers forum) My froliend recently downloaded diablo 2 from

(on the WhatsApp Hoaxes Facebook Page) This is an absolutely correct piece of advice from our North East froliend/s.

(in a Pakistani foreign currency exchange forum) Bhai aap forum pe postain kerty raho rozana phir apnay kisi froliend se help lo jo pehly kar rha ho woh kis pe lagaye lagado ahista ahista apko … [presumably Urdu typed in English letters (I’ve seen some of my students do that); froliend may actually be an attempt at English friend – note the English words forum and help]

(in the comments to a newspaper article) Mark, yes my froliend, I am fatigued, but not from what you think

(in a motoring forum) I would ecpect you froliend to have SERIOUS BURNS on his rear if the seat heater caused it

(in another motoring forum) comme quoi c’est quand même plus costaud qu’un Froliend Autrichienne [Google Translate doesn’t recognise Froliend as a French word. Perhaps it is meant to be English friend, but why not say qu’un Ami Autrichienne?]

(in a forum mainly in a script I don’t recognise [????Indian]) Enter Your Froliend Contact info

(in a question to the organisers of the Colour Run) I have another froliend interested in a spot.

So the spelling exists (as a mistake), but why would it be in the program’s dictionary, and why would the program suggest it over the much more common (and correct) friend?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s