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The History of English Spelling

The History of English Spelling

Christopher Upward, George Davidson

ISBN: 978-1-405-19024-4

Sep 2011, Wiley-Blackwell

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)