English Spelling

To understand the nature of English spelling today you need to probe beneath the surface. For a start there is the English language itself. In some respects this resembles a building, with an Anglo-Saxon foundation, a superstructure that in many respects is Norman-French, and fixtures and fittings acquired from all over the world, in particular from the classical Latin and Greek. Its literary achievements are well known but today it is also a world lingua franca, owing in part to the simplicity of its grammar but also to the British colonisation and the spread of US political and economic power.

The History of English Spelling examines development of English spelling over the centuries and explores how modern spelling has derived from a number of different influences and factors.

Irregularities looks in depth at the underlying rules of English spelling and explains how they are broken with such frequency. That page is a précis of a longer article that can be read in pdf format.

Economic and Social Costs of English Spelling looks at the consequences of such an irregular spelling for the individual and society in terms of the extra time that children of the English Speaking World need to learn to read and write compared with other children and the impact on those who never manage to memorise all the spellings that are needed for everyday use.