Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling

By David Wolman

When did ghost collect its silent h? Will our on-line world kill the only in rhubarb? And used to be it particularly rocket scientists who invented spell-check?

In Righting the mummy Tongue, writer David Wolman tells the cockamamie tale of English spelling, when it comes to a wordly event from English battlefields to Google headquarters. alongside the best way, he joins spelling reformers picketing the nationwide spelling bee, visits the city in Belgium—not England—where the 1st English books have been revealed, and takes a street journey with the boss at Merriam-Webster Inc. Wolman punctuates the adventure with spelling wars waged through the likes of Samuel Johnson, Noah Webster, Theodore Roosevelt, and Andrew Carnegie.

Rich with historical past, popular culture, interest, and humor, Righting the mummy Tongue explores how English spelling got here to be, lines efforts to fix the code, and imagines the form of tomorrow's words.

Show description

Quick preview of Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling PDF

Show sample text content

A vocabulary of 10000 phrases isn’t too outstanding: the common high-school graduate 159 RIGHTING the mummy TONGU E has, approximately talking, a sixty thousand–word vocabulary. 2 right nouns additionally triggered difficulties for Earnest’s software, as did sloppy handwriting. yet different occasions, the trip-up used to be as a result of a misspelling. The letter string s-p-i wouldn’t have matched something at the glossary, so it's going to have brought on a software errors. Earnest had inadvertently outfitted the 1st spell-checker: a 10 thousand–word grasp checklist of properly spelled phrases, opposed to which different phrases have been in comparison.

We’d nonetheless have slavery and ladies nonetheless wouldn’t be allowed to vote. ” The historical past of development, she persisted, is basically made from episodes within which humans have “tried to enhance the lot of the bulk. Spelling reform is not any diverse. ” while she acknowledged this, i presumed again to the oft-quoted Oxford professor, Max Müller, who instructed an viewers on the 1901 annual assembly of the nationwide academic organization that useful spelling reformers “should by no means shut eye nor sleep. they need to repeat a similar factor time and again, undismayed via indifference, ridicule, contempt, and all of the different guns which the lazy global is familiar with so good tips on how to hire opposed to those that enterprise to disturb the peace.

Boston” or “Baastin,” “tomayto” or “tomahto”? this day, accents and dialects are often valued as symptoms of nearby identification, really in an international during which infrequent languages are demise out at a price of approximately one each weeks. 31 convinced, a few humans glance down on or as much as specific accents as a result of linked features or stereotypes. From a linguistics point of view, even though, accents are by no means greater or worse, right or mistaken. they simply are, and their inevitability has a behavior of dooming phonetic-based revisions of English orthography.

I stopped the day with spelling assessments. the 1st used to be simply 3 phrases lengthy; I needed to write out the subsequent nonsense phrases: spreft, spligrity, yetterswipper. I acquired all 3 right. The fifty-word spelling attempt used to be subsequent, and that i figured this greater pattern might, eventually, disclose my deficit. the various hardest phrases have been: exaggerate, cacophony, camouflage, malfeasance, belligerent, and pusillanimous. I nailed exaggerate yet botched the others, even supposing I’d scribbled belligerent appropriately within the margin whilst attempting to make sure what regarded correct.

Mary’s examining fading frescos and discussing the Catholic Church’s backlash opposed to English after Wycliffe’s gutsy translation, we got here to a weird architectural aspect, the squint. an oblong gap within the wall along the most region for seating, at the back of which lies an extra row of pews, the squint’s goal is unknown. One speculation is that whereas Mass was once lower than means within the sanctuary, one other provider could 36 REGIME swap were held during this smaller aspect chapel. in the course of the squint, humans may perhaps regulate what used to be taking place in firstclass.

Download PDF sample

Rated 4.57 of 5 – based on 23 votes