Type in or copy the word and choose "Add"
You really should mark these words with their correct language in your document. Language is a character level attribute, so you can simply select the word (or use find/change) and change the language. Spell check and hyphenation rules are based on the assigned language. If you don't want something to be checked or hyphenated at all you can assign No Language.
Thanks for attempting to help, but as I stated in my original post, clicking Add does nothing. The word is not added to my dictionary, and subsequent appearances of the word in the document are flagged as suspect.
I understand that I can specify that a word or phrase is a different language, but this is a tedious process which becomes even more so if I have to find/change multiple instances of the word in a doc, not to mention if the word appears in many docs.
What I was hoping is that there was a simple way to be able to add non-English words to my user dictionary so that they are not flagged as suspect ever again, regardless of what doc they appear in. Is this not possible?
The benefit of Peter's method is that applying the language attribute also allows hyphenation to work properly. Jobs differ, but in my work, spelling is supposed to have been checked before the files come to me; however, I'm reponsible for h&j. I appreciate InDesign's help with hyphentating various alphabetic languages, but there is no "language" attribute for romanized CJK.
I am the writer, editor, and layout guy all in one, so it's up to me to ensure proper spelling. I don't use hyphenation in my layouts, so that's of no concern to me.
What is of concern is to be able to quickly add foreign words to a dictionary so that InDesign will find only misspelled words in the future. Why the heck I can't just Ignore All or Add an accented word to my user dictionary with a single click is beyond me.
I'm not in the habit of adding words tothe dictionary (nor using Spell Check, for that matter -- I prefer a real proofreader), but I would have thought you could add the words.
Depending on how many ofhtes words you use, you could consider adding GREP styles to the paragraph styles to assign the language.
Why the heck I can't just Ignore All or Add an accented word to my user dictionary with a single click is beyond me.
I would guess that it's because the folks who are in charge of adding features to InDesign didn't figure that anyone was going to need a one-click way to do this. As a language-industry pro I am somewhat horrified that you overtly want to pollute your dictionary with words from multiple languages... but hey, this is your project and your working environment, so it's your call. That being said, I can think of a few potential workarounds:
1) Adding a keyboard shortcut for Edit -> Spelling -> User Dictionary. That way, once your word is highlighted, you only need to enter two keystrokes - one for your shortcut, then Enter to add the highlighted word.
2) If you were to upgrade to a later version of InDesign, you might be able to use Adobe Configurator to create a custom panel that would have a single button to add a word to a user dictionary. Unfortunately, it seems that it's not available for CS4.
3) Put in a feature request, and wait.
Maybe I am not explaining myself clearly enough. Let me try again.
I start spell check (Command-I) in a document that is primarily in English, but with some foreign words.
In the Check Spelling dialog box, InDesign highlights a word as "Not in Dictionary." In this case, the word is Māori.
I click Add in the Check Spelling dialog box and nothing happens.
I click Ignore All and InDesign highlights the next "Not in Dictionary" word, which happens to be the next instance of Māori.
Clearly InDesign isn't adding this word to the dictionary, nor is it ignoring it.
I don't care if I'm adding it to my user dictionary or a different custom dictionary, but can anyone tell me (step by step) how to add it to any dictionary so that it is never again highlighted as "Not in Dictionary"?
Well, shucks. In IDSC4 I, too, cannot add "Māori" to the dictionary English: USA. I can add an ASCII word to the list in ID, export to a text file, add "Māori" there, re-import the list, and Māori works. Not much fun, but maybe one of the scripters can diddle something. Surely other dictionaries don't disallow diacritics.
And now that I've added "Māori" I cannot remove it!
Oh well, I guess it's good that we both have a very appropriate and correct spelling of "Maori" in our respective user dictionaries.
I tried this in both CS4 and CS5.5. Sorry for not reading your post thoroughly, Owen - in CS4 the "Add to Dictionary" does nothing. In CS5.5, it adds Māori to the dictionary, and behaves exactly as you'd expect. Haven't yet tried in CS5 or CS6.
I'm disappointed that something seemingly so basic and simple is impossible to do in CS4, but at least I now know that it's not just me having difficulty.
Aside from upgrading to CS5, can anyone suggest a work-around for adding such words to any dictionary, or marking them as some other language so that InDesign will at least ignore them during spell check?
Have you looked at importing a word list? It's a long shot, but it might work.
I'm a little surprised that you seemingly can't add an accented word to an English custom user dictionary. But I'm not too surprised - depending on your style guide of choice, accented words are loan words by definition in English. I was not able to add words that had a-with-acute to my English custom user dictionary... but if I marked the word "Bláh" as Spanish and tried to add it to a custom Spanish user dictionary, it worked just fine. My investigations into multilingual indexes in InDesign incline me to believe that, for CS4 at least, there's some kind of gatekeeper that has a list of permissible glyphs in each language, and it won't let you add words with furriner glyphs. I can add Cyrillic gibberish to the Russian dictionary... but not to the English or Spanish dictionary.
No, I haven't investigated importing a word list. That's a lot of extra work just to have ID CS4 ignore properly-spelled foreign words. I was hoping that there was a simple way for me to spell check my documents, but it appears that's not possible with InDesign CS4. Oh well… Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions and attempted to help.