Spell It Out

The singular story of English spelling

David Crystal
NZD $27.99

A unique journey through English spelling, untangling the fascinating origins of its greatest eccentricities.

Why is there an 'h' in ghost? William Caxton, inventor of the printing press and his Flemish employees are to blame: without a dictionary or style guide to hand in fifteenth century Bruges, the typesetters simply spelled it the way it sounded to their foreign ears, and it stuck. Seventy-five per cent of English spelling is regular but twenty-five per cent is complicated, and in Spell It Out our foremost linguistics expert David Crystal extends a helping hand to the confused and curious alike.

He unearths the stories behind the rogue words that confound us, and explains why these peculiarities entered the mainstream, in an epic journey taking in sixth century monks, French and Latin upstarts, the Industrial Revolution and the internet. By learning the history and the principles, Crystal shows how the spellings that break all the rules become easier to get right.

Author bio:

David Crystal is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. He has written many books and articles in fields ranging from forensic linguistics and ELT to the liturgy and Shakespeare. He is the author of The Story of English in 100 Words, and his Stories of English is a Penguin Classic.

Category: Writing & Language
ISBN: 9781846685682
Publisher: Profile Books
Imprint: Profile Trade
Pub Date: October 2013
Page Extent: 336
Format: Paperback - B format
Age: 0 - 0
Subject: Language