Good question. I think I have had that setting for years. I really cannot remember when I first activated it. I do have a number of files and folders whose names start with an underscore, and they do sort to the front of the list, so I assume that must have had something to do with it.[/quote]
Previously, names beginning with an underscore were sorted to the front of the list even if Word Sort was not set, so perhaps wanting them at the front doesn't seem like a reason to have set Word Sort.
I wasn't even aware of the setting until now, but my understanding of the description of Word Sort in the help is that it is relevant only to hyphens and apostrophes.
In any case, the most pertinent question is whether the behavior was intentionally changed in 11.5.4. If not, all the other questions, comments and opinions are probably irrelevant.