Diane Frank, BA 1998
Gabby's Wonderful Wordspeller and Phonetic Dictionary" Fastest Spellchecker in the West
Type of Business
Education, Training and Library
Date of Operation
How did Evergreen prepare you for your professional life?
conducted my feasibility study and statistical surveys during my final year at Evergreen to enlighten me as to whether necessity existed for a resource tool which allowed someone to locate the spelling of their word by the way it sounds. Evergreen State College, as a interdisciplinary school, allowed me full and complete access to equipment, internet, scholars, foreign students, marketing avenues and the world in general, with free reign yet under the guidance of caring and knowledgeable professors. Having access to the world via the large and diverse foreign student population alone was of great asset. Employing the use of a statistics class enabled me to design an unbiased survey which would elicit honest answers, therefore honest results from a large diverse geographical, economic and cultural population. Posing as a student allowed me access to interviews and leaders of companies and organizations who would have been challenging to approach if I had not been a student. As a student, to be able to locate and access linguist specialists, lexicographers, librarians, business professors, typesetters, graphic designers, book binders, leaders in public administration, language specialists, teachers of many schools across the world and students new to this country learning English as a Foreign Language (ESL) was absolutely invaluable! Having access to the computers and software alone to design the interior of the dictionary, web pages, maneuver around on the internet for research allowed me access to penetrate a world which became my playground. The more I learned, the less I feared. My passion for my project grew enormously as I gained confidence that my undertaking would not be in vain and may actually succeed if I persevered. My access to students with various learning disabilities as well as those who were learning English as a first and second language combined well with my previous experience as a tutor of literacy within community colleges at four various states over the years. I designed the methodology for the book while at Evergreen and did not deviate from this design nary once in the 10 years of growing this phonetic dictionary to a 35,000 word base. As much as I tried, my thorough research and development which I originated as a student could not have been designed any better. The original design is thorough and fully functional. Not a one person has come up with a better idea to change the algorithm. "Gabby's Wordspeller & Phonetic Dictionary" is the first, only. true American English Phonetic Dictionary which invites you to 'find your word by the way it sounds'. My favorite responses from those who have purchased it are, "Awesome Book!" and "This is the bridge we have needed to enable people access standard dictionaries!". Within two months by 'word of mouth' marketing, this dictionary has already captured the attention and acceptance of the Texas Department of Education, Dylsexia.com, Dyslexia.org, Tacoma School District, Thurston County WorkSource Learning Disabilities, U of W Bookstore, National Association of Secondary School Principals, Colima University, Colima, Mexico, public libraries across the country as well as teachers, literacy centers, people in the trades, librarians and especially students of ESL. The genre' this dictionary has already penetrated incorporates the nation and any country who speaks ESL. Becoming a self-publisher and forming my own publishing company, DaMeFRANK Publishing has definitely had its rewards. I studied the publishing market while at TESC and had resolved to self-publish then and there. Knowledge provides comfort. And experiential knowledge is now my wisdom. I have created a FIRST and an original. By having studied my market I was enlightened as to why there has not and will not exist a phonetic dictionary for a long time coming. My research and book was invited to become part of a committee by the International Phonetic Association (IPA). This association designs ISO codes which digital spell checkers and dictionaries use today. I also became aware, while conducting my feasibility study at TESC, that this style of resource tool would be a bit of a hard sell at the beginning. Not only was I introducing to the world a 'new concept' but would also be educating them to the efficiency and speed this tool would lend to those who could not find their word within seconds with digital spell checkers and dictionaries. There are today, forums full of people airing their complaints about the inadequacies of spell checkers. And although I am not allowed to promote commercially my book on a large percentage of these sites, I am quietly humbled that I have created a tool which will help millions once they catch wind that "Gabby's" exists. This is going to be a fun ride!