Spell It Out: The Curious, Enthralling and Extraordinary Story of English Spelling

Spell It Out: The Curious, Enthralling and Extraordinary Story of English Spelling

THE FASCINATING AND SURPRISING HISTORY OF ENGLISH SPELLING FROM DAVID CRYSTAL, EVERYONE'S FAVOURITE EXPERT LOGOPHILE

With The Story of English in 100 Words, David Crystal took us on a tour through the history of our language. Now, with Spell It Out, he takes on the task of answering all the questions about how we spell: "Why is English spelling so difficult?" Or "Why are good spellers so proud of their achievement that when they see a misspelling they condemn the writer as sloppy, lazy, or uneducated?" In thirty-seven short, engaging and informative chapters, Crystal takes readers on a history of English spelling, starting with the Roman missionaries' sixth century introduction of the Roman alphabet and ending with where the language might be going. He looks individually at each letter in the alphabet and its origins. He considers the question of vowels and how people developed a way to tell whether or not it was long or short. He looks at influences from other cultures, and explains how English speakers understood that the "o" in "hopping" was a short vowel, rather than the long vowel of "hoping". If you've ever asked yourself questions like "Why do the words "their", "there" and "they're" sound alike, but mean very different things?" or "How can we tell the difference between "charge" the verb and "charge" the noun?" David Crystal's Spell It Out will spell it all out for you.

Title:Spell It Out: The Curious, Enthralling and Extraordinary Story of English Spelling
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781250003478
Format Type:

    Spell It Out: The Curious, Enthralling and Extraordinary Story of English Spelling Reviews

  • Paul Bryant

    Scene 1 : Scriptorium of the monastery of St Giles the Bleeding. Year : 874 ADWinter sunlight streams through the recently installed stained glass. Outside, several peasant children are dying from scr...

  • Al BitÓ

    On the one hand, those readers who might approach this book in the hope that it will assist them in learning how to spell English words will, sadly, be quite disappointed. Indeed, one might argue that...

  • Jonathan Karmel

    I found this history of English spelling interesting enough to skim to the end but not really interesting enough to read every page. English has irregular spelling for a number of reasons. The origina...

  • Tracey Sinclair

    Obviously not a book for everyone - even a word geek like me realises that not everyone wants to read a book about spelling - but if this is a subject that interests you, it's fascinating and readable...

  • Magdalena Golden

    Not as entertaining as Making Sense (The Glamorous Story of English Grammar) but it definitely convinced me that there is some method to the madness of English spelling :D...

  • Justin Neville

    As ever, David Crystal writes accessibly about language. He doesn't have a Bill Bryson flair for storytelling or making potentially dry subjects entertaining, but he's not without skills in that depar...

  • Lee

    The history of English spelling is not the most thrilling of subjects. David Crystal takes this not-very-interesting topic and manages to craft a slightly-less-uninteresting book from it. Parts even r...

  • Quiver

    Readable and enjoyable. Short chapters and down-to-earth explanations of why we spell as we do. Words used to be spelled in as many as sixty different ways. Depending on which influenceÔÇöpersonal, cu...

  • Anne

    I certainly didn't expect that I'd be able to read an entire book on spelling but I guess the author was just that good at making his points in a clear and, dare I say it, enjoyable way. It didn't hur...

  • David

    I found this book, or rather it found me, on the freebie shelf at work, and it was a happy encounter. Chapter 18, on pronunciation patterns at the time of the Great Vowel Shift, was particularly inter...