I'm trying to get Norwegian spell checking working in Emacs, and I'm having trouble with the Norwegian dictionary.


  • Ubuntu 17.04
  • GNU Emacs 25.1.1 (x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu, GTK+ Version 2.24.31) of 2017-02-05 (installed with Nix)
  • Also tried with GNU Emacs 25.1.1 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu, GTK+ Version 3.22.11) of 2017-03-29, modified by Debian (installed with Apt-get)
  • Spacemacs v.0.200.9

I use the Spacemacs layer spell-checking for spell checking. This "just works" for text in English.

Things I've tried

  1. Activate the Spacemacs layer spell-checking. Spell checking English text now "just works".
  2. I M-x ispell-change-dictionary and pick norsk from the menu suggestions. This shows up in *Messages*:

    Local Ispell dictionary set to norsk
    Starting new Ispell process /usr/bin/aspell with norsk dictionary...
    Error in post-command-hook (flyspell-post-command-hook): (error "Error: The file \"/usr/lib/aspell/norsk\" can not be opened for reading.")
  3. I check the folder, finding filenames not matching:

    $ ls /usr/lib/aspell | grep no
  4. The documentation for the ispell minor mode recommends installing Ispell. I install the Norwegian ispell dictionary, same error as above.

  5. Another answer recommends installing hunspell. I install the Norwegian hunspell dictionary, same error as above.
  6. I also installed the Norwegian aspell dictionary. Same error as above.

Any suggestions? Any relevant information I can provide?

  • I suspect the issue fom the post-command hook. Do other dictionaries works?
    – DJJ
    Commented May 20, 2017 at 11:53
  • English checking works as expected. I'll try a few others and report back.
    – Teodor
    Commented May 20, 2017 at 11:56
  • After installing the German Aspell dictionary (sudo apt install aspell-de), spell checking for German works.
    – Teodor
    Commented May 20, 2017 at 12:06
  • I don't know where the problem comes from. I installed aspell-no and got the same result. I'm tempted to change the name of the files?
    – DJJ
    Commented May 20, 2017 at 12:23
  • I haven't tried that (yet). Should the possible options to select from the ispell-change-dictionary match the contents of /usr/lib/aspell or a different system folder?
    – Teodor
    Commented May 20, 2017 at 12:24

1 Answer 1


The trouble seems to be with ispell. I managed to get around it by using hunspell instead.

  1. Install Hunspell and its Norwegian dictionary

    sudo apt install hunspell hunspell-no
  2. Configure Emacs to use Hunspell for spell checking

    • Set the variable Ispell program name to hunspell
  3. Use the Norwegian dictionary

    • M-x ispell-change-dictionary then nb_NO

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