Posts Tagged: Spelling

Spelling Reformed

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At The Awl, Annie Abrams gives the history of a 19th-century newspaper, Di Anglo-Sacsun, and its editors’ attempts to make literacy more available to the public, by developing their own phonetic alphabet that the newspaper was written in. Abrams also dives into the controversy surrounding the name of the paper:

Andrews and Boyle pointedly explained that they did not choose the title “in a partisan or national spirit, or with a view to render prominent the dysfunction between the different branches of the human brotherhood,” but instead “because it seems to us to contain a proper allusion to the language which it is our primary object to reform.”

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Spellbound

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Unaccustomed, vicious, onomatopoeia… We all have that one word we can never spell correctly. Paris Review blogger Sadie Stein’s was “Wednesday.” “It’s like a mental block,” she writes, “or maybe, an increased reliance on technology.” Read the rest of the mini-essay here.

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No Wonder We Need Spelling Bees to Remember It All

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Silent letters, multiple possible sounds per letter, counterintuitive letter combinations…why is English spelling so damn weird?

David Crystal, author of linguistic history Spell It Out, explains the numerous and conflicting forces that, both intentionally and not, warped our orthography. Just one of many fascinating anecdotes:

…Flemish typesetters didn’t know English well, so spelled some words in a Flemish way.

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