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Spell it out : the singular story of English spelling

Author: David Crystal
Publisher: London : Profile Books, 2012.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
This is an enlightening tour of English spelling that untangles 'stationery' from 'stationary' - and explains why the 'i before e except after c' rule is so misleading. Why is there an 'h' in ghost? William Caxton, inventor of the printing press and his Flemish employees are to blame: without a dictionary or style guide to hand in fifteenth century Bruges, the typesetters simply spelled it the way it sounded to the  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: David Crystal
ISBN: 9781846685675 1846685672
OCLC Number: 794816511
Description: vii, 328 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 22 cm
Contents: Contents note continued: 22. More etymologies --
A word I always mispell --
23. Famous spellings --
24. Spelling `rules' --
Mrs Malaprop on reading and spelling --
25. The role of personalities --
26. Another personality --
27. Printers and publishers --
Spelling wars --
28. Changing practices --
Roger McGough on spelling --
29. The Internet --
Lower case only --
30. Showing identity --
31. Unpredictability --
Ogden Nash on names --
32. Exotic vowels --
Disenvowelling --
33. Exotic consonants --
The spread of education --
34. Spelling noises --
Unspellable noises --
35. Abbreviating --
36. Learning the system --
George Crabbe on learning --
37. The future of English spelling --
A teaching appendix --
I. Avoiding isolation --
II. Towards a linguistics of spelling.
Responsibility: David Crystal.

Abstract:

This is an enlightening tour of English spelling that untangles 'stationery' from 'stationary' - and explains why the 'i before e except after c' rule is so misleading. Why is there an 'h' in ghost? William Caxton, inventor of the printing press and his Flemish employees are to blame: without a dictionary or style guide to hand in fifteenth century Bruges, the typesetters simply spelled it the way it sounded to the foreign ears, and it stuck. Seventy-five percent of English spelling is regular but twenty-five percent is complicated, and in "Spell It Out", our foremost linguistics expert David Crystal extends a helping hand to the confused and curious alike. He unearths the stories behind the rogue words that confound us, and explains why these peculiarities entered the mainstream, in an epic journey taking in sixth century monks, French and Latin upstarts, the Industrial Revolution and the internet. By learning the history and the principles, Crystal shows how the spellings that break all the rules become easier to get right.

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