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

Righting the Mother Tongue

From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling

By: David Wolman

eBook | 15 December 2023

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**"A funny and fact-filled look at our astoundingly inconsistent written language, from Shakespeare to spell-check." —**St. Petersburg Times

Righting the Mother Tongue tells the cockamamie story of English spelling. When did ghost acquire its silent 'h'? Will cyberspace kill the one in rhubarb? And was it really rocket scientists who invented spell-check?

Seeking to untangle the twisted story of English spelling, David Wolman takes us on a wordly adventure from English battlefields to Google headquarters. Along the way, he pickets with spelling reformers outside the national spelling bee, visits the town in Belgium, not England, where the first English books were printed, and takes a road trip with the boss at Merriam-Webster Inc. The journey is punctuated by spelling battles waged by the likes of Samuel Johnson, Noah Webster, Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Carnegie, and the members of today's Simplified Spelling Society.

Rich with history, pop culture, curiosity, and humor, Righting the Mother Tongue explores how English spelling came to be, traces efforts to mend the code, and imagines the shape of tomorrow's words.

"Lively, informative . . . prov[es] that the English spelling system is a hopeless tangle of French, Dutch, Latin, German and much, much more and really makes no sense at all." —Portland Tribune

"An engaging ramble through our orthographic thickets." —The Boston Globe

"Sprightly history that sensibly balances the merits of standardization against the forces for freedom." —Kirkus Reviews

Industry Reviews
The lively, informative book is full of evidence/cocktail party fodder proving that the English spelling system is a hopeless tangle of French, Dutch, Latin, German and much, much more and really makes no sense at all.
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