By Christopher Upward

The background of English Spelling finds the historical past of contemporary English spelling, tracing its origins and improvement from previous English as much as the current day.

  • Includes a wealth of data and information on English spelling no longer to be had anyplace else
  • Features a complementary web site with extra material at www.historyofenglishspelling.info
  • Includes targeted insurance of the contributions from French, Latin, Greek - and the various different languages - to our present orthography
  • Serves as a spouse quantity to Geoffrey Hughes's A historical past of English Words within the related series

Content:
Chapter 1 creation and assessment (pages 1–13):
Chapter 2 England and English from the Romans to the Vikings (pages 14–32):
Chapter three The previous English Roots of contemporary English Spelling (pages 33–64):
Chapter four The Decline and Revival of English within the heart English interval (pages 65–85):
Chapter five The Franco?Latin point (pages 86–172):
Chapter 6 a few Sound and Spelling advancements in center and sleek English (pages 173–193):
Chapter 7 The Greek Contribution (pages 194–227):
Chapter eight The unique enter (pages 228–292):
Chapter nine Reformers, Lexicographers and the Parting of the methods (pages 293–314):

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Additional info for The History of English Spelling

Example text

ModE - with the vowel /q/ derives from OE -: cildhad ‘childhood’. g. loath/ loth from la2. In compounds, ModE  has a short value: bonfire not *bonefire, holiday not *holyday (see p. 40). The OE  is preserved in tadpole (not *toadpoll ). ° • • Æ OE  had short and long sound values. • The letter  and its sound may occur as mutations (that is, alterations in quality caused by a following vowel) of  in different forms of the same word in OE, depending on the following sound: dæL ‘day’, plural daLas ‘days’; habban ‘to have’, hæfde ‘had’.

Viewed from the perspective of Modern English, the Scandinavian word-stock has integrated almost indistinguishably into the spelling patterns of English as a whole: compare, for example, window (< Old Norse vindauga ‘wind-eye’) and widow (< Old English widewe); similarly, Scandinavian-derived cast beside Old English last, take beside make, (boat)swain beside rain. • Most Scandinavian-derived words in Modern English are simple monosyllables with unremarkable spellings representing their pronunciation in a predictable way: bait, bark (of a tree), bask, bloom, boon, brink, call, clip, crawl, crook, cut, die, dirt, down ‘feathers’, droop, flat, flit, fog, gait, gap, gasp, gust, hit, ill, lift, link, loan, loose, muck, odd, rid, sly, snub, sprint, stab, stack, swirl, till, trust, want, wing.

Short  in OE could also lead to other vowels in ModE: , as in beran ‘to bear’, tredan ‘to tread’, and /ij/ spelt  in bicJe2an ‘to bequeath’, etan ‘to eat’, mete ‘meat’, Jefan ‘to weave’. ModE /ij/ spelt : feld ‘field’, Leldan ‘to yield’. Further variations are seen in secLan ‘to say’, JeL ‘way’. • The contrasting long/short vowels in the ModE pair break/breakfast represent a recurrent pattern, whereby an OE-derived word (in this case brecan ‘break’) appears with a short vowel in the first element of a compound, although the ModE base form has a long vowel.

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