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The History of English Spelling

The History of English Spelling

Christopher Upward, George Davidson

ISBN: 978-1-405-19023-7

Sep 2011

392 pages

In Stock



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
  • 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
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

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