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My language settings says I have a lot of English variants installed: English (United States), English, English (Australia), English (Canada), etc, etc. But I have no need for these other Englishes, only "English (United States)".

This causes me a lot of trouble, since depending on what program I'm using, the spell checker will tell me that I'm spelling things incorrectly because I'm using American instead of British spelling, and my language preferences in this respect don't seem to be sticking.

Also, every time I open my language settings, I'm warned that "The langauge support is not installed completely," that "Some translations or writing aids available for your chosen languages are not installed yet." It lists these as the packages that I need to install:

libreoffice-l10n-en-za
thunderbird-locale-en-gb
mythes-en-au
libreoffice-l10n-en-gb
libreoffice-help-en-gb
hunspell-en-ca

Yet at no point did I choose New Zealand English or Canadian English as my chosen languages. Why would I need a spellchecker for Canadian English? I don't get it.

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This is related to Ubuntu's organisation of translations and language support in language packs. There is one language pack per language, and in a few cases - of which English is one - there are multiple translations into a language.

As regards the prompting for missing language support when you open the Language Support tool, I can just recommend you to accept to make it shut up. Actually I'm guilty of this behaviour, and the purpose is to prevent situations when full language support for the current language is not installed. (Think systems with multiple users and languages.) Anyway, the redundant support files shouldn't hurt.

OTOH you claim they do, and that smells like a bug. Which applications are not able to distinguish between spellcheckers for the various flavours of English?

Edit:

If the confusion happens in Firefox, this answer might apply.

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