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The History of English Spelling, PDF eBook

The History of English Spelling PDF

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The History of English Spelling

Fifty years ago, G. H. Vallins contributed a book on spelling to the Language Library. Since then, there have been several major surveys, and new opportunities to explore the history of English words. The time is therefore ripe for a fresh presentation, and this is what George Davidson has done, building on the huge collection of historical data amassed by Christopher Upward, and giving it narrative shape. I have been waiting for a source-book like this for a long time, and I m delighted that it has found a place in this series.

David Crystal, Language Library series editor

Few languages are riddled with as many spelling inconsistencies and irregularities as English. Why is there such dissonance between the sounds of English and the spelling used to represent them? The answer lies in the history of the language itself. The History of English Spelling reveals the rich and complex history of Modern English spelling, tracing its origins and development from Old English up to the present day. The book provides a highly detailed, letter-by-letter analysis of the Old English basis of Modern English spelling, followed by in-depth coverage of the contributions from French, Latin, Greek and the many other languages that have contributed to current orthography. Upward and Davidson also explore events in the socio-political history of England as the setting for developments in spelling, along with the works of a number of lexicographers (especially Johnson and Webster), and various proposals for spelling reform. The History of English Spelling reveals the richness of the complex and often frustrating alphabetic spelling system used in the English language.

A complementary website with additional research material can be found at www.historyofenglishspelling.info

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