Print this page Share

The History of English Spelling

ISBN: 978-1-4051-9024-4
392 pages
September 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
The History of English Spelling (1405190248) cover image


The History of English Spelling reveals the history of Modern English spelling, tracing its origins and development from Old English up to the present day.

  • Includes a wealth of information and data on English spelling not available anywhere else
  • Features a complementary website with additional material at www.historyofenglishspelling.info
  • Includes detailed coverage of the contributions from French, Latin, Greek - and the many other languages - to our current orthography
  • Serves as a companion volume to Geoffrey Hughes's A History of English Words in the same series
See More

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables viii

Preface ix

Abbreviations and Symbols xi

Language Periods Referred to in the Text xiv

1 Introduction and Overview 1

2 England and English from the Romans to the Vikings 14

3 The Old English Roots of Modern English Spelling 33

4 The Decline and Revival of English in the Middle English Period 65

5 The Franco-Latin Element 86

6 Some Sound and Spelling Developments in Middle and Modern English 173

7 The Greek Contribution 194

8 The Exotic Input 228

9 Reformers, Lexicographers and the Parting of the Ways 293

Glossary of Technical Terms 315

Bibliography 320

Language and Dialect Index 324

Word and Word-Element Index 328

General Index 373

See More

Author Information

Christopher Upward (1938-2002) was a Senior Lecturer in German at Aston University in Birmingham until his retirement in 1995. For many years Upward was a member of the committee of the Simplified Spelling Society (now known as the English Spelling Society), and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society. He was also an Associate Editor of The Oxford Companion to the English Language (1992), and prepared two editions of Cut Spelling: A handbook to the simplification of written English by omission of redundant letters (Simplified Spelling Society 1992, 1996).

George Davidson is a freelance lexicographer, book compiler and editor. He has written several books on English grammar, usage, spelling, and vocabulary, such as How to Punctuate (2005) and Improve Your Spelling (2005)., and has edited numerous books, including the 150th Anniversary Edition of Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words & Phrases (2002).  He has formerly worked as a French teacher and lecturer in linguistics.

See More


“Summing Up:  Highly recommended.  All readers.”  (Choice, 1 October 2012)
See More

Buy Both and Save 25%!


The History of English Spelling (US $102.95)

-and- Political Correctness: A History of Semantics and Culture (US $46.95)

Total List Price: US $149.90
Discounted Price: US $112.42 (Save: US $37.48)

Buy Both
Cannot be combined with any other offers. Learn more.

More in this series

Back to Top